NHS Develops Backbone With Upgraded IT

The NHS Spine is used by more than 20,000 organisations that provide health care across England

The electronic backbone of the NHS, Spine, has been rebuilt to harness new technology, including Basho Technologies’ distributed database, Riak Enterprise

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

Flexible system

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 organisation.

spineWith these requirements in mind, the NHS selected Riak Enterprise, the commercial version of Basho’s distributed open source 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 organisations was reflected in enhancements to Riak and the wider project itself.

Riak has been tested thoroughly over the past year and will also expected to 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 August 22, 2014, with the infrastructure undergoing a 45-day period of intensive monitoring to ensure that it is performing as expected.

Adam Wray, CEO at Basho Technologies., said: “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 digitised, it is vital that government health organisations can adapt and provide constant, reliable access to this information.”

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.”