OHTN (the Ontario HIV Treatment Network) is dedicated to improving the long-term care and recovery of HIV patients across the province.
For the past 20 years, they have been collecting anonymized health information that tracks the clinical data and health tests from nearly 20,000 HIV volunteer patients.
This long-term data is key for researchers who are trying to evaluate the most effective treatments and medicines for HIV.
KEY TECHNOLOGIES USED
- Azure App Service
- Azure Functions
- Azure Application Insights
- Azure Sql Database
- Cosmos DB
- Azure Data Factory
- Event Grid
- Azure Devops
- Azure CLI
- Azure Keyvaults
There are 20 different HIV treatment sites around the province. Each site is responsible for maintaining the privacy and confidentiality of the health data for each of its patients.
The only way for OHTN to collect that patient data has been to make an actual visit to each site, transfer the anonymized patient IDs and data onto USB keys, then assemble all the data from all the sites into master data sets for use by the HIV researchers. This manual data collection process in incredibly cumbersome, expensive and can take weeks to complete.
It also contained inaccuracies. Since patient data is not shared between sites, every person visiting a treatment site was set up as a new patient. And since the patient IDs are anonymized, it was virtually impossible to identify all the duplicate patients, to combine their treatment data from multiple sites. This was a real handicap for the researchers. They needed to be able to study all the long-term health data for every patient.
HOW WE HELPED OUR CLIENT
ObjectSharp designed and built an encrypted Azure portal for fast and secure data collection and transfer to the cloud. All patient IDs are now anonymized using a Globally Unique Identifier (GUID). And all data is double-encrypted: once at the site and then again as it is transferred to the cloud.
Each site is only able decrypt and see the data for its own patients. But OHTN can now quickly produce fully anonymized research data sets from all the sites, without having to go through the time-consuming onsite USB data collection process.
In addition, ObjectSharp came up with a very clever algorithm to eliminate duplicate patients in the system. This algorithm can instantly identify when encrypted patient IDs from two different sites are actually the same person. Then the patient data can automatically be combined.
The new system allows OHTN to deliver more accurate long-term patient data – and much more quickly – to all their HIV researchers.
“The online data collection system that we designed and developed for OHTN is now fully running in Azure. Only a small runtime remains at each treatment site for the encryption and decryption of patient data. And we made the support job of their IT team so much easier by setting up Azure AD to securely maintain all their user IDs and passwords., and by eliminating the need to physically go onsite to collect patient data,” Kristen Boyd, Principal Consultant, ObjectSharp Corp.