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Cerner Wins TDWI Best Practices Award

Steve Sarsfield authored this post.

It’s amazing to see our customers ‘crush it’ when it comes to their implementation and best practices industry awards. That’s why I was so happy to hear that Cerner, a long-time Vertica customer, is the recipient of TDWI’s Best practices award for data warehouse. I want to congratulate Cerner on their achievement. At Cerner, they build systems for the health care industry. Doctors and healthcare professionals worldwide enter data into Cerner systems for the clinical, financial and operational needs of organizations.

I had the pleasure of visiting Cerner last year near their Kansas City offices. It was there I learned that there are actually several initiatives underway using Vertica. For example, Cerner’s Millennium project analyzes how a doctor or nurse interacts with their system and takes all of that click-stream data back into Vertica to optimize the clinician’s efficiency. This makes for speed and efficiency, especially in the Emergency Room (EMR) where time is of the essence.



Just to give you an idea of scale, Cerner collects about 2.2 billion records every day, analyzes them, and uses that information to address performance issues in Millennium that may impact care delivery. The records are called RTMS timers and track how the clinicians interact with the Cerner system. These are just one of the 400 unique operational metrics used to measure the health of the clinical system. 600 million rows are instituted per hour or 300 gigabytes ingested per hour.

It was when their legacy data warehouse solution start to choke on this much data that they knew they needed something more modern. Vertica took the 20 minute analysis time on the legacy system down to about 20 seconds. They were able to handle more data and analyze more quickly than ever before.

They’ve done some great work in other areas of data analytics, too. For example, they’re excited by their sepsis alert modeling. They were challenged with the fact that it’s difficult to figure out whether an infant might be at risk for sepsis, a condition when harmful microorganisms get in the blood and can potentially lead to the malfunctioning of various organs, shock, and death. However, with the data and the alert modeling, they have a powerful solution to predict it and save lives.

The official TDWI best practices award ceremony is scheduled for Monday, August 6 in Anaheim, CA and I will be pleased to be there to see my colleagues from Cerner accept this award. If you want to learn more about the Cerner and Vertica, you can watch the video or read the case study.