With AWS, we have been able to create a scalable and cost-effective platform that addresses healthcare cost and quality roadblocks head on.
Kanav Hasija Chief Product Officer, Innovaccer

Innovaccer Inc. helps healthcare providers deliver more efficient and effective services through data analytics. Its solutions integrate healthcare data from multiple points of care so that customers realize their strategic goals. Innovaccer products have been deployed at more than 500 locations with over 10,000 healthcare providers for customers that include government agencies, institutions, and enterprises such as Mercy ACO, StratiFi Health, Osler Health Network, and UniNet Healthcare Network, among many others. Innovaccer is based in San Francisco with offices throughout the United States and Asia.

When Innovaccer launched in 2014, the company deployed its data platforms in on-premises data centers. With a fast-growing business, Innovaccer had to ensure its platforms had the computing capabilities to ingest data from multiple systems. Akif Khan, senior member of the Infrastructure team at Innovaccer, says, “Our platform may need as much as about 3 terabytes of compute power to process millions of data points covering patient admissions, discharges, transfers, records, and billings.”

The challenge for Innovaccer was that its platforms were not always ingesting such large quantities of data. There were times when loads dropped off, and Innovaccer couldn’t scale down its platforms, resulting in idle hardware. Furthermore, Innovaccer had to upgrade its platforms every three to five years. Beside the cost of the hardware, there was the expense of managing the upgrade programs to minimize disruption to customers. Says Mr. Khan, “Our systems need to be highly available, and so we found ourselves spending a lot of resource on organizing the delivery and deployment of new hardware to cut downtime as much as possible.”

To reduce costs while improving scalability, Innovaccer decided to offer cloud-based versions of its data platform. The company wanted a solution that could accommodate terabytes of data, scale rapidly, and deliver faster time-to-value without significant investments in new physical hardware. Says Mr. Khan, “We were planning to scale up from simple integration of data sets to analytics and real-time information exchange. The cloud would enable us to easily scale the infrastructure for changes in the workloads. Plus, we could avoid the expense of arranging for servers and storage updates.”

Innovaccer assessed Amazon Web Services (AWS) along with several other platforms, and chose AWS because of its simplicity and flexibility. “With AWS, it was easier to build and maintain server clusters. We could also spin up servers more easily with AWS than we could with the other platforms,” says Mr. Khan.

The AWS Cloud made it easier for Innovaccer to build a unified platform that supports data integration and offers customized analytics modules. By choosing AWS, Innovaccer also ensured continued compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which governs the protection of patient data in the United States.

Innovaccer’s healthcare data platform integrates data, provides analytics, and establishes a server to access and exchange integrated patient records in real time. Today, Innovaccer’s healthcare data platforms use a range of AWS services to support cloud versions of its healthcare data platform. Typically, a cloud deployment of Innovaccer’s platform uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) to store user credentials. The Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) stores data coming in from multiple sources, which, in turn, is ingested for integration and analytics by a Hadoop-based cluster running on Linux-based Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances. The storage for these instances is provided by Amazon Elastic Block Storage (Amazon EBS). At present, Innovaccer is running a proof of concept for integrating AWS Lambda into the services stack and using the serverless-computing technology to manage the ingestion of data by the Hadoop cluster.

By using AWS, Innovaccer offers customers a healthcare data platform that can be scaled on demand—delivering a more cost-effective solution. Says Mr. Khan, “Customers no longer have to pay for unused computing capacity because we can quickly provision and deprovision servers.” In a report written by Innovaccer, the company compares the costs of an on-premises infrastructure with the AWS Cloud over a 12-month period. According to Mr. Khan: “Our report says that choosing the AWS Cloud delivers an 81 percent saving in hardware costs to our customers. With the AWS Cloud, we can provision servers for just a few hours each day. When they are not required, we shut them down—thus reducing the cost.”

Kanav Hasija, chief product officer at Innovaccer, adds, “With AWS, we have been able to create a scalable and cost-effective platform that addresses healthcare cost and quality roadblocks head on.”

Furthermore, the company no longer spends valuable time organizing server and storage hardware refreshes. Remarks Mr. Khan, “We can add or replace servers in minutes with AWS, saving cost and time spent on buying servers, organizing deliveries, and scheduling deployment times with customers. This has enabled us to cut IT management costs by 75 percent.” As part of its AWS infrastructure, Innovaccer also uses multiple AWS regions, with data replicated across those regions for instant failover if one region is hit by downtime. “The AWS Cloud has been very dependable and highly available,” says Mr. Khan. “Our data platforms are helping our healthcare customers improve their services and the lives of their patients."

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