LAS VEGAS: For years, the world has prioritised “shopping way over healthcare”, Larry Ellison told a packed gathering at Oracle CloudWorld here last month. “Shopping’s important, health is not – that’s not right. ”
For tech magnate Ellison, now 78, the Covid pandemic has been a wake-up call. “We have such a fabulous global system for credit,” Ellison, Oracle’s co-founder, points out. “Our credit score, our salaries, our bank transactions, our loans, they are all common knowledge — accessible at the click of a mouse. But our health data is totally fragmented. ” And Ellison wants to change that. “Why can’t we build a similar system for healthcare?” he says.
Say, someone lives in Stanford and visits the hospital there. All his health records would be at that hospital. Now, suppose this person is visiting his parents in Montana and meets with an acci-dent. The doctors attending him there would be clueless — what’s his blood group, is he allergic to penicillin, does he have a heart condition?
This, Ellison admits, is a very ambitious goal. “Your health records are scattered in dozens of databases,” he says. And he wants to link it all. This will, of course, be anonymous data and can only be accessed by a doctor when the patient says so.
But can it be done? Oracle recently acquired Cerner, a US-based hospital facility management firm, and it hopes that Cerner’s expertise in healthcare coupled with Oracle’s tech will help in building a cutting-edge national healthcare platform that can then be scaled up to a global database.
“We can’t do this alone,”Ellison admits. But through the Covid years Oracle has worked with several partners. “We worked with Oxford. We worked with the CDC. ”
“During Covid, the scale and pace of everything changed.” And that probably was the spark that led Ellison to plan for a future where we are better prepared to handle crises.
The other big venture Ellison is pushing for is connected clouds. Microsoft’s Azure and Oracle clouds are already connected. Ellison believes that customers will increasingly opt for multi-cloud platforms, forcing AWS and Google to also link up their clouds with Oracle and Azure.
(The correspondent was in Las Vegas at the invitation of Oracle)