About The Client
The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) is the oldest continuously operating health department in the United States, committed to protecting the health and wellbeing of all Baltimoreans. BCHD’s mission is to eliminate disparities through education, coordination, advocacy, and direct service delivery. During the more than 220 years since their founding, they have worked to improve the health of all Baltimore residents. The department encompasses a broad range of responsibilities including communicable diseases, chronic disease prevention, HIV/STD prevention, school health, restaurant inspections, senior services, and youth violence issues. BCHD has a workforce of more than 800, and treats an average of 30,000 citizens annually.
BCHD is responsible for a vast amount of data from 12 different programs and their subdivisions, with records in varying formats and databases relevant to each sector. Siloed information, kept in complex and aging repositories, was difficult to access while maintaining privacy and accuracy. With more than 30 disparate health databases of varying ages and in different formats, BCHD understood the challenge in fully aggregating and storing this valuable information in a manner that would allow for improved interaction to allow for insight, study, and data collection while protecting privacy and ensuring safety over time.
The Canton Group has more than 20 years of experience in developing innovative and secure technological solutions to solve difficult problems. The BCHD dilemma was no exception. We worked to architect and develop efficient and effective data lake solutioning using Amazon Web Services to securely store the entirety of BCHD’s protected health data, whether structured or unstructured, into a centralized repository. This data lake solution provided BCHD with agility and flexibility in data storage, allowing them more than a traditional data storage system ever could. Using AWS offered a low-cost, scalable and secure storage option that supports search and analysis for a whole host of data types. This feature is especially important since BCHD now has the capability to create visualizations where complex data can be brought to life through graphs and charts that are easily understandable to show correlations. Data can be archived, and new data sources can be added over time. (For example, when a new virus is discovered, BCHD can track its emergence, spread, and eventual elimination.)
As a partner with Amazon Web Services, The Canton Group used a long list of AWS elements to complete the migration, transformation, and analysis of the data. For migration and transformation, tools like Glue and Data Migration Services provide an easy way to move data, along with additional services including Lambda, CloudWatch, Cloudtrail, Simple Storage Solution (S3) and Elastic Cloud servers. For data storage and aggregation, a combination of database services are being used including Redshift and RDS (MySQL & SQL Server). The data is properly secured using a combination of VPCs, Security Groups, and Identity & Access Management (IAM).
Thanks to the sheer size of solutioning the AWS data lake and our leading edge analysis tools, BCHD now has access to vastly improved analytics which offer better overall outcomes and lower total cost of ownership. Now, BCHD can integrate disparate databases into a central data lake to aggregate information and analyze huge amounts of information to look for trends and elements that otherwise would appear to be functioning alone. The tools now available through AWS and business intelligence applications have empowered BCHD to create a sophisticated data analysis approach that will dramatically alter the view of Baltimore’s overall health. No longer will health information be siloed into 30 different departments, but instead Baltimore’s health is integrated and interwoven, while still private and secure to its constituents.
"The Canton Group is an extremely valued partner providing us with capabilities that are truly game changing for us."
Mike Fried, CIO Baltimore City Health Department