Tag Archives: healthcare

NHS launches upgraded IT backbone Spine, powered by Riak

London, Sept. 9 2014 – the Spine – the electronic backbone of the UK’s National Health Service – has been successfully rebuilt to harness new technology, including the use of Basho Technologies’ distributed database, Riak Enterprise.

The Spine – a collection of national applications, services and directories – connects clinicians, patients and local service providers throughout England to essential national services, such as electronic prescriptions and patient health records.

Spine is used by more than 20,000 organizations that provide health care across England, including primary and secondary care sites, pharmacies, opticians and dentists. Riak, the open source distributed database, is key to providing the reliability and scalability for the platform to drive efficiency and improve patient care.

The NHS’ move to revamp the Spine, in a major project led by England’s Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), was driven by the need for a scalable, resilient and flexible system that would also result in cost-savings for the organization.

With these requirements in mind, the NHS selected Riak Enterprise, the commercial version of Basho’s distributed open source, highly available NoSQL database, to support the transition and implementation of the new Spine. Basho and the HSCIC collaborated throughout to ensure the technical knowledge of both organizations was reflected in enhancements to Riak and the wider project itself.

Riak has been tested thoroughly over the past year and will also allow the NHS to update the Spine seamlessly, removing interruptions which could adversely affect NHS employees and patients.

The transition was finalised over the weekend of 22nd August, 2014, with the infrastructure undergoing a 45-day period of intensive monitoring to ensure that it is performing as expected.

“The improvement of patient care is of the utmost importance in the healthcare industry. As data, such as patient records, prescriptions and all other medical information becomes digitized, it is vital that government health organizations can adapt and provide constant, reliable access to this information,” said Adam Wray, CEO at Basho Technologies.

Stuart McCaul, Managing Director, EMEA at Basho Technologies said, “The information stored on the Spine is potentially life-saving, and so users must be able to quickly access the data they require without delay or complication. Riak has previously been adopted by other healthcare services outside of the UK, such as The Danish Health and Medical Authority, and it provides the Spine with resiliency and predictable scalability while also saving the NHS both time and costs, contributing to the improvement of patient care in England.”

About Basho Technologies

Basho is a distributed systems company dedicated to making software that is highly available, fault-tolerant and easy-to-operate at scale. Basho’s distributed database, Riak, the industry leading distributed NoSQL database, and Basho’s cloud storage software, Riak CS, are used by fast growing Web businesses and by one third of the Fortune 50 to power their critical Web, mobile and social applications and their public and private cloud platforms.

Riak and Riak CS are available open source. Riak Enterprise and Riak CS Enterprise offer enhanced multi-datacenter replication and 24×7 Basho support. For more information, visit basho.com.

# # #

AiMED Stat Uses Riak to Increase Their Competitive Advantage

March 31, 2014

AiMED Stat is a startup working to facilitate better medical information capture, analysis, and reporting through web and mobile technologies. They provide clinicians with easy-to-use tools and provide researchers with direct access to real-time information capture from the front lines of medicine. They recently worked with the audiology clinic at University of Western Ontario (UWO) and used a Riak system to help the University collect and search data related to the research.

In general, innovation in health research databases has been very stagnant – with many companies simply opting for a legacy relational system like MySQL or PostgreSQL. However, AiMED Stat realized the limitations of these systems. With these relational systems, researchers would need to decide their schemas at the start of studies. However, once researchers were a few months into a study, they would need to update data or collect data in a different way. This meant researchers needed to update the entire table, which involved very costly data migration. As AiMED Stat set out to manage and present research data in a better way, it simply wasn’t feasible for their two-person team to manage a costly data migration every time there was a data update. So they began to look at more flexible, NoSQL databases as a replacement.

They first looked at MongoDB, but soon learned that MongoDB wouldn’t be able to handle their high write volumes without losing data. In clinical research, data loss is never acceptable as it can skew results. They then looked at Cassandra; however, for a small team, they found Cassandra to be too complex to operate efficiently. Finally, they evaluated Riak. They were immediately drawn to Riak’s flexible data model, schemaless design, and ability to scale out quickly. In 2011, they brought Riak into production as the backend of their research data application.

“We set out to create an application that stores and queries data in a way researchers understand,” said Kartik Thakore, Co-Founder at AiMED Stat. “By using Riak to power our application, it gives us a sizable competitive advantage (relative to other electronic audiograms). Its flexibility allows us to store data exactly as needed, its ease-of-scale eliminates the chunk of our budget previously dedicated to data migration, and its high availability ensures we never have to worry about losing data. Riak is a breath of fresh air – it does exactly what we need it to do.”

Their Riak application enables rich HTML5 forms for data collection, using a method that increases compliance and data integrity at the point of capture. From data collection, demographic identifiers are used as the key in Riak and values are stored as JSON. Riak post- and pre-commit hooks are used to further validate the data. Additionally, Riak Search, Secondary Indexes, and MapReduce are all used to allow researchers to store and search data (via a D3.js enabled application) using an Audiogram shown below:


(Audiogram shows Frequency vs. Decibel and uses the ANSI Symbol Legend)

This Audiogram allows researchers to easily search within the graph to find and compare patients that match certain audiological profiles. The quicker researchers can find patients for their study, the quicker they can get funding, making this queryability imperative.

AiMED Stat is currently running five-nodes in production and looking to scale out as they grow. “For us, the importance is not on big data but on never losing data,” continued Kartik. “With Riak, we can rest assured that all our data is archived and accessible, regardless of scale or write volume.”


NHS Implements Riak to Improve Performance and Patient Care

October 8, 2013

Riak is built to handle critical data. Its design tenets of high availability, fault-tolerance, and scalability ensure that you will always have access to this critical data, no matter what happens behind the scenes, and that you can quickly grow to store it all, no matter what. This makes it an ideal fit for many industries, including healthcare. It’s also why the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK has selected Riak for its IT backbone.

To help drive efficiency and care improvements throughout the UK, the NHS created Spine1 as its centralized database of all patient health and prescription data. Through this innovation, critical patient information was always accessible and protected. However, the original Spine1 infrastructure required over 2,000 staff and was supported by 1,000 servers, which meant this system was pricey for the publicly funded NHS.

Over the past two years, the NHS has worked to revamp this database to be more cost-effective. They opted to move the system to Basho’s Riak and created Spine2. With Spine2, the NHS is able to not only cut costs, but also improve the performance and reliability of the system overall. Spine2 is planned to go live in early 2014.

In the healthcare space, The Danish Health and Medicines Authority also use Riak as the backend for their national health record system. Its high availability ensures that key patient information is always available, which can be life saving in many cases. Additionally, its ease-of-scale allows for governments or private companies to quickly add capacity as needed, without paying for unnecessary space.

For more information about Basho and the NHS, check out the full release.


NHS to Deploy Riak for New IT Backbone With Quality of Care Improvements in Sight

Basho’s Riak distributed database supports development of Spine2; will improve performance and patient care

London, 8 October 2013 – Basho has today announced that it is working with the National Health Service (NHS) to develop the new Spine2 database, which is supported by Basho’s distributed database Riak.

The NHS set tough goals to drive efficiency and care improvements through the innovative use of technology and over the past two years has been focusing efforts on revamping the NHS’ Spine1 database, a critical UK healthcare system.

At its peak, Spine1 was managed by over 2,000 staff and was supported by 1,000 servers. The NHS decided to radically rethink the Spine computer by starting small and staying small while at the same time improving the performance and reliability of the system, along with its support of the care process.

The NHS chose Basho’s Riak as the backbone of the new Spine2 project to develop a more flexible and resilient solution. With Riak, the NHS developers will be able to make changes to Spine2 without needing burdensome and expensive systems integrators. This will dramatically cut down the time taken to implement new features dramatically and positively impacting patient care.

Inspired by the Danish Health Authority, which has already set up an agile, national record system based on the Riak database, the NHS had confidence that Basho’s database would be suitable for its needs. The Spine2 project is currently in the last phases of testing and is due to go live in early 2014.

“In the healthcare industry, keeping costs low and simultaneously improving the level of care are critical requirements,” said Greg Collins, CEO at Basho Technologies. “As medical information becomes digital, government health organisations need IT capabilities that provide uninterrupted, reliable access to critical, life-saving information. Riak’s built-in resiliency and predictable scalability are two important features that directly benefit the NHS and the citizens of the United Kingdom. Basho is very excited to be working with the NHS on such a revolutionary, world leading project.”

About Basho Technologies
Basho is a distributed systems company dedicated to making software that is highly available, fault tolerant and easy-to-operate at scale. Basho’s distributed database, Riak, and Basho’s cloud storage software, Riak CS, are used by fast growing Web businesses and by over 25 percent of the Fortune 50 to power their critical Web, mobile and social applications and their public and private cloud platforms.

Riak and Riak CS are available open source. Riak Enterprise and Riak CS Enterprise offer enhanced multi-datacenter replication and 24×7 Basho support. For more information, visit basho.com. Basho is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has offices in San Francisco, Tokyo, Washington DC, and London. Basho’s London office is located in Shoreditch near the popular high-tech district of London, commonly referred to as “Silicon Roundabout.”