Preparing for Big Data in Healthcare

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Preparing for Big Data in Healthcare

Gwinnett Medical Center’s secure private cloud is a big step toward gaining more value from rising data volumes

Massive data sets are nothing new in healthcare. They’ve been growing rapidly since hospitals started down the path of electronic health records (EHRs). What’s changing is the increasing variety of data types we’re capturing, particularly unstructured data types. Several factors are driving this change, including the growth in digital medical devices and the increased use of automated data collection for everything from vital signs on up.

At Gwinnett Medical Center, our goal is to capture and store virtually everything that happens within the hospital: medical images, document images, dictation, sleep studies, and the many types of discrete data about patients. We want to tie all that data into the EHR, organize it, and analyze it in real time so the treatment teams get the full value. We’re just at the start of that journey, but we can see already that the processing power and capacity to analyze, store, and archive that data will be a big source of pressure on the healthcare data center.

Gwinnett Medical Center has followed a strategy that puts us in a good position to handle this pressure. Starting about five generations back, we standardized our data center on Intel® Xeon® processors and have brought in new generations as they’ve become available. We virtualized our server and storage platforms and are driving toward a fully virtualized solution stack.

This combination of standardizing and virtualizing lets us optimize our available floor space and power and gives us the performance and capacity to keep up with the data growth. It also provides a foundation for our private cloud, which helps us respond to the business and manage the rapid rate of change that all medical centers are experiencing.

Read the full Preparing for Big Data in Healthcare Study.