HealthAlliance is now able to make all of their data, including PACS images, available instantly, using the IBM GMAS, a cross-IBM offering comprised of storage, software, servers and services. The GMAS solution provides hospitals, clinics, research institutions and pharmaceutical companies with an automated and resilient enterprise storage archive for delivering medical images, patient records and other critical healthcare reference information on demand.
"Fast, easy access to diagnostic images is a priority", stated Rick Mohnk, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of HealthAlliance. "Being paperless not only helps our staff improve their productivity and the quality of patient care, but also lowers our costs and improves our competitiveness. The IBM GMAS has helped us stay competitive and offer the leading edge technology that attracts top physicians to our staff and keeps patients feeling comfortable and well cared for."
Not only is the volume of medical images growing, but image sizes are ballooning as well. The introduction the newest CT scans are expected to increase file sizes by a factor of five - from 50 MB to approximately 300 MB. Digital mammography scans can be as much as 500 MB each. HealthAlliance has recently installed several new systems to their existing infrastructure, including new CT, PET, MRI and digital mammography systems, and expects that it will be dealing with burgeoning numbers of high-resolution medical images.
With their previous systems, HealthAlliance routinely ran into slow retrieval processes and limits on how much it could store - only the most recent 18 months of studies could be stored digitally, while older studies would remain in film and paper form. With their IBM solution, all studies, regardless of age, are archived and accessed quickly, allowing for more rapid diagnosis and improved patient care, as well as more accurate comparisons of current and historical data.
HealthAlliance chose the IBM GMAS because it needed a cost-effective archiving system with the flexibility and scalability to grow along with their organisation. In addition, given the critical nature of the files, the GMAS is able to provide a solution that is highly reliable, always available, and based on open standards, so that the archive can interface with other systems that the hospital might add in the future.
"Our GMAS solution enables clients of all sizes, from community hospitals to large integrated delivery networks and research institutions, to start out small and easily expand their archive over time", stated Hernan Vega, Vice President, Healthcare and Life Sciences in IBM's System and Technology Group. "IBM views flexibility and ease of use as critical requirements, especially in the small and medium health care market."
All HealthAlliance PACS images are archived on the IBM GMAS and accessible in numerous ways. For example, all clinicians can access GMAS through hospital record system, which provides complete access to the patient record including medical images, lab results, radiology reports, and pharmacy records. Medical workers at any location can also access the grid using their Web browsers.
The GMAS configuration that HealthAlliance installed includes an IBM System Storage DS4000 disk system, IBM System x servers, and IBM Grid Access Manager software. This configuration is duplicated at a separate building on the hospital campus for disaster recovery purposes. A wide-area network connects the two systems, allowing the GMAS archive to continue to function in the case of any planned or unplanned downtime.
More news about the IBM GMAS solution is available in the VMW June 2007 article IBM introduces breakthrough Grid medical computing solution.