Jan 12 2018

Prime Healthcare System Bolsters Hospital IT And Storage Systems Across 45 Locations

A new backup and recovery system from Commvault simplified security and encryption while slashing costs.

When Erik Milham joined Prime Healthcare’s IT team four years ago, the healthcare system’s CIO warned him that the system was growing — and grow it has. Since then, the hospital system has expanded to include 45 hospitals and 300 clinics with more than 40,000 employees, each of which was an acquisition of a previously struggling healthcare organization.

With the majority of the new acquisitions experiencing financial issues, Milham, the senior director of enterprise IT operations and infrastructure for Prime Healthcare, noted that alongside the myriad IT systems acquired with each hospital came the added burden of legacy systems and neglected backups.

“When we acquire the hospital, we try to turn them around as quickly as possible, but a lot of the time we find that the hospital systems have neglected their backups or lagged in renewing backup systems. They are often struggling both in their IT environment as well as the hospital as a whole,” says Milham.

To remedy this, and get all hospital systems back on track and on the same page, Prime Healthcare needed not just an enterprise-friendly backup and recovery system, but one that they could quickly deploy with each new acquisition.

They turned to Commvault software, which has allowed them to simplify data management, automate much of the backup process and keep up with the hospital system’s rapid expansion.

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Prime Healthcare System Bolsters Hospital IT And Storage Systems Across 45 Locations

So how does the new software allow the IT system to quickly and efficiently roll out new data management platforms with each acquisition? It has done so by implementing a “cookie cutter” approach to its IT environment, Milham says.

“This means we can replicate our IT infrastructure as we acquire each new hospital. It consists of a standard set of hardware, which we would tailor to the volume of data they are backing up, and then we can palletize it, deliver it to the hospital where they can essentially plug it in and we can be up and running in a very short period of time,” says Milham.

This type of setup also allowed the IT team to roll out the system quickly across all hospitals once it began using the software 2 1/2 years ago.

“The transition was quite a feat in itself. We had a very short time period to deploy it,” says Milham. But once the IT team had set up the architectures, it was able to palletize the storage, compute and software, send it off to all hospitals in the system, who could each deploy it in about a week. “We were able to deploy the system at a rate of 10-15 hospitals per week, which meant we could get our entire hospital system up and running and backed up to the hospital system within a month,” Milham adds.

Standardized Software Maximizes Backup Storage, Cuts Costs

Standardizing the software across all healthcare organizations in the network offered Prime Healthcare cost savings alongside security and compliance benefits.

“We had a disparate backup system and nothing that was common across all the hospitals. We deal with not only Epic electronic health records, but also Meditech EHRs,” says Milham. “We’re able to back up both of these EHR systems with Commvault, which allows us to save money by replacing more expensive options with a single support contract and system.”

Moreover, with everything on one system, Prime Healthcare is able to maximize storage for its 413 terabytes of data, an important feat for the system, which often acquires hospitals with decades of data.

“When you’re looking at a large enterprise, you’re looking at 45 hospitals that, most likely, are going to contain somewhat similar data. Commvault is able to identify common software or hash match applications or items within that backup space, deduplicate it and send it up to our data centers for storage, which saves us a significant amount of drive or backup space,” says Milham.

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