Viewpoint: Redefining IT for healthcare with mini data centres

Ruud Koster explains how Dell PowerEdge VRTX, a new mini data centre powered by Microsoft technology, can help healthcare organisations process more data, cut costs and subsequently deliver improved care.

Amber Stokes
Amber Stokes
By Amber Stokes on 13 January 2014
Viewpoint: Redefining IT for healthcare with mini data centres

Information technology has become an enabler for organisations to drive efficient processes and improve patient care. Because of this, IT staff are expected to become more integrated with the day-today processes in healthcare organisations. They’re required to know how to cut costs, but also how digitalisation can help drive quick answers for doctors and patients, which can ultimately help save lives.

But what if a doctor needs IT equipment to do their job in a hospital, for instance, but they’re not an IT specialist? What if IT could be simplified, without having to worry about data centre requirements, consultancy, cabling and integration of components, for instance? This could mean that the doctor can focus on their daily job, which is supported by the IT equipment, without having to worry about IT management.

Based on customer and partner feedback, Dell has developed the PowerEdge VRTX: a data centre in a box. It is a complete data centre with up to four blade servers, 48TB of storage, network switches and PCI-E slots to make connectivity as easy as possible. With Microsoft Cluster Server 2012 running on top of that, organisations can achieve high flexibility and the ability to serve patients better. The VRTX unit is also extremely quiet, which is a real differentiator, and it doesn’t have power and cooling requirements.

For example, a private radiology clinic processing up to 50,000 studies, with an average size of 100MB each, could easily run its radiology information system (RIS) and picture archive communication system (PACS) environment on one single VRTX and store and archive all its medical images and corresponding reports on the same platform. There would be no need for an external storage area network that typically comes with a PACS system and no need for an extensive IT organisation to manage the installed converged infrastructure.

According to Ishai Tal, head of platform at Carestream, a global leader in medical imaging IT: “I have worked in the IT industry for over ten years and this is the first time that I have seen a solution for the medical IT that consolidates servers (blades), storage and networking into one single chassis. It’s a revolutionary product and one that will change the way that small/medium hospitals and other healthcare organisations with a number of branches manage their IT infrastructure.

“As a provider of healthcare information system technology, Dell’s PowerEdge VRTX could set Carestream apart from others in the industry as we are able to provide our customers with exactly what they want and need – a consolidated, simplified infrastructure that can be managed by just one person (rather than separate storage and server administrators) from a centralised console. Our smaller RIS and PACS clients no longer need to purchase separate storage and servers, but can instead opt for a more cost-effective solution that still offers the level of performance and storage capacity that they require.”

So the next step in IT is available now. Healthcare professionals can deliver improved patient satisfaction while still keeping their costs low.

Ruud Koster is enterprise portfolio business manager at Dell. This article was first published in the Winter 2013 issue of Touch.

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