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9/29/2009
10:57 AM
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Diagnosing IT Problems In Healthcare

The ability to quickly trouble-shoot network and other IT infrastructure problems escalates as a top priority as healthcare providers replace paper patient records with electronic ones. It's bad enough when billing systems are down, but a hitch with a server running clinical systems could translate to delays in care if doctors can't access patients' medical records.

The ability to quickly trouble-shoot network and other IT infrastructure problems escalates as a top priority as healthcare providers replace paper patient records with electronic ones. It's bad enough when billing systems are down, but a hitch with a server running clinical systems could translate to delays in care if doctors can't access patients' medical records.At the Jewish Home San Francisco, a non-profit organization providing residential skilled-nursing, rehab and other healthcare services to more than 420 elderly patients in the Silicon Valley region, the ability of its 5-person IT team to monitor IT infrastructure performance and availability-- and quickly identify and address problems-- enhanced recently, said JHSF director of IT Richard Navarro.

Over the last several months, JHSF replaced the variety of off- the-shelf and other management utilities it had used with new infrastructure monitoring, security information management and other services from AccelOps, which provides its offering as a cloud-based, software-as-a-service.

"We had this up and running in about a week," said Navarro of the switch-over. "We run a 24-by-7 environment, and unlike most businesses, it really is a 24-by-7 environment, because in healthcare, people's lives depend on it at all times," he said. JHSF is in the process of rolling out an e-medical record system, which makes systems and network availability and performance even more critical.

"Like the police, we need to know where to respond when there's trouble" with the IT infrastructure supporting JHSF's 900 employees--including clinicians-- for everything ranging from e-mail to file servers, said Navarro. The services from AccelOps alerts the JHSF's IT team to problems like a down network switch or unavailable router and provides analysis of what's being affected by the trouble. "You can set up severity levels, business services for ranking of priorities" for what trouble needs to be addressed most urgently.

"If there's a problem, it can be addressed with zero downtime," he said.

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