RAD-AID: Uniting people and technology to provide greater access to quality care

About RAD-AID International

RAD-AID International is a nonprofit global health charity organization of over 10,000 radiology volunteers and supporters, serving 53 hospitals in 27 countries to build radiology health services in low-resource and medically underserved communities via on-site educational training, equipment implementation, and technology development.

Industries: Non-profit, Healthcare
Location: United States
Products: Cloud Storage

About Ambra Health and Tribalco

Ambra Health is a medical image management company and Google Cloud Technology Partner. The Ambra cloud platform is serves as the backbone of imaging innovation and progress for healthcare providers.

Tribalco has been providing defense, civilian government, and international customers with advanced engineering, installation, and O&M solutions in the world's most challenging and secure environments, for nearly 15 years.

RAD-AID launched the RAD-AID Friendship Initiative with Google Cloud Platform, along with partners Ambra Health and Tribalco, to advance patient care and radiology access for medically underserved regions.

Google Cloud Results

  • Helps partner hospitals store more than 6,000 radiology studies after deployment
  • Eliminates installation and maintenance costs of entirely on-premises solution through shift to hybrid cloud approach
  • Provides future roadmap for integrating artificial intelligence-powered insights into current radiology deployment strategy

Installed radiology platforms in 14 hospitals over 3 years

Nearly four billion people, more than half of the world population, have insufficient access to radiology, which is critical for the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and disease. Radiology is used in ultrasounds that reveal important information about developing fetuses, in x-rays that aid diagnosis of infections as well as bone fractures, MRIs used for diagnosis of brain and spinal cord injuries, and CT scans used by oncologists and cardiologists to stage and treat cancer and heart disease. Healthcare nonprofit RAD-AID was founded in 2008 to help provide greater access to radiology technology for healthcare providers and patients in developing countries and medically underserved communities.

“Radiology is such a large piece of the healthcare system that the absence of it creates a ripple effect in healthcare disparity,” says Dr. Daniel J. Mollura, President and CEO of RAD-AID. “Radiology files are very large files. They have a lot of complicated information. As a doctor, you don’t want to have to worry about whether those images are going to be there or not. You just want that information there.”

RAD-AID frequently encountered the challenge of limited technology support at partner healthcare providers. Radiology solutions require a suite of supporting health information resources such as picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), electronic medical records (EMRs), and radiology information systems (RIS). Since radiology is a data-driven medical discipline that needs advanced computer-based imaging and archiving, RAD-AID strengthened its mission by advancing IT infrastructure alongside radiology solutions for its partner hospitals in developing countries. “To maximize our efforts for improved patient care, IT advancements had to be just as important as radiology upgrades and clinical radiology education,” says Dr. Mollura.

But there are distinct challenges around adopting radiology and health IT in developing countries:

Costs of maintaining a server room: It’s expensive and capital-intensive to build a climate-controlled, air-conditioned server room in a low-resource hospital. Conventional server racks require large spaces that are climate-controlled for optimal function, which many hospitals do not have the financial or organizational resources to undertake.

Lack of IT personnel: Facilities in developing countries often lack sufficient IT personnel to install radiology software or implement servers and network architectures.

Slow, inconsistent, or interrupted internet bandwidth: This limits exclusive use of cloud for data storage and retrieval, particularly when data must move in and out of the cloud during active clinical workflows.

Local or national regulation on use of cloud: Some countries have local or national regulations on the use of cloud systems for the storage of health data. These regulations can require hospitals to be flexible in how they utilize on-site versus cloud-based data management platforms.

By leveraging Google Cloud Platform (GCP), along with working with Google Cloud Technology Partner Ambra Health and global systems integrator Tribalco, RAD-AID created the RAD-AID Friendship Initiative to accomplish its goals. With a focus on providing radiology and health information technologies for developing countries and underserved regions, the initiative works to overcome the challenges of improving patient care at scale.

RAD-AID architecture diagram
RAD-AID architecture diagram

Providing cloud data support

Data reliability is a key issue for any healthcare solution, as providers need information such as patient health records to be available at any time. To overcome bandwidth and platform uptime issues at partner hospitals, RAD-AID created the RAD-AID Friendship Cloud, which leverages Cloud Storage to provide backend support between radiology hardware and IT infrastructure.

Cloud Storage forms the foundation of Friendship Cloud’s hybrid approach, in which an on-premises server flexibly backs up data to the cloud, while preserving sufficient data locally for clinical use. This approach of pairing robust on-site storage with flexible cloud access enables hospitals in developing countries to use cloud solutions in accordance with national and local regulations. At launch, each installation of Friendship Cloud can store more than 6,000 studies.

With its high uptime and flexible pricing models, Cloud Storage also provides reliable movement of data during times of maximum internet bandwidth use without being fully dependent on the cloud for immediate data retrieval. The synchronized interplay between the on-site server and RAD-AID Friendship Cloud improves workflows and patient care volume. Using Cloud Storage also provides RAD-AID with a robust platform for future GCP integrations including Cloud Healthcare API and artificial intelligence (AI) applications. As AI rapidly advances into patient care and treatment, RAD-AID envisions Friendship Cloud as a vehicle that could bring machine learning-powered insights to radiology and its partner hospitals.

“When doing a deployment, we know that not all hospitals will have the same IT capabilities. These contributions of Google Cloud Platform resources are maximized through Ambra Health and Tribalco, enabling RAD-AID to tailor a radiology solution that fits the exact needs of healthcare providers.”

Dr. Daniel J. Molllura, Founder and CEO, RAD-AID International

Deploying hardware for optimal results

To avoid the costly challenges of maintaining a climate-controlled server room and IT staff, RAD-AID helped adapt a compact and heat-resistant server for hospitals that does not require expensive server-room construction. With Tribalco, RAD-AID built a specialized on-premises server for partner healthcare providers that preloads radiology software for easy deployment.

The Tribalco-supported server helps eliminate the need for substantial investments or in-house staff for network management, allowing RAD-AID partners to immediately gain all of the benefits of its hybrid cloud radiology approach. RAD-AID’s educational outreach team provides on-site training for clinical and IT personnel to implement and manage Friendship Cloud, empowering on-site teams to self manage these technologies for the long term.

RAD-AID also worked with Ambra Health, a Google Cloud Technology Partner, to utilize its PACS systems as part of a successful deployment at the Laos-based childcare provider, Lao Friends Hospital for Children. This partnership gave the hospital valuable radiology viewing, archiving, and reporting tools from Ambra Health that allows images to move from scanning into storage for clinical analysis. RAD-AID has donated and implemented similar systems at 14 hospitals worldwide over the last 3 years, combining clinical radiology education for hospital staff with IT support and education to maximize patient care and IT infrastructure quality.

“When doing a deployment, we know that not all hospitals will have the same IT capabilities,” says Dr. Mollura. “These contributions of Google Cloud Platform resources are maximized through Ambra Health and Tribalco, enabling RAD-AID to tailor a radiology solution that fits the exact needs of healthcare providers.”

“Having equal access to radiology care changes lives. RAD-AID’s work in bringing radiology solutions to hospitals in need of resources is greatly empowered by partnerships with Google Cloud Platform, Ambra Health, and Tribalco.”

Dr. Daniel J. Molllura, Founder and CEO, RAD-AID International

Achieving better patient care with IT

Radiology can be a gateway through which hospitals evolve and scale IT solutions to advance patient care. A radiology department adopting the digital capability to move images from scanners to computer workstations can often encourage the entire healthcare facility to transition to electronic health records and away from printed files.

With its multifaceted approach that bridges software and hardware for healthcare providers, RAD-AID provides doctors with a depth of vital treatment resources. By bringing radiology technology to hospitals around the world, RAD-AID modernizes IT infrastructure for needy hospitals and helps ensure patients worldwide have the same opportunity to receive quality care.

“Having equal access to radiology care changes lives,” adds Dr. Mollura. “RAD-AID’s work in bringing radiology solutions to hospitals in need of resources is greatly empowered by partnerships with Google Cloud Platform, Ambra Health, and Tribalco.”

About RAD-AID International

RAD-AID International is a nonprofit global health charity organization of over 10,000 radiology volunteers and supporters, serving 53 hospitals in 27 countries to build radiology health services in low-resource and medically underserved communities via on-site educational training, equipment implementation, and technology development.

Industries: Non-profit, Healthcare
Location: United States

About Ambra Health and Tribalco

Ambra Health is a medical image management company and Google Cloud Technology Partner. The Ambra cloud platform is serves as the backbone of imaging innovation and progress for healthcare providers.

Tribalco has been providing defense, civilian government, and international customers with advanced engineering, installation, and O&M solutions in the world's most challenging and secure environments, for nearly 15 years.

Google Cloud Platform logo

12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE
Google Cloud Platform logo

12 Months FREE TRIAL

Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

TRY IT FREE