A new application has been launched on the EMIS-X platform in a bid to provide quicker access to insights of large health datasets.

Explorer is the first application to be launched on the cloud-based EMIS-X platform and is the first product from the EMIS-X Analytics suite – a set of analytics tools that enable the integration of large healthcare datasets at speed.

Speaking exclusively to Digital Health Alex Eavis, director of EMIS-X Analytics, spoke about how Explorer can help speed up processes.

She said: “Traditionally, in order to do analytics, people would generate an extract of data and then they would take an extract and store it in their warehouse. They would then plug their analytics tool into it and then do the analysis there, and then somehow, they’d have to feed whatever insight they generated back to the doctors.

“So there is a disconnect between where the analytics was done, which is often centrally, and how insights are fed back to the clinicians.

“Explorer helps shorten the time period of this and also makes it easier for the feedback to be communicated to the clinician.”

So what exactly makes Explorer different from other tools. Eavis says it is down to cloud technology.

“Because Explorer is cloud based it means it is massively scalable,” she told Digital Health News.

“It’s really the first time you can query or investigate large population groups in seconds or minutes. So you can run a query across EMIS’ estate, which is around 34million patients in England, in a number of minutes and that is the first time that has ever been able to happen.

“Also the security that cloud provides is more enhanced, both in terms of availability of data and preventing hacking.”

An early adopter of the Explorer has been researchers at the University of Oxford who are using it for live surveillance into more than 50,000 patient-reported experiences of Covid-19.

The anonymised data has been collated from an ongoing patient questionnaire on the Patient Access app and website.

The patient survey was created by Dr Ian Wood and Dr Sarah Jarvis, both practising GPs and clinical directors at EMIS, in collaboration with the academic partners. More than 50,000 people have completed the questionnaire since it was launched in April.

Dr Wood said: “The really crucial part is that this is patient-reported data. There are limitations to the way in which we as clinicians record data into electronic healthcare record systems.

“Although we record items like medications, investigations and major health events very well, we are less able to capture in a standardised way, metrics such as subtle differences in symptoms, recovery periods or the wider direct and indirect economic impact on a patient’s employment and finances.

“We are now capturing all of this data through this patient survey. It’s a new and richer set of data ready and waiting to be explored.”