U. Colorado switch to cloud boosts performance, cuts costs

Infrastructure spending is down 60% following a Colorado initiative's switch to the cloud.

A Colorado data analytics initiative saw a boost in performance after transitioning its data warehouse from an in-house system to a cloud-based approach.

Health Data Compass—an enterprise health data warehouse sponsored by the University of Colorado School of Medicine, University Physicians, Inc., University of Colorado Health, and Children’s Hospital Colorado—analyzes clinical data and links patient data between provider organizations. In November, the initiative transitioned its data warehousing services from a legacy server to the cloud.

The decision to migrate the initiative’s data was based on performance issues and technical concerns associated with the in-house system, Michael Ames, associate director of Health Data Compass told Health Data Management. Those technical difficulties translated to higher maintenance costs.

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“We were spending $1 million a year in basic maintenance, keeping the car running but not going anywhere with it,” Ames said.

The switch to the cloud has already paid off in terms of performance and cost. Infrastructure spending is down 60% and time spent preparing data for analytics is down 50%.  Sifting out duplicate patient records between UC Health and Children’s Hospital takes 15 minutes as opposed to eight hours under the previous system that was plagued with frequent crashes.  

Data warehousing has been a boon for researchers that can collect and analyze vast amounts of data from several different sources, but storage is a critical element of a data-driven approach to clinical improvement.

Meanwhile, hospitals are pushing more services to the cloud despite the fact that security continues to be a top concern.