Real-Time Patient Smart Health Card Service Using Snowflake's Search Optimization Feature

In the dynamic landscape of healthcare and pharmacy network solutions, Encora has developed an innovative system for prominent healthcare solutions providers. This groundbreaking solution enables real-time sharing of patient health information, including vaccination records, in multiple formats such as JSON, QR Codes, and FHIR. The heart of this achievement lies in integrating a powerful REST API fueled by Azure API management services and Snowflake's Search Optimization Feature. This strategic amalgamation allows us to efficiently disseminate Smart Health Card data, making it available in the most user-friendly and interoperable forms. In this article, we delve into the technical details of this transformative project within the Health Care and Pharmacy Network Solution domain.

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Revolutionizing Health Verification: The Power of Vaccine Passport Data and Real-time Patient Health

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In today's healthcare landscape, the accessibility of patient health card information, especially vaccination records, has gained paramount significance. The widespread adoption of vaccine data verification at critical locations such as airports, malls, event venues, and public spaces has made individuals' vaccination status a necessary public health measure. The concept of "Vaccine Passport Data," or digital documentation displaying individual vaccination details, has emerged as a pivotal tool, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has streamlined the immunization verification against the virus, allowing entry to specific venues, international travel, and other activities.

As the adoption of vaccine passport or smart health card data as a verification standard continues to rise, our healthcare clients and vendors have approached us with a dynamic challenge: to provide the most up-to-date patient health-card and vaccination details in real-time. This entails delivering requested patient health card information within mere seconds. Additionally, there's a growing demand for this information in QR code format. The use of QR codes makes verification processes at crowded locations like airports, malls, and public events incredibly efficient, enabling instant access to an individual's full vaccination information. Beyond QR codes, we've also received customer requests to support other standard formats like JSON and FHIR messages.

Please visit the Smart Health Card home page here to know more about Smart Health Cards and technical specifications.

Please see the VCI page to know more about how Smart Health Cards empower individuals to gain access to their verifiable clinical information.


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Encora, with its innovative technological capabilities, rose to the occasion to develop smart health card and vaccine passports for our healthcare customers. The solution not only met these diverse needs but exceeded them, ensuring the highest levels of accuracy, security, and speed in delivering critical healthcare data.


Before we delve into intricate technical details, it's essential to understand the foundational prerequisites that laid the groundwork for our innovative healthcare solution. At the core of our endeavor was the need for a reliable, centralized system to manage and distribute patient health card and vaccination data. To achieve this, we required:

A Central Database System and Data Warehouse Platform: Our solution hinges on having a central repository capable of continuous data injection. This platform should efficiently handle data originating from various sources, ensuring it's updated in real time. This continuous injection and processing of vaccination data helps keep patient information accurate and up to date.


Solution Architecture Diagram


In this section, we dive into the technology that powers our innovative healthcare solutions. The combination of Snowflake's cutting-edge features, such as semi-structured data support, Snowpark, Python libraries, Search Optimization, and SQL API, along with Azure's API management services, forms the backbone of our real-time patient health card system. These tools and technologies have enabled us to meet the evolving demands of the healthcare industry by providing efficient access to patient vaccination data in various formats. Join us on this technical journey as we explore the inner workings of our solution.

  • Snowflake as the Data Platform: Snowflake serves as our enterprise data warehouse platform, providing the central repository for healthcare data. With data pipelines capturing information in real time from various source applications, data undergoes a refining process, enhancing its accuracy and reliability. The result is a central hub for various healthcare use cases, including our solution.
  • Semi-Structured Data Support for Multiple Formats: Our patient health card and vaccination information come in various formats, including JSON and FHIR. Snowflake's semi-structured data support allows us to efficiently handle this data, enabling quick access and delivery. It offers a comprehensive suite of functions for data ingestion, storage, and processing, accommodating complex, hierarchical data structures.
  • Snowpark & Python Libraries Support for QR Code Generation: A unique requirement from our healthcare clients was the need to provide patient health card data in QR code format for quick and convenient verification. While traditionally, Python code for QR code generation would run externally, Snowflake's Snowpark and Python libraries support allowed us to perform this task within Snowflake. This innovation eliminated the need for additional infrastructure and services, improving efficiency.
  • Snowflake Search Optimization for Rapid Response: Real-time access to individual patient records is a core requirement of our solution. Snowflake's Search Optimization Service (SOS) ensures sub-second response times for point-lookup queries, which is crucial in a healthcare context where speed is of the essence. This feature, combined with Snowflake's new capabilities, extended the platform's capabilities beyond analytics to support transactional workloads.
  • Snowflake SQL API: To connect with Snowflake and fetch patient health card data, we employ the Snowflake SQL API. This REST API simplifies interactions with Snowflake through HTTP requests, making integration with other systems seamless.
  • Azure API Management (APIM): Serving as our API management solution, Azure API Management ensures that the front-end API connects seamlessly with our Snowflake SQL API. It provides a secure and reliable gateway for managing access, enforcing policies, and monitoring traffic, ensuring that our healthcare solution remains robust and accessible.

Implementation Timeline

Encora's journey from concept to reality is a testament to the dedication and effort invested in creating a cutting-edge healthcare solution. Over a span of four to six weeks, we embarked on this transformative project, and the timeline offers a glimpse into our progress:

Proof of Concept (POC) - Weeks 1-2: The project's first couple of weeks were dedicated to developing a small proof of concept (POC). During this phase, we harnessed Snowflake's advanced features, explored the capabilities of semi-structured data support, and successfully developed an API for generating QR codes, facilitating the efficient presentation of vaccination information. This POC laid the foundation for our real-time solution.

Production-Ready Deployment - Weeks 3-6: In the subsequent 4-5 weeks, we shifted our focus towards making the POC code production-ready. This entailed rigorous testing, refining the code, and ensuring its readiness for deployment in a real-world healthcare environment. As a result, we were well-prepared to provide real-time patient health card and vaccination data, enhancing accessibility and safety for individuals and communities.

This timeline showcases the evolution of our project, from its initial stages to a full-fledged, production-ready healthcare solution.


In the dynamic realm of healthcare and pharmacy network solutions, the imperative of real-time patient health card and vaccination data access has never been more critical. This article has uncovered the development of a groundbreaking solution by Encora, designed for a leading healthcare solutions provider.

Leveraging the exceptional capabilities of Snowflake, this innovative solution empowers the swift sharing of vital patient health information in various formats. From semi-structured data support to Snowpark, Python libraries, and Azure API Management, every component plays a vital role in making real-time patient data accessible. The prerequisites laid the foundation for our journey, and the timeline underscores the dedication that went into making this transformative healthcare solution a reality.

This article has illuminated how technology, prerequisites, and meticulous planning converged to create a solution that empowers individuals, safeguards communities, and revolutionizes healthcare accessibility. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, this achievement serves as a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in addressing the most pressing healthcare needs. With this solution, the path to real-time health information has never been more seamless and efficient.


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Fast-growing tech companies partner with Encora to outsource product development and drive growth. Contact us to learn more about our software engineering capabilities.

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