World Class Faculty & Research / June 12, 2014

CHIDS to Support ‘Innovation Sandbox’

The Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business is partnering with kloudtrak and Cisco Systems to help health care companies test how certain technologies could affect their mission outcomes and IT budgets. 

The project, called HealthTech Innovation Sandbox, will serve as an exchange catering to the innovation, workforce development and technology roadmapping needs of public and private sector health care, and medical and life science (HealthTech) organizations. It will be developed jointly by experts in CHIDS, Cisco and Kloudtrack -- a leader in cybersecurity and cloud computing technologies and solution services for sensitive data, process management and governance, risk and compliance. 

The project was announced as part of the June 12 Maryland Economic Development Association Summer Conference at the university, themed “Health Innovations: Impact on Economic and Workforce Development.” 

The HealthTech Innovation Sandbox will be available via both physical and virtual data hosting platforms. The project will allow health care, medical and life science organizations to test, research, teach and learn various innovative technologies and/or methodologies in a proof-of-concept, “sandbox” environment. 

As with all Innovation Sandbox environments, the HealthTech sandbox will be provisioned in tandem with selected vendor partners that offer technologies and solutions in a variety of innovation categories, including: 

  • Cloud Computing, Cloud Migration and Cloud 2.0™
  • Innovation Roadmapping
  • Cyber and InfoSecurity
  • Data Driven Innovation (Data Analytics, Big Data and Reporting)
  • Mobility (Wireless, BYOD, Cross-platform and Device Independence)
  • Platform Integration, Legacy Data Migration and Portability
  • Hosting (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS and Co-Location and Virtualization)
  • Secure Collaboration and Safe Sharing
  • Business Process Management and Work flow
  • Solution Services (IT Assessments, ROI Metrics, Benchmarking, Cloud Broker and Certifications) 

“Health care as an industry has developed over the past 100 years to become perhaps the most pervasive citizen service in most developed countries,” said Kenyon Crowley, deputy director of CHIDS. “During that same period innovations and technical advances have often outpaced the sector’s ability to efficiently implement and integrate these technologies across this complex sector. The Innovation Sandbox offers a low-cost, low-risk approach that allows practitioners and health stakeholders from any specialty area to test new innovations against key bottom-line and patient care objectives and foster a learning community.” 

Now more than ever, the driving factors behind IT deployments have become more economic than technical. The advent of innovations, such as cloud, virtualization and mobility, mean the vendor landscape is much more diverse. 

“The economic drivers around innovations – particularly IT – afford practitioners a rare opportunity to consider best-of-breed offerings when considering and procuring IT solutions,” said Michael P. Binko, president and CEO of kloudtrack. “Furthermore, with incentives such as the HITECH act and increased regulatory enforcements health care, medical and life sciences organizations must now be keenly in tune with patient care outcomes as they are now the primary driver for reimbursement. The vendors recruited for the HealthTech Innovation Sandbox are all proven leaders in tune with industry requirements such as interoperability standards and cyber-security certifications.” 

The Innovation Sandbox environments are designed to give organizations the opportunity to test waters with a Start Small … and Scale™ approach with keen sensitivity to limited resources and measurable results. Deployments are expected to run on sandbox systems for a period of weeks or months at small costs.  During these test-bed deployments academia teams will evaluate the viability and return on investment for selected innovations.  Then, decisions can be made about contracting and scaling the deployments with a solid base of results-oriented information. 

“Organizations will be able to utilize the Innovation Sandbox to test sample-sets of data, users and processes and to measure value metrics against real-world use case scenarios,” said Michael Shepherd, principal for Public Sector Cloud Computing, Cisco Systems. “This concept and approach is consistent with Cisco’s efforts to cultivate vendor ecosystems.  With tightened budgets and a much more diverse environment of innovations available, CIOs have a rare opportunity to test the waters. These Innovation Sandbox environments offer an on-ramp to next-generation technologies that could have a dramatic impact on bottom-line results.” 

The HealthTech Innovation Sandbox is the latest in Cisco and kloudtrack’s similar efforts that include projects in public sector/government/education, cybersecurity, property and asset management, financial services, energy, manufacturing and retail. By the end of 2014, three Innovation Sandbox environments are expected to be operational with a broad community of partner organizations serving diverse customer needs.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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