IBM breaks new ground with interoperable medical imaging and patient data archiving solution

Chicago 02 December 2008IBM has unveiled a powerful new combination of advanced imaging and information archiving technologies that provides health care and research organisations with complete and timely access to critical imaging and diagnostic information at the point of care - regardless of the source, age or location of the information. IBM's new Healthcare Image and Information Grid (HIIG) framework is built on open standards and enables physicians to make better decisions based on more complete information at the precise moment it is needed for a patient's care.


The current enterprise imaging environment has escalated demand for a scalable archive environment, robust imaging application architecture, and the ability to access image studies base on a patient-centred view of data. Further, imaging itself has moved far beyond the domain of radiology, becoming pervasive across the entire health care industry. Up until now, however, health care-delivery organisations have been challenged to fully integrate emerging technologies with their diverse, existing systems to improve patient care. IBM's HIIG framework answers that challenge.

HIIG is a services-oriented solution built on open standards and interoperable services that provide health care organisations with integrated tools as well as a roadmap for the development of enterprise-wide image enabled medical archives. HIIG provides clients with the ability to achieve this goal in today's heterogeneous health care environment. HIIG is built on IBM's unique, award-winning, virtualized and automated Grid Medical Archive Solution (GMAS) used to protect and share critical medical and research data.

"IBM is accomplishing an industry first by offering the most advanced interoperable framework for health care systems with the IBM Healthcare Information and Image Grid. This award winning solution will enable an integrated view of patient documents and images across the enterprise to be accessed in real time at the point of care", stated Dan Pelino, General Manager for IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences. "Through the HIIG, IBM is committed to offering the right tools, solutions and services to transform health care systems and create more value-focused health care."

IBM has also introduced new software features for the IBM Grid Medical Archive Solution (GMAS), a high performance, Grid-based storage solution. Its new software component, GAM 2.1 will now support applications in digital pathology, mass spectrometry and high throughput screening that require ultimate performance and very reliable NAS storage.

GAM was invented to manage and store huge amounts of archive data, such as CT scans and mammograms, which are generally written only once and rarely updated but must be frequently accessed. However, many health care and research applications also produce vast amounts of transactional data which needs to be captured, analysed, shared, be actively written, re-written and modified before it is archived or deleted. The new GAM 2.1 Distributed Gateway feature adds scalable NAS capability to GMAS for transactional and research data, enabling exceptional performance and support for up to 1 billion objects.

This Distributed Gateway also acts as a traditional GMAS gateway that can be used to archive and protect data for life across any storage tier and location. As a result, medical and research facilities can leverage GMAS for both research and transactional as well as reference data while eliminating the complexity, hassle and cost of managing multiple solutions. The GAM v2.1 Distributed Control Node also adds more advanced control node software replication features to improve image access and network performance while still enabling universal data access from any location.

New GAM 2.1 now supports IBM Blade Center and IBM System Storage N series, continuing the GMAS track record of lowering long term total cost of ownership. Clients can see a 100 percent increase in storage density, a reduction of up to 30 percent in hardware costs and 35 percent savings in power and cooling. New VMWARE ESX support also allows clients to see up to a 6 to 1 compression of Gateways at the data centre. IBM GMAS adds iSCSI support with IBM N series storage.

"IBM GMAS with GAM v.2.1 directly addresses our health care, life sciences and research client's requirements for a single solution that can handle both scalable NAS and long term reference data archive requirements across the enterprise, all while lowering IT costs. This combination of unique benefits we believe is unmatched in the industry today", stated Hugh Rivers, Business Line Executive, Healthcare and Life Sciences Solutions, IBM Systems and Technology Group.

Among the clinical and IT benefits offered by IBM GMAS are:

  • Support for both transactional and reference data
  • Improved application uptime and reliability
  • Pro-active data protection for life with real time failover and synchronization
  • Petabyte scalability and improved enterprise storage utilization
  • Multi-site, multi-application and multi-tier operation
  • Decreased Total Cost of Ownership through automation and virtualization

IBM GMAS is an integrated solution based on System Storage Grid Access Manager, IBM Modular Servers, IBM System Storage and IBM GTS and Business Partner Services. IBM GMAS as such provides flexibility for New York University Medical Center (NYU). NYU Langone Medical Center, one of the world's premier academic medical institutions for more than 167 years, needed to address the exponential growth of its fixed content data. The Center implemented GMAS for its data protection features and continuous operation, virtualization and automated administration capabilities.

"GMAS provides a more sophisticated and flexible solution for our growing needs which has reduced our administrative and operational costs significantly", stated Chris Petillo, Senior Director Ancillary Systems at NYU's Langone Medical Center. "IBM GMAS is an enterprise wide 'virtualized' storage platform that optimizes storage usage across all applications, sites and storage tiers. We are very pleased with IBM's implementation of this solution and with their continued commitment to provide us with the newest technologies available."

NYU's GMAS solution, which has an initial capacity of 120 Terabytes, was installed in fewer than 6 weeks and currently stores images from Siemens Medical Radiology Applications and is expected to expand to other medical disciplines in the future. New features are generally available on December 12, 2008. The Distributed Gateway will be available in the second quarter of 2009. More news on IBM's GMAS can be found in the VMW March 2008 article Regional health care provider standardizes on Bycast storage software as part of IBM's Grid Medical Archive Solution.

Source: IBM

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