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Non-Green Hospitals Struggling with Data: Study

Ross O. Storey | May 26, 2010
Too many using short term 'non-Future proof' fixes

New global research has found that the world healthcare industry is ill-prepared and struggling with data management and storage systems.

 The research - 'Data Management Healthcheck 2010' - examined the healthcare industry's ongoing strategies for managing their IT systems. It found that the upsurge in healthcare data is already challenging many hospitals and is expected to continue to increase.

 The global survey, done by UK healthcare storage virtualization company BridgeHead Software, revealed that medical images, scanned documents, email and advances towards the Electronic Patient Record (EPR - also known as the Electronic Health Record) are taxing many hospital systems.

 Some 84 per cent of respondents said more than half their healthcare organisations' data was older than six months. Yet only 26 per cent claimed to have a full archiving capability that migrated content to the appropriate storage tiers as dictated by their pre-defined policies.

 The research also discovered that more than 44 per cent of hospitals were managing over five terabytes on a primary store. Only 12 per cent said they were managing less than one terabyte on a primary store.

 Not paying due attention

 "The evidence speaks for itself," said John McCann, Director of Marketing at BridgeHead Software. "Data volumes are increasing as the world of healthcare continues to embrace the digital age. A troubling trend we've noticed, however, is that some healthcare organisations are not paying due attention to their data management and storage solution strategies.

 "Many of the hospitals' IT infrastructures are not geared up to handle the rise in data resulting from the increased use of medical images, the continued move towards the Electronic Health Record (including historical document scanning) and the massive upsurge in office-based computing e.g. emails, spreadsheets, word processing documents.

 "Many are ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away, while others are implementing quick fixes that resolve the issue for now, but are not future-proof. As data volumes continue to grow, some organisations will find their challenges gradually become harder-not easier-to resolve."   

 McCann said that savvy healthcare IT professionals recognised that underpinning their digital environments with a robust data management and storage strategy can not only help maximise the full value of their clinical information, but can also help them save time, reduce costs, lower carbon emissions from their IT infrastructures, and, ultimately, improve patient care.

 Common storage pools

 "BridgeHead Software's Healthcare Storage Virtualization (HSV is a technology platform that decouples applications from the storage device and creates common pools of shareable storage hardware that can be accessed as needed, regardless of the application or data type," McCann said.

 "HSV is a vendor-agnostic platform that underpins the EPR, allowing healthcare organisations to take full control and ownership of their clinical data regardless of supposed obligations to other storage and imaging vendors."


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