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High Availability and Unified Data Management in a High-Demand Environment

April 15, 2013
by Mark Hagland
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Rick Haverty of the University of Rochester Medical Center offers his perspectives on the results of a recent survey

In a survey whose results were released on March 4, HIMSS Media, a division of the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), polled 416 healthcare professionals on major IT strategic issues facing patient care organizations right now. The survey was commissioned by the Oceanport, N.J.-based CommVault. It found that the rapid implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) and picture archiving and communications systems (PACS) was most strongly driving the growth in data-access demands in U.S. patient care organizations.

The rapid universalization of EHRs and PACS, combined with the widespread adoption of mobile devices by physicians and clinicians for use in patient care delivery, are creating new data management and security challenges, the survey found. Indeed, nearly 61 percent of those healthcare leaders surveyed cited a concern about managing, protecting, and securing unstructured protected health information (PHI), such as e-mails, stored on laptops, tablets, and smartphones within patient care environments.

Asked whether they had a solution in place to support eDiscovery (the initial process of providing a court with electronic records during a legal case) or an enterprise search solution to support regulatory compliance around HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), only 26 percent reported having such a solution in place, a sign of compliance risk exposure.  Survey respondents included CIOs, IT managers and directors, clinical informaticists, CEOs, CFOs, and other healthcare leaders.

Shortly after the release of the survey results in March, HCI Editor-in-Chief Mark Hagland spoke with Rick Haverty, director of infrastructure at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center (URMC) regarding some of the survey’s results, and his interpretation of those results. URMC—which encompasses three hospitals, Strong Memorial, a 900-bed teaching hospital, as well as two community hospitals, the 250-bed Highland Hospital and the 120-bed F.F. Thompson Hospital (an affiliated facility), plus approximately 170 outpatient care sites—is using CommVault’s unified data management solution to accelerate critical backups of large amounts of data and to support compliance. Below are excerpts from that interview.

Let’s talk about some of the elements in the landscape that are motivating broader data management strategies right now. The meaningful use process under the HITECH (Health Information Technology for economic and Clinical Health) Act, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), are both setting the pace for change, are they not?

Yes, but also changes within the healthcare system in general. For instance, we’re moving towards becoming an accountable care organization, which means that historical data is becoming more important to us in terms of our ability to support accountable care.

Rick Haverty

Which parts of your overall organization are moving towards accountable care first?

The medical faculty group will lead the way, but the entire three-hospital organization will be moving in that direction.

So, generally speaking moving towards accountable care has been a driving factor?

Right. And meaningful use, too, is a driving factor. We moved from an old Siemens EMR to an Epic, HIMSS level 7 EMR. And we have about 170 ambulatory care sites, with the hospital and ambulatory care sites on Epic, except for the smaller affiliated hospital, which is still on McKesson, but which will migrate over to Epic in the next couple of years. We’ve attested to Stage 1 of meaningful use, last year. Our investment in our EHR [electronic health record] has been $80 million.

What have been your top infrastructure investments in the past year?

Our top one has been the EHR, absolutely. A close second is our new PACS system and VNA [vendor-neutral archive]. The VNA went live last fall, and the new PACS is going live in May. It takes a while for the migration; it will take 18 months for all the PACS data to migrate to the new system.

Which vendors are providing those systems for your organization?

The back-end software for our VNA is from Accuo; we’re migrating to a new PACS system, from Philips.

What are the most pressing demands on you and your team right now?