We recently sat down with Frank Scafidi, Vice President of Information Systems and CIO of the Georgetown Hospital System based in Georgetown, South Carolina to discuss optimizing data centers. Frank and his 32-person team are responsible for implementing and managing information technology throughout the hospital system, which includes two hospitals, medical offices, a health and fitness center, a cancer treatment center, an advanced imaging center, a wound healing center, and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation.

When asked which industry trends are currently having the biggest impact on hospital data centers, Frank immediately mentioned data management as fast becoming a huge part of his organization’s primary technology needs.With the adoption of EMR and the amounts of data we’re now collecting, we have to make sure we have enough storage and have a strategy for how we’re going to manage this data. That means solutions such as virtualization and cloud computing are playing more important roles,” he said.

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Frank is using virtualization to improve the efficiency of the data center. By tapping VMware, Frank’s hospital system has been able to consolidate a number of physical hardware components onto single servers, where they run on a ratio of approximately 3:1 virtual to physical servers. This consolidation saves substantial resources, particularly utility costs. Frank also spoke to the role cloud computing plays in his system, explaining that there are both pros and cons to using applications that run only in the cloud and not in a data center. He noted that the benefits of cloud computing — such as saving on hardware — don’t necessary outweigh the security problems, where unauthorized access is a huge concern.

Frank laid out a few important measures he takes to help maintain security. Security is definitely a moving target. We have typical firewalls, we use intrusion detection software to constantly monitor who is trying to get access, and we encrypt all data that moves around. We have protocols in place where we don’t allow people to plug into our network unless we scan their machines first.” He said his team aims to add new security advances annually to ensure safeguards are maintained.

Frank gave us six key steps, based on his experience, to optimize data center performance:

  1. Leverage virtualization
  2. Stay ahead of your memory and storage requirements
  3. Have solid procedures in place to handle any kind of data center issue, from losing power to getting a leak
  4. Test your backup and restore systems frequently
  5. Evaluate and upgrade your security annually
  6. Hire great staff

Read the full discussion we had with Frank, including more details on how he manages a rapidly growing volume of data and optimizes data center performance.

Learn more about CDW Healthcare’s patient data management solutions.

 

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