Children’s hospitals find room to grow with the cloud


Until recently, Children’s National researchers circumvented their computational limitations either by working with preprocessed data or by breaking large datasets into smaller portions than their systems could digest. But today, Kaplarevic says, they’re taking a different approach, leveraging what he calls the “enormous power and versatility” of the cloud.

Children’s National, primarily through its electronic health records system, has used the cloud for many years, he adds, but previously had minimal access to the type of cloud-based platforms. cloud that could meet the requirements of medical research. That changed in 2021, when he opened the National Campus for Research and Innovation for Children (RIC)a 160,000 square foot property that the organization has described as “an ecosystem that nurtures innovation, from discovery to commercialization.”

Key to the work medical scientists do at RIC is the cloud computing support and tools they get from a new strategic partner, Amazon Web Services.

EXPLORE: The future of healthcare in the public cloud.

Children’s National researchers have deployed AWS in various capacities for the better part of a decade, Kaplarevic says, but this new collaboration is different. “In terms of what they’re able to do now, it’s literally like the floodgates have been opened,” he says. “Now they can look at data at scale. There really is no comparison.

Today, Children’s National scientists have a scalable and secure “landing zone” in AWS that they can access through their personal accounts, Kaplarevic says. “In this space, they can store data, run servers or use different workflows and services. There are over 350 different configurations to choose from that can be used safely and compliantly.

In a typical scenario, a researcher who identifies a use case for the cloud – perhaps a study of DNA nucleotides present in some variation of a genetic disease – logs in, enters basic project information, and submits a request to Kaplarevic’s office. His team would then evaluate the proposal to determine the optimal computing environment (on-premises, cloud or hybrid).

“At that time,” says Kaplarevic, “we would be available to help with a full range of research computing services. With complex data analytics, data lifecycle management, software and database development, we are always here to work closely with researchers to achieve their goals.


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