RFDS builds a life-saving IT architecture on Oracle Autonomous Database

Royal Flying Doctor Service delivers essential healthcare in rural Australia by replicating data to Oracle Autonomous Database using OCI GoldenGate.


Digital Health is about having the right data at the right time. When that data becomes life-changing for the patient, you need superior platforms that just work. Oracle Cloud is powering our digital transformation from our remote health hubs to our aviation assets, to that cattle station that is 500km from the nearest neighbor.

Ryan KloseChief Information Officer, Royal Flying Doctor Service

Business challenges

Imagine being a healthcare worker and not having access to information that could help save the life of your patient. Whereas most healthcare workers take real-time access to critical information systems for granted, the staff of Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) delivers primary healthcare and 24-hour emergency services to the underserved population in Australia’s remote regions where reliable internet connectivity is often not available. As one of the largest aeromedical organizations in the world, RFDS logs over 380,000 patient interactions per year, operates 80 aircraft, and maintains more than 300 road-based ambulances known as retrieval vehicles. 

Historically, RFDS’s staff recorded patient interactions on paper forms, with up to 600 fields per interaction. Information on those forms was manually entered into either standalone applications or shared via CSV files among 100-plus databases across seven operating entities. During interactions in remote areas with little or no internet connectivity, staff often could not access the RFDS knowledgebase of patient data. These disparate systems and connectivity issues challenged the organization’s ability to deliver the highest-quality services to its patients. And, as a nonprofit organization, the requisite web of service agreements and support services resulted in unacceptably high support costs.

Accordingly, RFDS evaluated enterprise-grade cloud solutions with the goal of establishing a countrywide patient record system that could facilitate the sharing of consistent, reliable, and accurate information in real time across operations. Ultimately, this new framework would help employees to analyze health and services patterns to improve patient outcomes.

Data is the new gold for outback Australia. Oracle runs billions of race-strategy simulations on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) for the Red Bull Racing Formula One team and that data brought success on the racing track. RFDS is re-adapting this same data capability into our patient, clinician, and logistics interaction experience.

Ryan KloseChief Information Officer, Royal Flying Doctor Service

Why Royal Flying Doctor Service chose Oracle

RFDS evaluated cloud platforms offered by AWS, Azure, and Oracle. Of paramount importance was a partner with a track record in helping organizations reduce costs through standardization and automation. Ideally, products and services would be engineered together in a system architecture that would solve RFDS’s remote connectivity challenges, allow for secure and consolidated data, and enhance data analysis to improve patient outcomes. With this architecture in place, IT staff could transition from maintenance activities to higher-value roles as technology innovators in support of the organization’s quest to not just modernize systems but to also become a digital leader in healthcare. 

Based on these criteria, RFDS selected Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) as the ideal solution for building an innovative, enterprisewide healthcare technology architecture. Oracle Autonomous Database for transaction processing and mixed workloads (ATP) and OCI GoldenGate would allow for replication of data from multiple sources within RFDS. As a real-time data mesh platform, OCI GoldenGate’s replication capabilities would ensure that data captured offline was reliably synchronized with other healthcare systems when connectivity was restored. These OCI capabilities, along with a proven commitment to the healthcare industry, demonstrated to RFDS’s leadership that Oracle was the best choice.

RFDS now completes its daily peak computing workloads three times faster on OCI.


With its aeromedical electronic health records system on one technology stack, RFDS teams synchronize service delivery more efficiently across seven operating entities. For example, a nurse and doctor in flight can access potentially life-saving medical information on a tablet while transporting a critically injured rancher to emergency facilities hundreds of miles away. In another scenario, healthcare providers can analyze patient records and use predictive diagnostics as they build trust in communities in the Outback with long-term and complex health issues. 

Universally, RFDS captures all patient interactions electronically within the Oracle ATP database, virtually eliminating paper forms. For interactions entered in offline mode, OCI GoldenGate automatically updates and synchronizes data with the Oracle ATP database in just seconds when connectivity is restored. As a result, RFDS has a fault-tolerant and zero data-loss architecture that modernized operations into a real-time data mesh platform. 

Oracle ATP automatically adjusts to varying workloads, helping to reduce peak computing times from an average of 12 hours daily to 4 hours or fewer, a 3X improvement.

Published:August 30, 2023

About the customer

Boosted by a vast number of volunteers and supporters, the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) provides a lifeline for people who live, work and travel in rural and remote Australia, and has been doing so for over nine decades.