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University Hospitals Birmingham selects Ensono to build a data platform that aims to advance England™s acute care system

Ensono was selected by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) to help the Trust design, build and manage PIONEER – the Health Data Research Hub for Acute Care. Working alongside Microsoft, HDR UK, the University of Birmingham and UHB, Ensono has developed the secure cloud based infrastructure for the first data research hub that will link data from various services across the West Midlands, enabling an individual’s acute care journey to be traced across healthcare providers. PIONEER will allow the teams across UHB’s sites to understand the individual patient journey better by providing a comprehensive picture of data from every interaction of a patient with acute care providers, which includes community and hospital services.

A central goal of the hub is to help build a more effective healthcare system. Clinical teams can access and learn from near real-time, acute hospital data to answer urgent clinical questions. This will help identify critical triggers and bottlenecks where healthcare could be improved and adjusted, potentially supporting earlier diagnosis, new treatments and monitoring systems. This would shift acute care from being reactive to predictive; informing cutting-edge best practice to be shared rapidly across the NHS and beyond, and ultimately help continue to elevate the quality of care delivered to patients.

Professor Elizabeth Sapey, a consultant in Acute and Respiratory Medicine at UHB, Managing Director of the NIHR/Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility, Lead for Acute Medicine Research, a Professor in Acute and Respiratory Medicine at the University of Birmingham, and PIONEER Hub Director said: “110 million people per year seek acute care help, and the costs are huge: £17 billion per year. But despite this huge burden and cost, acute care has seen less healthcare innovation than any other area of healthcare. We hope that by bringing together this data from different providers across the country, we can offer innovation that’s never been seen before to really improve patients’ lives.”

At the heart of PIONEER is the technology collaboration between Ensono and Microsoft. The hub, which runs on Microsoft Azure, provides UHB with a cost-effective and scalable secure cloud environment to support the needs of healthcare professionals.

Laura Robinson, Senior Director for Healthcare, Microsoft UK, said: “Microsoft’s cloud, Azure, is already helping many public and private sector organisations to deliver services more effectively and meet the evolving needs of citizens. Azure’s security, 24/7 availability and advanced capabilities make it a strong choice for the healthcare sector, and we look forward to helping more NHS organisations use the cloud to transform ways of working.”

Hilary Fanning, Director of Research Development & Innovation at UHB, said: “The way care is delivered for sudden illness has not changed for decades. Patients can seek medical care through a number of different healthcare providers.  However, healthcare providers don’t share detailed information with each other. Due to this they don’t fully understand the journey a patient goes on when they are suddenly unwell. This means that it is difficult to turn the data that is generated by patient contacts with multiple healthcare services into actionable information to improve the quality of care.  PIONEER aims to change this, providing an integrated hub for health data research. Ensono’s technical expertise, and their strong collaborative ethos, has helped us to build a truly technically advanced cloud platform solution, to support the work of PIONEER, while also ensuring that UHB can keep patient data secure. Ensono and Microsoft do not have access to the data which will be hosted by PIONEER. Access to any patient data held on the PIONEER platform is subject to the requirements and processes set out in the Health Research Authority approved PIONEER research database ethics application.”

Barney Taylor, managing director, Europe at Ensono said: “A full command of a patient’s journey will really help inform decision making for medical professionals on acute care pathways, particularly within the complexities of the current pandemic. We hope PIONEER will provide that integrated hub of data insights to allow clinicians to strategise care, provide better outcomes and ultimately more patient choice. This innovative solution had to be delivered in an agile and dynamic fashion, in response to an unprecedented, ever-changing situation on the frontline.”

For more information about Ensono, please visit:

About Ensono

Ensono helps IT leaders be the catalyst for change by harnessing the power of hybrid IT to transform their businesses. We accelerate digital transformation by increasing agility and scalability through infrastructure modernisation and migration to public cloud. Our broad services portfolio, from mainframe to cloud, is powered by an award-winning IT insights platform and is designed to help our clients operate for today and optimise for tomorrow. We are certified experts in AWS and Azure and recognised as Microsoft Datacenter Transformation Partner of the Year. Ensono has over 2,000 associates around the world and is headquartered in greater Chicago. Visit us at

About the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. Its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers, teachers and more than 6,500 international students from over 150 countries.

About UHB

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust runs the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Birmingham Chest Clinic, Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital and various community services across the region.

The Trust has regional centres for trauma, burns, plastics, neurosciences, dermatology and cancer.  It also has centres of excellence for vascular, bariatric and pathology services, as well as the treatment of MRSA and other infectious diseases. We also have expertise in HIV/AIDS, premature baby care, bone marrow transplants and thoracic surgery.

UHB has the largest solid organ transplantation programme in Europe and runs Umbrella, the sexual health service for Birmingham and Solihull. It is also home to the West Midlands Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre and a nationally-renowned weight management clinic and research centre.

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham is a Major Trauma Centre treating the most severely injured casualties from across the region. The hospital’s single site 100-bed critical care unit is the largest in Europe.

The Trust hosts the Institute of Translational Medicine (ITM) and led the West Midlands Genomics Medicine Centre as part of the national 100,000 Genomes Project.

UHB is also proud to host the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. The RCDM provides dedicated training for defence personnel and is a focus for medical research.

About Health Data Research UK and the PIONEER Hub

Health Data Research UK is the national institute for health data science. Its mission is to unite the UK’s health data to enable discoveries that improve people’s lives. It is funded by UK Research and Innovation, the Department of Health and Social Care in England and equivalents in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, and leading medical research charities.

PIONEER is the Health Data Research Hub for Acute Care, led by the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, in partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service, the University of Warwick, and Insignia Medical Systems. Acute care is the provision of unplanned medical care; from out of hours primary care, ambulance assessment, emergency medicine, surgery and intensive care. Demand for acute health services are currently unsustainable for our national healthcare resource.  Despite this, there has been less innovation in acute care than in many others health sectors, in part due to siloed information about patients with acute illnesses.

The PIONEER Hub collects and curates acute care data from across the health economy, including primary, secondary, social care, and ambulance data. PIONEER uses this data to:

  • provide accurate, real-time data for capacity planning and service innovation
  • support learning healthcare systems including better use of current/novel investigations, treatments and pathways
  • map innovation need

Ultimately, PIONEER enables stakeholders to develop, test, and deliver new ways of caring for acutely unwell people, supported with expert patient, health care professional, and compute/analytic services.

For media inquiries, please contact Beth Burghgraef at: [email protected].

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