Friday 25 July 2014

3 urgent data challenges for Healthcare; driving the need for Software-defined Storage

Healthcare IT faces many challenges regarding data storage, retrieval and availability due to the critical nature of the industry.  Here are some of the most pressing:

Around the clock access
nursesFirst and foremost, is the need to make sure data is always available. Healthcare facilities and emergency rooms are always in use so there are rarely any good time windows for system maintenance or upgrades. If there is an outage, then IT has to quickly bring the data back online.  And, they can never lose data.  If data is lost or unrecoverable due to an outage, the facility has to manually re-enter the data or repeat the diagnostic procedure, which is expensive and time consuming, not to mention the negative impact on patient care.  IT is under pressure to ensure that their systems can survive an outage, whether it is due to a device or site failure.  So, a fundamental question for healthcare IT is how do they ensure their data is always available and/or recoverable in the event of a site (or device) outage?

Explosive Data Growth
datacenterIT in healthcare firms are under stress to handle the incredible growth in data.  Enhancements in color, resolution, and 3D have led to immense growth in images produced from PACS (picture archiving and communications system) to the point where each scan can consume gigabytes of data.  Medical records are being digitized and EHRs (Electronic Health Records) continue to grow.  In addition, regulations have contributed to the increase in data, with VNAs (Vendor Neutral Archives) required to store patient data for years, if not decades.  Some estimate that data at healthcare firms will grow 75% per year.  IT has the challenge of being able to keep up with this demand by freeing up more capacity from existing storage systems, adding capacity quickly and migrating data as needed between storage systems without impacting data availability.  The question for healthcare IT is how do they scale capacity quickly and seamlessly, without affecting availability?

Immediate Response Time
performanceFast data retrieval is also extremely important.  Lots of applications in a healthcare organization utilize a storage system to store data. As IT tries to scale applications due to increased demand, they find the performance of applications often fall below users’ expectations, leading to complaints.  After root cause analysis, IT typically finds that the storage system is causing  bottleneck.  Server and networks have grown dramatically in performance, but storage systems haven’t kept up.  Getting more performance from storage then becomes yet another challenge for IT departments in healthcare firms.  IT has to answer the question of how do they accelerate their applications by improving the speed of storage?

Overlaying all of these challenges is the fact that healthcare is a cost-constrained industry.  IT departments in healthcare firms do not have all the funding needed to meet these challenges.

But, unlike other industries, healthcare has greater expectations and lower tolerance for errors.  This is true for the providers of care as well as the IT department.  So, IT in a healthcare firm must explore innovative solutions that address these data challenges within the budget they do have.

This is where DataCore comes in.  Check out our Healthcare Solutions to learn how healthcare firms have addressed their data challenges with cost-effective solutions from  DataCore.

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