Hawaii taps HP for health data warehouse projects

The goal: fewer deaths from diabetes, asthma

Hewlett-Packard Co. is working with Hawaiian state health officials on two data warehousing projects, one of which will be one of the first examples of HP's new go-to-market strategy in the business intelligence (BI) market.

HP has already helped Hawaii deploy a public health database that tracks rates of chronic diseases in the state's multicultural population.

The data will help health officials create education and prevention programs that target specific communities or age groups.

"The goal is fewer deaths from diabetes and asthma," said Katherine Benson, an IS administrator with the state, in an interview during Computerworld's Business Intelligence Perspectives conference in Chicago this week.

The Hawaii Health Data Warehouse runs on an Oracle 10g Database, with data loaded and filtered via Informatica Corp.'s PowerCenter 8.5, and reporting via Business Objects' Web Intelligence, Microsoft Access and SAS, said Benson.

HP supplied the Proliant servers and oversaw the deployment, having taken the project over after an initial attempt using a local system integrator failed, Benson said.

The Health Data Warehouse costs the state $900,000 a year to run, Benson said. But it is saving the state $300,000 a year in salaries by letting researchers and the general public get this data via a public Web site, she said.

Another benefit is that it is enabling government officials to apply for health grants they were unable to compete for due to lack of data, she said.

HP is working with the state on an even more ambitious project: an emergency health alert surveillance system for early detection of pandemics such as H1N1, or swine flu.

When finished, the system will pull in local hospital emergency room patient data every two to three hours, and cold and flu medication purchase data from local and national drug stores, Benson said.

This emergency alert system is vital for Hawaii, she said. The large number of tourists coming to Hawaii put it at higher risk of such pandemics. And those pandemics need to be quashed quickly so as to minimize damage to the tourism industry.

The emergency alert data warehouse will be built by HP and, like the Health Data Warehouse, use an Oracle Database instead of its own Neoview data warehouse system.

A late arrival to the BI market, HP is trying to differentiate itself from competitors by providing a total package of products, services and consulting tailored for individual industries, said John Santaferrero, director of BI industry solutions at HP.

"Because of the economy, a lot of people have been pushing back on strategy and planning," Santaferrero said. "But it's a very valuable thing, if you look at the people who did do this work before they began three to four years ago."

HP is developing a "smart meter" solution with partner SAP AG for a large U.K. utility, which it hopes to use as the basis of a turnkey product it can sell to other utility companies, said Santaferrero. HP is also working on risk-aware BI products based around Neoview for banks, and BI solutions for oil companies.

The emergency alert data warehouse would serve as the foundation for HP's BI health solution.

The first phase of this emergency alert data warehouse is due next April. Benson admitted, however, that the project is likely to fall behind schedule due to delays in negotiating the data-sharing agreements with the hospitals and drug stores.

This story was corrected on 9/18/2009 to reflect that HP was using Oracle Database rather than its product for its Hawaii project.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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