NEC’s IERS Drives Patient Portals to Improve Health and Wellness

Date: 10.06.2014 | HITC Editor


Guest editorial contributor: Matthew D. Sarrel, MPH, CISSP

Online patient portals are used by healthcare organizations to support critical activities such as enrollment, reporting, claims management, and outreach communication with patients. A prominent goal of such systems is to facilitate the provision of better care while lowering the costs associated with that care. While a patient portal must meet the needs of the healthcare organization developing it, it must, above all, meet the needs of the patients who are going to use it. Patients require easy and rapid access to the information they need about providers and services.

Patient portals can be used to provide a variety of services. Typical uses for a patient portal include scheduling doctor visits, obtaining lab results, and accessing health and wellness information. Patient portals serve as a vital link between healthcare organizations and patients. In many cases, patients can exchange secure messages with their health care teams. A successful patient portal enhances patient-provider communication, empowers patients, supports care and prevention between visits, and, most importantly, improves patient health.

NEC’s InfoFrame Elastic Relational Store (IERS) provides leading edge database technologies that serve as a powerful foundation for a patient portal. IERS relies on technologies developed by NEC to provide high scalability and performance. IERS’ scale-out architecture transparently expands the system without downtime as demand and data volume increase; two things that a successful patient portal is sure to experience.

IERS automatically allocates resources in order to balance the data processing load among transaction servers in order to provide a reliable high-performance database environment. Data is also protected using security mechanisms and distributed across multiple servers for improved reliability. They system automatically load balances itself and overcomes system failures to enable business continuity without service interruption. The result is a speedy data-driven patient portal that stays up and running to provide the online services patients need the most.

IERS has already been used to develop high volume patient portals. HealthQEC, a healthcare analytical and information technology consulting firm, selected IERS as the database behind their Prompt Outreach patient portal. Prompt Outreach is a cloud-based communication system that provides a cost effective way for healthcare organizations to contact and share information with patients using email, SMS, phone, and a variety of other methods. “We chose IERS because of its advanced scaling capability (elastic scale-out and scale-in mechanism) to meet the high volume requirements of a SaaS model. We were also drawn to IERS because of its high performance, reliability and availability for mission critical applications,” says Rafique Khan, Director of IT for HealthQEC.

In addition to exceling as a database for patient portals, IERS is a great choice for the following uses in a healthcare setting.  IERS is well-suited to be deployed as a:

  • Logging system for insurance claims processing
  • Central repository tracking data from diagnostic devices
  • Patient treatment and outcomes analytics database
  • Research driven predictive analytics database

NEC’s IERS is an elastically scalable high-performance database with many uses in healthcare. More information on the platform can be found on the NEC website and the NECtoday blog.


Matthew D. Sarrel is a healthcare IT expert, GigaOm Analyst, Contributing Editor, and Frequent Contributor. He is also CEO and Founder of Sarrel Group, a consulting firm based in New York City and San Francisco. He has been designing and building big data solutions in healthcare and medical research settings for over 15 years. Follow him on Twitter at @msarrel.

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