Cloud changes the BI weather
On the technology front, Duke says the big change has been the arrival of public cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure, that dramatically cut the hardware and software costs of storing and crunching data.
“The cloud is just the most cost effective way of doing this,” he says. “You can pay for what you use, and if something does not work out, you can just switch it off.”
The NHS has been slower to start using the cloud for analytics services than other organisations, partly because of concerns about security and information governance. But the bodies tasked with advising the health service on these issues seem to have decided that this is the way to go.
For example, Duke says, the NHS Digital has said it is acceptable to store patient identifiable data in a public cloud, subject to risk assessment and as long as it does not leave the EEA (or, if it originates from named central bodies, England). Microsoft and Google are both investing in UK data centres.