Foresite Healthcare

Scaling proactive health monitoring by moving Foresite to AWS

Foresite Healthcare

Foresite Healthcare develops intelligent sensor technologies for passive, privacy-protecting, continuous health monitoring and machine learning-based predictive analytics to enable preventive care and personalized interventions in hospitals and senior living communities.


Maryland Heights, MO
Amazon EC2
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Amazon Elastic File System (EFS)
AWS Data Transfer
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Amazon Aurora 

Proactive health monitoring solves for the shortage of healthcare workers in an ingenious way. Instead of increasing staffing for round-the-clock supervision, sensors can collect the same data and parse it with AI and machine learning to identify risks. There’s no room for human error, no worries about missing a critical moment.

… as long as the infrastructure never falters.

Foresite makes proactive monitoring software and hardware for injury and illness prevention. Instead of relying on assisted living residents to wear a device — and dealing with the noncompliance that follows — Foresite equips a person’s living space with the technology to monitor for falls, assess fall risks, and monitor and alert on deteriorating health conditions. If a sensor is triggered by a fall, the system notifies on-site staff immediately. And if a resident is looking unsteady, the predictive health technology can alert healthcare professionals to intervene with recommendations before a fall occurs. If imminent illness is detected, an alert  is issued by the system 2-3 weeks before a possible hospitalization.

It’s an impressive rethink of healthcare delivery, and one that depends on its ability to fulfill a single promise: to always monitor patient data, no matter what.

“For Foresite to work at all, we have to work all the time — care providers count on our systems to be there for patients, and we need infrastructure that can deliver no matter what. Deft could give us that, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing experts have your back.”

Dr. George Chronis

CEO, CTO, Foresite Healthcare

The unique infrastructure pressures behind proactive health monitoring

The potential of health surveillance is its always-on nature. Even with full-time caregivers, facilities can’t be certain they’ll catch someone in the critical moments before and after a fall. Foresite offers an extra set of eyes in every patient’s room, capturing movement and delivering real-time notifications of anything amiss.

If that system goes down — even for a short amount of time — it can’t fulfill its purpose. Like any healthcare technology, proactive health monitoring requires an infrastructure that’s highly available and built for redundancy, lest it lose any of the data people depend on.

It also has to do this while being ready for HIPAA compliance. The startup had to be able to promise that all of its systems had the security in place to protect patient data.

Scaling healthcare data collection and analysis

Foresite had been meeting these challenges on its own in the early days. As a startup, the founders tapped their network to spin up an initial, colocated infrastructure, eventually moving to a managed service provider model as they grew.

Five years into operations, the physical infrastructure started to be a drag on growth. International opportunities were opening up, and with them the need to have infrastructure everywhere. The contracts and relationships were quickly outpacing what their internal team could manage. Foresite was facing the staffing challenge of hiring multiple systems administrators to manage everything, or a total infrastructure overhaul.

“We were getting more and more opportunities we couldn’t confidently pursue. We needed to know that our infrastructure could grow as fast as we were — without CapEx charges and 20-day provisioning windows. Deft made that happen.”

Dr. George Chronis

CEO, CTO, Foresite Healthcare

The Foresite team wanted to be ready to have a conversation with any prospect, and needed to know they could provision resources as quickly as they could sign new contracts. With physical infrastructure, every expansion was a leap of faith, a large and long-term investment in the CapEx of physical infrastructure. A move to the cloud had the potential to remove their biggest obstacle to success.

What the cloud can do for proactive monitoring software

It was time for Foresite to get the infrastructure support it needed, but what that looked like was still unknown. The team came to Deft not just for a migration, but a full assessment and a cloud strategy that could carry them forward for years.

AWS was in the consideration set, but the team at Foresite wanted proof that it was the right option for them, not just the popular one. As with any engagement at Deft, we started with discovery, diving into the business to learn what the company needed infrastructure to do and what benefits would be most valuable. Two things ultimately stood out: Built-in security and instant scalability.

Being in the healthcare space, Foresite needed to provide high-level security for its systems. Doing that in a private stack meant managing encryption on their own — and explaining exactly how it was done to customers who would then need to turn around and earn HIPAA compliance. Moving to AWS gave them access to all of the pre-built services that make the cloud more secure out of the gate. It also gave clients peace of mind: AWS was a known entity with a track record of HIPAA compliance.

Scalability was the biggest pain point. To add a client, Foresite had to have its colo MSP out racking and stacking servers. It took time, and had upfront costs. A move to AWS opened up opportunities to rely on Infrastructure as Code, building the rules for an environment once and using them to spin up new resources any time they were needed.

“We’re talking about international deployments, Europe, APAC — We would have shied away from them. With Deft we have more comfort reaching into new markets. The barrier to entry is almost non-existent.”

Dr. George Chronis

CEO, CTO, Foresite Healthcare

It also switched the cost structure, allowing incremental expansion instead of huge leaps in expenditures. That, combined with the essentially limitless capacity of AWS, opened Foresite up to a world of new opportunities. AWS had the pipes, peering and global reach to give Foresite the agility to respond to customers in the moment.

Managing the migration of Foresite’s massive healthcare data operation

When Foresite started in 2013, AWS wasn’t such an obvious choice. The platform was newer and not as feature-rich, and more people had expertise standing up hardware than cloud infrastructure. Over the years, the team would consider the cloud, but with deep investment in CapEx, they had to wait until the right time, and the right partner, to move.

The Deft assessment brought a new urgency, and Deft itself brought an entire team of AWS experts to Foresite. It was time to make the move.

Migrating from colocation to cloud is always a delicate transition — much more so with the pressures that surround proactive healthcare companies like Foresite. A small maintenance window was critical to their ability to keep supporting clients and protecting patients. To minimize the interruption, Deft first split the databases Foresite relied on, giving each client its own database. Then, our team made copies of all the data and moved those, testing the launch first to make sure everything behaved as expected. With the right team and plan in place, 90% of Foresite’s clients were able to move to the new system in under a half hour.

Scaling injury prevention with the right infrastructure

Now if Foresite has an infrastructure problem, it’s being ready too fast.

“We’re usually ahead of the client — we can sign something and within 48 hours the website is up. The risk is pretty much zero now.”

Dr. George Chronis

CEO, CTO, Foresite Healthcare

The new scalability — and the confidence that comes from knowing your infrastructure is handled — has freed Foresite up to think bigger. Deft gives the company redundancy not just in its systems but in its team, with the documentation to support it. Instead of hiring systems administrators, the startup is able to stay lean and hire only for strategic positions.

The renewed focus has opened up new opportunities, including a portable version of the technology the team says would never have been able to launch so soon without Deft’s infrastructure support.

“AWS brings a maturity to our infrastructure that clients and prospects recognize and trust – and we can trust Deft.”

Dr. George Chronis

CEO, CTO, Foresite Healthcare

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