Morgan Oats - 29 February 2020

Protecting the availability of your IT storage is vital for performance, but it can also be critical for life. No one knows this better than the infrastructure department of major healthcare providers. Application slowdowns or outages in Electronic Health Record (EHR) Systems or Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Systems – such as Epic, Meditech, or Cerner – can risk patient care, open hospitals up for lawsuits, and cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Nobody working in IT infrastructure performance in any industry wants to get a call about a Storage or SAN service outage, but even minor service disruptions can halt business operations until the root cause of the issue can be diagnosed and resolved. This kind of time cannot always be spared in the ‘life and death’ environment of the users of EHR or EMR systems in healthcare providers.

Storage “Glitches” Can Lead to Major EHR Outages

One need only make a quick glance through the healthcare industry press to see articles on critical EHR outages caused by issues in IT Storage infrastructure. High profile storage related outage incidents are increasingly making it into the news, such as, “Allina Health Recovers From System-Wide Stint of EHR Downtime”, “HCA Says Storage Glitch Behind EMR Outage” and “$1B EHR goes black”.

In these types of cases, poor storage system performance limited staff’s ability to use the EHR, and in others the EHR system had to be entirely shut down. Where there were instances of an outage, the hospital staff had to go back to writing on paper patient charts – often missing critical patient information and lab data access.

EHR Outages “Relatively Common Occurrence in Healthcare”

According to a 2014 study led by Dean Sittig, PhD, a professor at the University of Texas Health’s School of Biomedical Informatics nearly all (96 percent) of the 50 large, integrated institutions surveyed experienced at least one unplanned system downtime in the past three years.

And Dr. Sittig says, “A big hospital probably loses at least $1 million per hour when they’re down.”

Another 2014 report from the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General says nearly 60 percent of hospitals have experienced an EHR outage, with 25 percent of those leading to delayed patient care.

This is the kind of outage that no IT storage department wants to have happen to them. The good news is that most types of Storage and SAN disruptions can be prevented with Availability Intelligence.

Protect Epic EHR Data Systems with Availability Intelligence

Availability is critical for your business applications. Yet, the systems and storage infrastructure that your applications depend on are still causing expensive service disruptions.

To manage your storage infrastructure effectively, you need to know both your workloads and your hardware inside out. This is especially true for a demanding workload such as Epic which is known to put stress on storage systems.

Only by comparing your specific workloads to the capabilities of all the components within your storage infrastructure can you have a proper understanding of what goes on inside.

This modernized, intelligent interpretation detects risks before issues impact production, uncovers true root causes, and identifies optimization opportunities. This is what we call Availability Intelligence.

Regional Health Systems Best Practices

Regional Health Systems has seen the benefits of having Availability Intelligence to stay ahead of performance issues in their critical applications:

“The IntelliMagic Vision dashboards have been extremely valuable in seeing performance issues,” says Clint Oyler, Senior Systems Engineer at Regional Health. “We resolved SAN problems by using the drilldowns on charts for issues that IntelliMagic Vision has made us aware of. With IntelliMagic Vision, it is much easier to view the environment as a single entity rather than many disjointed parts. Having a single source to look at makes it easier to identify potential problems.” 

Enterprise Level Storage System Best Practices

When Stuart Plotkin identified best practices for enterprise level storage systems, he detailed what it would take to establish industry best practices.

  1. He indicated that the first steps required identifying key performance metrics that were accurately labeled and rated, so when a metric shows “critical” it truly is critical.
  2. Once meaningful metrics have been established, they needed to be trended across all storage systems and thresholds created to show what level of metric utilization would be good or bad.
  3. Finally, he realized all of this would still not help prevent outages if proactive automated notifications were not set up.

Fortunately, IntelliMagic Vision is a solution that brings you just that; maintaining stable, high-performing systems is a business imperative, and in the case of hospitals, keeping your storage system running at 100% is required not only to achieve business success, but to ensure patient welfare.

The many years of solid expert knowledge and experience that have been incorporated into IntelliMagic’s solutions arm you with the performance intelligence to ensure there are no “epic” EHR storage related outages on your watch.

Explore our resources to discover new ideas, watch the video below to learn how you can prevent disruptions, or start a trial today to see IntelliMagic Vision work in your environment.

Start a Trial Today

IntelliMagic solutions will help you get early warnings about risks that could develop into serious availability issues, so that you can spend time on strategic infrastructure management instead of on fighting fires. Start a Trial today to see IntelliMagic Vision at work today in your environment.

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Morgan Oats
Marketing Manager
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