Erlang & Elixir in Healthcare

Future-proofing the healthcare infrastructure of one of the world’s biggest healthcare providers.

The background

Our customer is a major provider of hospitals and health care centres. They own and operate nearly 200 hospitals as well as nearly 2,000 surgery centres, emergency rooms and clinics. Throughout the centres and hospitals they own, they care for nearly 32 million patients per year. As is common in the healthcare industry, all of the IT infrastructure that supports these patients and facilities were being stored on incredibly old systems using a variety of outdated off-the-shelf solutions. These systems could only scale vertically, and in some cases, they had started to reach the limits of their scalability.

The Opportunity

Our client recognised the power of Erlang to create an innovative new solution that improved the life of the developers, business and operational teams, ultimately this would lead to improved outcomes for patients. Obviously, due to the nature of the healthcare industry, high availability was the top priority for the tool. The most significant new opportunity was to build a tool that made it possible for data inputted into any system to be used in other systems, this would discourage data hoarding and open up a number of possibilities for timely patient care.

To do this, the new system operates as a: 

  • Streaming system
  • Distributed database
  • Content delivery network
  • Cache
  • Queue
  • Complex event processor 
  • FaaS platform and integration engine

The Problem

As you can imagine, this kind of transition requires a lot of consideration. In healthcare, any lost data is dangerous both from a compliance and patient outcomes perspective.The new system needed to combine, unify or replace various systems working on different (often extremely outdated) protocols. On-site at customer facilities, not every vendor was ready to accommodate the new tool.

Data flowing into the legacy system could not be interrupted as the new solution was rolled out. This meant a procedure was required to ensure that data flowing between the new system and legacy system was seamless, and that each system also continued to be able to operate independently. 

Our work

A senior consultant from our team joined the customer tech team to lead the effort to find the solution best fitted to their needs. Ultimately, there was an issue with cloning data at a low level that the customer had believed to be unsolvable. We were able to prove it could be solved, delivering two viable proof of concepts.

The Results

With the guidance of our team, the customer was able to have options to remove a major roadblock in their project. This will enable them to make huge improvements to the lives of their staff, teams and patients.

The expertise of our team has also been noted by the customer as a catalyst for change and innovation within the customer’s own software team. We have been trusted as a partner to continue working on the ongoing evolution of their systems including work on new projects outside the scope of the initial arrangement. 

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