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How to Select the Right Healthcare Data Storage Option

Organizations need to consider their future data needs when planning their healthcare data storage infrastructure.

healthcare data storageOrganiz

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Organizations seeking to bring in new technology to enhance both patient and clinician experiences need to consider their healthcare data storage solutions in order for these tools to be successful. From EHRs to imaging solutions, the amount of data produced by healthcare organizations is massive and will keep growing rapidly in the years to come.

Understanding and building a solid health IT infrastructure storage foundation is critical to deploying different digital tools so those tools work the way they need to, and can scale to accommodate more data and solutions in the future.

Organizations first need to understand how their IT infrastructure is going to work. How is data going to be stored? What kind of data is going to be stored and where will it be stored? How will the storage solution scale to meet growing data demands?

Each of these scenarios needs to be planned for organizations to fully embrace a modern infrastructure.

Determining storage methods is the first step to ensuring all the data produced has a place to live and that organizations can sale out their storage infrastructure to meet future demands.

Considering cloud storage for certain parts of IT infrastructure is essential to scalability. Even if an organization does not plan on storing the bulk of its data in the cloud, the cloud is still useful for office applications, like email and a testing environment for new applications and digital tools.

Organizations have the option of using several different cloud models. Any combination of public or private cloud storage can be used, depending on an organization’s budget or its preference.

As organizations adopt mobile applications, storing clinical data in the cloud gives users more complete access.

Cloud data storage also saves organizations money by allowing them to purchase more storage space as needed, rather than investing in additional on-premise servers.

“Connectivity should easily ‘scale up,’ as more applications are moved to the cloud or more compute cycles are accessed for analytics,” according to a HIMSS survey.

Healthcare organizations are demanding more storage space for big data analytics and the volume of unstructured data needing to be stored for analytics initiatives.

The future of the healthcare cloud is trending upward as analysts indicate that cloud is becoming the preferred choice for healthcare back-office applications, backup and disaster recovery, revenue cycle management and patient engagement.

Cost savings, scalability, speed, freed up internal storage, a mobilized workforce, and improved user applications are also advantages of the cloud.

Many organizations choose to migrate their applications to the cloud because applications are often the most regularly used digital tools.

Cloud-based applications give IT departments relief because they provide access to software development kits (SDKs) and other infrastructure tools that may not be available in the current IT infrastructure. Cloud-based apps also give organizations easy access to updates, which is especially important for healthcare security purposes.

Migrating applications to the cloud also gives entities the option to scale the app up while using tools provided by the cloud vendor.

While organizations are moving to the cloud, this does not eliminate the need for on-premises servers. Organizations can look into more advanced servers to make the most out their physical space. Servers can be expensive to power and maintain, so rack servers and flash-based array should be considered because they cut back on resources.

Rack servers are more scalable than dedicated tower servers because they contain racks where more hardware can be placed. Rack servers also don’t take up as much space or require the same cooling energy costs, which makes them ideal for smaller organizations that want to host their datacenter on premise but don’t have much space or resources.

Many rack servers use flashed-based array, which brings down operating costs even more because of how they’re built. Flash-based arrays use solid-state drives (SSD), meaning they do not have fans or get as hot as traditional datacenter hardware. This also helps bring down maintenance costs significantly.

As healthcare organizations continue to embrace advanced health IT infrastructure technology, the volume of data collected and stored will increase accordingly.

Organizations need to ensure their data is stored securely and is accessible. Clinicians must also have access to data where and when they need it for a successful data storage option. 

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