Revving EHR engines with Flash I/O
February 16, 2015 in Medical Technology
When clinicians complain about their EHR’s performance, long wait times are usually at the top of the list. Is it reasonable to expect that an EHR can deliver X-rays to a doctor as fast as an iPad opens its Photo library?
It can be, thanks to dropping Flash memory prices.
The almost instantaneous speed of Flash storage can go a long way toward making clinicians happy. But a Flash disk array won’t be cost-competitive with the price of disk storage deployed within a conventional data architecture.
Indeed, a smart virtualization strategy can fuel speed and price — and it doesn’t hurt to run it in a cloud.
“Hospitals need a way to burst large data files and do the authentication in real time. Disk drives are file, save and share. You take one of these medical documents and it’s too big to go through the email pipes,” said EMC CTO David Dimond. “That’s why you go through the hybrid cloud environment. The foundation layer is software-defined.” As in software-defined architecture, aka SDA, which consultancies such as IDC and Gartner consider to be the next-generation of datacenter evolution.
At HIMSS15 EMC plans to show an architecture that promises such performance and cost benefits: its Enterprise Hybrid Cloud. And while the storage giant has thus far worked at sites where Cerner’s electronic health record system is deployed to reduce latency with EMC’s VMware virtualization technologies, the company also expects to discuss plans to work with other EHR platforms.
“The hybrid cloud has been an elusive goal for CIOs,” said Andrew Fenselau, senior director of product and solutions marketing for EMC. “They want the consolidation and they want the bursting storage.”
The demands of a hospital can be quite different than other enterprises that are supporting e-commerce or general business operation, which is why Fenselau said that EMC has been laying the groundwork to tune its product roster specifically for healthcare.
“An EMR has a very high level of service,” Fenselau said, noting that the industry has found it hard to bring that level of uptime into cloud environments because, among other challenges, different uses of data require different approaches. “How you push the data out to the nurse station is a different challenge from how you push it to the ER. Each has its own bottlenecks.”
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