Big Data Solution Transforms Healthcare with Faster Access to Information

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Based in Bolton, England, Ascribe is a leading provider of business intelligence (BI) and clinically focused IT solutions and services for the healthcare industry. Ascribe estimates that 82% of National Health Service (NHS) trusts in the United Kingdom use its products. With access to large volumes of data maintained by the trusts, the company wanted a BI solution that would help healthcare providers detect, predict and respond more quickly to outbreaks of infectious disease and other health threats.

Healthcare analysts typically work from data collected and coded when patients receive treatment in clinics and hospitals. “By the time they get that information it’s usually out-of-date,” says Paul Henderson, Business Intelligence Division Head at Ascribe. In addition, huge volumes of potentially useful data existed in text files from sources such as unscheduled visits to emergency rooms, school attendance logs and retail drug sales. The Internet offered another trove of untapped information including clickstream analysis and social media such as Twitter.

Ascribe decided to design a proof-of-concept that would create a standardized approach to working with healthcare data and asked Leeds Teaching Hospitals, one of the biggest NHS trusts in the UK, to participate.

It implemented a hybrid cloud solution based on Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and the Windows Azure platform. Ascribe chose Council member Microsoft’s technology both for the capabilities of individual products and because it offered a streamlined, end-to-end solution that it could implement quickly and easily. Leeds is using the solution to improve community healthcare in multiple ways.