Building a Secure, Robust Cloud Architecture for Healthcare


Modern Data Platform

With their experience in healthcare and expertise in cloud architecture, Axis Group built a robust Snowflake architecture that gives our organization the speed and scale we need to compete.

Chief Data & Analytics Officer

Meeting the Challenge

How can a healthcare company draw better insights from a cloud-first architecture?

With an aging population and soaring healthcare costs, there has been a justifiable and rapid shift to value-based care models in the U.S., which seek to improve patient outcomes while also reducing costs.

Our client, one of the fastest-growing value-based primary care services and technology providers in the U.S., set out to reduce the burden of avoidable suffering through advanced primary healthcare by reducing the administrative burdens that primary care physicians face while also enhancing the benefits to them and their patients.

Our client devised an intelligent approach to achieve these goals, by analyzing treatment and prescription data to gain a deep understanding of their patients' health outcomes, coordinate care workflow, and reduce costs. The company has been highly effective at delivering better outcomes for both patients and physicians by analyzing numerous data sources: electronic health records, insurance claims data, as well as demographics and measures of clinical quality.

But with rapid success came the realization that demand had begun to outpace their traditional data architecture, and they needed better storage and compute capabilities to be ready for more advanced analytics—and moving to the cloud was the only way to seamlessly exchange data at scale.

That's when they called Axis Group.



Our Solution

Axis designed a Snowflake cloud architecture that mitigated the risk of schema drift and improved data consistency.

We started by working with the company to design a fresh cloud ecosystem in Microsoft Azure, with a three-tier data architecture to accommodate a landing zone, a place for integrated models, and business marts for data consumers. Then Axis established distinct CI/CD pipelines to accommodate a formal DevOps workflow and let teams develop solutions in parallel. Because getting a Modern Data Platform right depends so much on a client's unique needs, Axis spent time speaking with the team to learn about the business and testing different approaches before setting “pen to paper”.

Then Axis built an automated ingestion framework to integrate the various insurance claims data the company relies on and migrated existing assets to their new home in Snowflake. And since the third-party data sources were often subject to inconsistencies out of their control, Axis developed a native Snowflake tool with checkpoints to review inconsistencies and address any issues before committing the updates. This mitigated the risk of schema drift and promoted data integrity.

To enable and educate the the company's team, and to encourage good data hygiene, we customized our Axis Development Foundation (ADF) so the company could follow Snowflake best practices and procedures to manage their new environment. The ADF is a robust framework for connecting, protecting, and monitoring a customer's Snowflake environment that Axis can quickly customize to meet the needs of any customer. The ADF is especially valuable to help with initial database setup, enforcing naming conventions, and providing guidance for various decision points that need to be made. In addition to Snowflake, Axis supported establishing best practices with dbt (Data Build Tool), allowing the our client's D&A team to develop, iterate, and manage their proprietary data models at scale.

Finally, Axis also took on the task of defining a cloud-based security architecture that implements encryption, access controls, and monitoring to comply with HIPAA and other regulations. The security framework needs to protect sensitive patient information while also permitting the company's authorized agents and systems to access the data at different levels of permission—including appropriate roles for external providers and partners. Here, that included standardizing several infrastructure components, such as access tunneling and single sign-on with Azure Active Directory.

With its new modern cloud platform, the company is poised to help providers make even better healthcare decisions and improve the lives of more patients.