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4 ways flash storage is changing healthcare

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4 ways flash storage is changing healthcare-Main Article Image


Organisations in all industries are investing in technology to make the most of big data – and the commitment is particularly strong in the healthcare sector.

IDC says healthcare will remain the fastest growing industry in terms of IT spending between 2016 and 2020, with an average annual growth rate of 5.7 per cent.

Effective decision making from big data depends on a great supporting infrastructure. Flash storage, which is designed to replace traditional spinning media, can play a crucial role. Healthcare organisations that commit a proportion of their IT spending to flash storage can benefit in four key ways.

1. Boosting performance

4 ways flash storage is changing healthcare-Body Text ImageTake Toronto’s Humber River Hospital in Canada, which invested heavily in the performance of its clinical applications to provide patients with the best and fastest care. Underlying IT infrastructure sometimes caused performance issues, meaning caregivers had to wait for access to patient records and hospital data.

The hospital implemented a new data centre based on Dell storage technologies to increase the performance of its mission-critical MEDITECH electronic health record (EHR) system. The upgrade increased the performance of MEDITECH and other corporate applications by almost 100 per cent.

2. Improving analysis

Not all organisations are as lucky. IDC’s recent Health Insights study suggests European healthcare providers are aware of the powerful value of their data, but that they often do not have the right data management architecture and analytical capabilities to make the most of their information.

The researcher says healthcare organisations need a comprehensive approach to their technological investments – and flash storage can play a key role. Flash storage can allow data analysis to be run in real time. Kevin Fernandes, CTO for Humber River Hospital, says the organisation now benefits from millisecond response times. The result is faster decision-making and better patient care.

3. Simplifying management

Healthcare journal PLOS Biology has forecast the amount of data generated by genomics alone will be on a par with that created by astronomical science, YouTube and Twitter by 2025. Researcher Forrester reports that healthcare CIOs are at the centre of these initiatives, yet they often struggle to build a business cases for their own programmes.

An investment in advanced storage technology can help simplify the amount of IT infrastructure that needs to be managed. Humber River Hospital can now back up its data in 45 minutes instead of six hours. Rather than worrying about technology issues, new advances – like flash and cloud storage for business – give healthcare professionals more time to spend serving patients.

4. Reducing cost

Analysts believe lower prices and performance advantages mean flash storage will be an increasingly compelling option for organisations. Such cost advantages lead researcher IDC to suggest flash shipments will outstrip traditional HDD, with solid state capacity increasing 75 per cent through 2015.

These cost benefits are already being realised at Humber River. The hospital reduced the physical footprint of its new MEDITECH storage environment from more than four racks of storage to less than half a rack of SSD drives. By reducing storage footprint, the hospital cut its data centre operating costs for power and cooling by 50 per cent. The big beneficiary of such cost savings is patient care.

Click here to find a more in-depth how to guide for flash in your enterprise.




IDC on healthcare spending: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS41699316

IDC on healthcare as one of big data pioneers: http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS41699316

Healthcare journal PLOS Biology: https://www.ft.com/content/1b614d10-9a03-11e6-8f9b-70e3cabccfae

Forrester on healthcare CIOs: https://www.forrester.com/report/Seven+Ways+Big+Data+Improves+Healthcare+Outcomes/-/E-RES117433

IDC on flash storage spending: http://searchsolidstatestorage.techtarget.com/feature/Experts-make-enterprise-flash-technology-predictions


Mark Samuels

Mark Samuels

Mark Samuels is a business journalist specialising in IT leadership issues. Formerly editor at CIO Connect and features editor of Computing, he has written for various organisations, including the Economist Intelligence Unit, Guardian Government Computing and Times Higher Education. Mark is also a contributor for CloudPro, ZDNetUK, TechRepublic, ITPro, Computer Weekly, CBR, Financial Director, Accountancy Age, Educause, Inform and CIONET. Mark has extensive experience in writing on the topic of how CIO’s use and adopt technology in business.

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