For healthcare providers, an infrastructure performance prognosis

By Lee Jiles, Strategic Alliances –

Hospitals, physicians’ offices and other healthcare organizations depend on instant access to up-to-date data. Industry regulations require that patient records be accessible all the time, but data access is about more than just compliance; it’s about delivering quality care. For this reason, the struggle healthcare IT managers face in maintaining positive availability and performance prognoses is particularly critical.

The strain on healthcare IT infrastructure is a symptom of other changes in the industry. Organizations are moving from paper records to electronic ones, and IT has to manage and store far more data, while also making it easily accessible. Some experts predict the healthcare industry will be responsible for amounts of data in the zettabyte range in the near future. The healthcare applications that enable them to do that are inherently I/O intensive, but because the storage area network (SAN) component wasn’t designed with monitoring in mind, IT leaders have limited visibility into SAN I/O performance. In their physical and virtual environments, IT managers are fighting to get a handle on what causes poor application response times. Their success or failure is literally a life or death scenario, since the outcomes affect healthcare providers’ ability to retrieve X-rays, deliver test results, determine treatment and more.

Infrastructure performance monitoring (IPM) cures many of the ills facing IT healthcare providers. Among the healing powers of IPM are these:

  1. IPM identifies and addresses infrastructure problems before they fester.
  2. IPM eliminates the risk of unplanned outages and performance slow downs that can plague healthcare systems as they move to virtualized environments.
  3. IPM ensures faster, more reliable access to medical records through improved application performance.
  4. IPM helps IT prove the organization’s compliance with HIPAA and other regulations.
  5. IPM enables IT to optimize SAN, server and storage port utilization, thereby avoiding expensive, unnecessary purchases.

With so many shifting demands on their systems, the advantage of avoiding further expense is a significant one for healthcare IT pros. We’ve seen customers divert these savings to fund strategic initiatives that move their organizations forward, and they’ve reduced their trouble tickets by as much as 80 percent. All of those operating expense savings go back to patient care initiatives, making IPM a powerful prescription for any healthcare organization.