IBM health care customers implement advanced data storage and management technologies

Boston 24 September 2007IBM has hosted a Healthcare Innovation Event, spotlighting new and emerging data storage and management technologies that are dramatically shaping how health care and life sciences organisations manage and access health information on demand. IBM's advanced storage technologies are allowing both large health care and life sciences enterprises and small to mid-sized organisations - such as IBM customers Spectrum Health and Harbin Clinic - to adopt ever-increasing sophistication and leading edge expertise.


Health care and life sciences data is increasing at such a rapid rate, in fact, that leading industry analysts in the Frost & Sullivan 2004 Healthcare Storage Report predict that by 2010, medical centres will need to be equipped to hold almost one billion terabytes of data, or the equivalent of two trillion file cabinets worth of information.

The need to retain massive volumes of data for long periods of time is presenting new data and storage management challenges for health care organisations. Users continue to demand fast performance as well as higher and broader availability of patient records, medical images, pharmaceutical research and historical data. Massive data volumes combined with long retention periods require IT administrators to deliver a cost-effective data management and storage strategy that meets all users' needs, protects valuable data, scales on demand, simplifies data migration and automates recovery for both planned and unplanned downtime.

"Transformation throughout the global health care industry depends on information technology that enables collaborative innovation - both within and among enterprises that seek to provide improved patient-centric products and services", stated Mike Svinte, Vice President, IBM Global Pharmaceutical & Life Sciences. "In this increasingly interdependent ecosystem, IBM offers our customers of all sizes an unmatched spectrum of solutions - including services that integrate new technologies and drive new approaches to transform processes - such as advanced storage and server technologies, data management software, databases, content and records management, virtualization, Grid computing and technology services."

IBM health care and life sciences clients are using IBM System Storage solutions as part of their efforts to help them manage, control and use information for better insight into patient care, as well as a broad portfolio of software, hardware and services to address their most pressing information challenges. These storage solutions are key components of IBM's cross-company Information on Demand initiative, which is enabling health care and life sciences organisations to gain control of and use information as a strategic business asset.

IBM customers in the health care industry are implementing advanced solutions to deal with the constraints they face. Spectrum Health, West Michigan's largest employer, is a not-for-profit health system that offers a full continuum of care through its seven hospitals, 14.000 employees, 1400 physicians, and 460.000-member health plan, Priority Health. Spectrum has implemented an IBM Storage solution including IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC), System Storage DS8000s and Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) in order to scale along with the growth of their customer base and their sophisticated Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), consolidate and use their systems most effectively, and comply with government regulations. Spectrum Health has also recently selected a Grid Medical Access Solution (GMAS), a multi-tier, multi-application and multi-site enterprise storage archive for delivering medical images, patient records and other critical health care reference information on demand.

"For health systems like ours, it is imperative to be able to access patients' medical information on demand", stated Mark LaBelle, Manager of Servers and Storage, Spectrum Health. "The IBM infrastructure we have put in place has allowed for exceptional speed, scalability, reliability and self-monitoring in maintaining all of our patients' medical images. We also look forward to the rapid, universal access to information we'll gain with our upcoming GMAS system implementation, as well."

Harbin Clinic, Georgia's largest privately owned multi-speciality physician clinic, provides primary and speciality health services for 11 counties in Georgia and Alabama. In addition to its main campus in Rome, Georgia, Harbin Clinic operates more than 20 satellite offices in Rome and in the four surrounding counties. Harbin Clinic has utilized IBM storage and data management solutions to reduce its back-up window by approximately 70 percent and is able to support 24x7 operations by deploying IBM Tivoli Storage Manager software running on IBM System x 386 servers and IBM System Storage DS4100 storage systems. Harbin Clinic also manages a vast PACS system, which digitally houses all of their radiology files (MRIs, CT scans, X-rays). Additionally, Harbin Clinic will implement a Cardio Vascular Picture Archiving and Communications System (CPACS) that stores high-resolution video images by the end of 2007. Physicians can pull up these medical records anytime, anywhere on the Harbin Clinic network - in the emergency room, from a remote office, even from a home office.

"Across our organisation, we were seeing a tidal wave of data and unprecedented demand for access to it", stated Tom Fricks, CIO, Harbin Clinic. "Together with IBM, we determined the appropriate solution to not only meet our current data storage and management needs but also to ensure that our data centres will be properly equipped to scale along with our growth and to accommodate the future growth of our hospitals, the services they offer and the patient data that we house. Harbin Clinic is an electronic medical record-centric organisation and it's important to us to offer leading technologies to our physicians and patients, no matter where they are located."

More news on IBM's Grid solutions for health care is available in the VMW June 2007 article IBM introduces breakthrough Grid medical computing solution.

Leslie Versweyveld

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