Enhancing Healthcare Operations: Why it’s Time to Move Away from Legacy Databases

As a complex organisation, the NHS heavily relies on its IT infrastructure to manage patient records, appointments, and medications, among other things.

However, the NHS has been using legacy databases for many years, despite advances in technology, much of this infrastructure is based on old legacy databases, which can pose significant challenges for the NHS. A legacy database is an outdated technology that can impede the efficiency of a system, hinder the ability to integrate with modern systems and pose a security risk due to outdated security measures.

Despite these issues, many organisations, including the NHS, continue to use legacy databases due to factors such as resource and skill shortages, budget constraints, and the significant time and effort required to migrate to a new system.

In this blog post, we will explore the potential benefits of transitioning away from a legacy database and why the effort and expense may be worthwhile for the NHS and other organisations.


5 Benefits of Moving to the Cloud

Healthcare organisations are seeking increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness, leading many to modernise their infrastructure and move away from legacy databases. Doing so has numerous benefits for NHS trusts, including:


  1. Cost Savings

Moving to the cloud can save costs, particularly for organisations with legacy systems approaching the end of support. For instance, using out-of-support SQL Server versions can result in extra costs for extended security updates, which can be up to 70% of the license fee. However, by moving to cloud-based solutions like Azure these costs can be avoided. This is particularly beneficial for the NHS, which is plagued with issues related to legacy hardware reaching the end of support and inadequate system performance.


  1. Better Scalability

Cloud-based solutions like Azure offer increased scalability, allowing organisations like the NHS to remain agile and easily adapt to changing demands. This can mean quickly scaling up IT infrastructure to meet surges in high patient volumes or handle unexpected healthcare crises

Additionally, this can offer greater flexibility in terms of where and how data is stored. For the NHS, this can ensure patient data is held in a secure and compliant manner, while also providing easy access to authorised healthcare providers across various locations. As a result, this can lead to better patient outcomes and improved healthcare services for the public.


  1. Increased Efficiency

By leveraging cloud-based solutions, your healthcare organisation can modernise its overall data estate and significantly increase efficiency. With modern cloud capabilities, you can streamline data management processes and enable superior patient insights, while automation can free up valuable time for healthcare professionals. This led to better-informed decisions about patient care and a more efficient healthcare system.


  1. Enhanced Security

Cloud-based solutions offer a range of security features, including data encryption, network security, and access control, all of which can help protect against cyber threats.

By using cloud-based solutions like Azure, the NHS can benefit from the latest security technologies and expertise, helping to keep patient data and IT infrastructure safe from cyber threats. This is especially important considering the growing number of cyberattacks targeting healthcare organisations.


  1. Better Compliance

In addition to the other benefits, moving to the cloud can also improve compliance for healthcare organisations.

By using cloud-based solutions like Azure, the NHS can ensure that its data and IT infrastructure meet the necessary regulatory standards, helping to protect patient data and avoid costly fines and legal repercussions. This is especially important in healthcare, where compliance with regulations like GDPR and HIPAA. In healthcare, where patient trust and the protection of sensitive healthcare information are paramount, this is especially important.


Streamlining the typical Cloud Migration process:

  1. Assess your current database: Start by determining what needs to be migrated and what can be retired. Identify any potential issues or challenges that may arise during the migration process.
  2. Choose a cloud provider: Choose a cloud provider that meets the needs of your organisation and offers the necessary services and tools for your database migration. Evaluate the pricing, security and performance of each provider to ensure you are making the best decision.
  3. Plan your migration: Develop a plan for your database migration, including a timeline, resources needed, and potential risks and challenges.
  4. Prepare your data: Prepare your data for migration by cleaning, organising, and ensuring data quality.
  5. Migrate your data: Migrate your data to the new database system, following your migration plan and monitoring the process closely.
  6. Test and optimise: Test your new database system and optimise it for performance, scalability, and security.
  7. Train your team: Train your team on the new database system and provide ongoing support to ensure a smooth transition.


With many NHS legacy database technologies nearing the end of life, now is the time to make a move. Modernising a legacy database can be a challenging process, which is why many NHS organisations may be hesitant to make the move. However, delaying can present its own set of challenges.



By transitioning to the cloud, the NHS can benefit from cost savings, improved scalability, increased efficiency, enhanced security, and better compliance. This can help the NHS deliver better patient care and improve the healthcare system overall.

No matter where you are in your data journey, or what your existing data function may look like, the Modern Data Analytics Essential Assessment can help. Perfect for organisations at the beginning of their data journey; or if you have a legacy data warehouse solution but not getting the expected value from the cloud platform.

Find out more: Modern Data Analytics Essential Assessment | Simpson Associates (simpson-associates.co.uk)



If you have any queries about transitioning from legacy databases or any of the tools outlined in this article, our live chat is available for you to speak to one of our experts. They will be delighted to provide more information.


Blog Author

Rob Harcourt, Business Development Manager, Simpson Associates