Brazilian healthcare cooperative quickly enables branches nationwide to report COVID-19 data, thanks to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.
Unimed, founded in 1967 in Santos, Brazil, is now the world’s largest network of medical cooperatives and Brazil’s largest healthcare system. Its 116,000 physicians and other practitioners provide quality care to 17 million people across 2,500 hospitals in 27 states throughout the country.
In March 2020, the cooperative network’s services arm, Unimed Service Central, faced a serious challenge: As part of a new national protocol to monitor COVID-19 cases via electronic medical records (EMRs), Brazil’s Ministry of Health asked Unimed to report any suspected or confirmed cases of the disease. But Unimed didn’t have a technology platform sufficient to meet that requirement.
The main reasons we migrated our databases and, most important, our patients’ medical records to Oracle Cloud Infrastructure were the efficiency, scalability, and security provided through cloud technology without impacting our work.
IT Manager, Unimed Services Central
To meet the health ministry’s directive, Unimed came up with a plan to expand the rollout of its EMRs, based on Oracle Cloud Database, from about 60 branches to all 344 nationwide.
The consortium network chose Oracle Cloud Infrastructure as the underlying platform for that aggressive rollout, given that it could replicate the databases and deploy them on OCI relatively quickly. If Unimed had relied on on-premises infrastructure for the rollout, “we wouldn’t have been able to adapt rapidly enough to support the business and respond to the demand for healthcare, especially during this pandemic,” says IT Manager Leandro Schmitz.
Unimed was also drawn to OCI’s high performance, scalability, security, and automatic updates, as well as the prospect of freeing employees to focus more on saving lives and less on infrastructure maintenance.
What’s more, Oracle not only brought database and cloud expertise, but also expertise serving healthcare customers, “so it was the correct and logical decision to bring all of our technology operations to them,” Schmitz says.
As a bonus, Oracle provided the service for free, as part of its mission to help customers save lives during the pandemic.
Unimed’s cross-functional teams were able to extend EMRs to all 344 of the consortium network’s branches in fewer than 15 days, increasing visibility into confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospital and ICU bed capacity. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure allows medical teams anywhere on the private Unimed network to report data.
As of October 2020, about 150 Unimed branches were widely using the Oracle platform and had reported more than 32,000 confirmed COVID cases, as well as numerous suspected cases.
“If we were not in the cloud, we wouldn't have been able to achieve that so fast and the project wouldn't have been possible,” says Schmitz, who adds: “It achieves one of our main goals: to support and help save lives.”