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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Data Integration platforms - Research and Service Delivery - Oracle

We're back to full strength now and looking forward to passing more in-depth info your way this year than hitherto - starting with a look at data integration platforms (Oracle, Orion, IBM, Cerner, OpenClinica and more) being considered for use in UK and US healthcare institutions looking to harness the power of their currently fragmented data to deliver improved services and support research.

We recently started working with a major London-based cancer research centre who are entertaining pitches from various suppliers looking to pull together their pathology, cytogenetics, radiology and clinical data (plus everything else, immunology, toxicology, virology, you name it) and we've been digging into the detail behind the glossy slides - starting with Oracle:

Oracle have an increasing presence in this space in the US and are looking to use their learning there to expand their healthcare division in the UK. Their current UK consulting workforce (healthcare) is still in the single digits, but they sought to impress with details of their R&D spend and some recent examples of their work in the States. For some interesting discussion around their presentation of R&D spend, see these two bloggers (enterpriseirregulars and martijnlinssen) who discuss absolute spend vs. proportional spend and what it means about Oracle's R&D budget compared to, for example SAP.

Key to their presentation was a slide describing the systems architecture of a completed end-to-end solution with the Oracle Health Data Warehouse Foundation at the core and an 'Omics analysis platform linked in which we thought was pitched as the value-adding component.

Certainly the 'Omics platform is indicative of their aim to get to work in the translation medicine area (described as the North Star of their current thrust) - but it's an undeveloped product, not even fully implemented at Moffitt as far as we are aware. And that will be its first implementation - Moffitt hinted that this was the missing component in the Oracle solution the first time round (the guys from Oracle, however, countered that at least their core integration engine worked where Microsoft and Orion had both previously faltered).

See here for an interesting article which describes how a number of other vendors may be brought in to perform analytics on the core Oracle database.

As it happens, Oracle are also developing a Translation Research Center product - see here for Oracle's full healthcare product offering.

We're familiar with some of the Oracle products already - the Health Transaction Base, it's Enterprise Terminology Services - the latter is in use at at King's Health in a their enterprise oncology solution being implemented by IDBS (see our blog entry) - but King's Health are using ORION's Rhapsody data integration product rather than an Oracle solution - we will try to get answers from Peter Parker as to their rationale.

We had a few issues with their presentation which centred on that solution architecture slide which featured the Oracle solutions centre-stage in bright red, and off to the left in grey was the data extraction process from the multiple systems currently in place in any healthcare provision organisation. They admitted that this small grey box is where the majority of the work and cost is incurred!

Of note, however, they are developing a series of app-style products which can then plug into the clinical and genomic data warehouses to fulfil various research and service delivery ends - looks interesting and we will try to get you more info on this.

As imagined, it looks like the major pain point in any implementation is extraction from clinical systems such as those Cerner and others are currently managing in the UK - we're going to be in touch with some folks who have developed bespoke SQL products to perform exactly that task in the coming weeks - keep checking here for more on this - and we'll take a look at some of the other products in this 'space' - so watch this [space].

For a discussion of the Dana Farber's experience implementing Oracle - see here.

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