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IBM Storage Supports Hospital's Move To Digital Health Records

New IBM system at St. Joseph's stores more than 2 terabytes of patient data.

St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center, a 431-bed facility in Syracuse, N.Y., has implemented a storage infrastructure based on the IBM TotalStorage line of servers, including the DS4100, DS4300, and ESS800 systems. St. Joseph's also installed an IBM eServer p630 system to run IBM's Tivoli Storage Manager, IBM's backup and recovery software.

The IBM system is used to store more than 2 terabytes of patient data and expands storage capacity by a factor of five compared with the facility's previous system from EMC Corp.

The storage infrastructure is part of a five-year technology plan to automate diagnostic procedures and digitize patient records for quick access. The IBM platform supports 11 new applications, including a Picture Archiving and Communications System, which is scheduled to go live next month, says Chris Ryan, manager of IT at St. Joseph's. PACS will eliminate the use of film in diagnostic procedures such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

"We're looking at a growth rate of 10 terabytes of storage per year from the PACS system alone," Ryan says. An electronic patient records system is scheduled to go live in July.

According to a study released last week by Rand Corp., the American health-care system could save more than $81 billion annually if it broadly adopted computerized medical record systems. Only about 20% to 25% of hospitals and 15% to 20% of physicians' offices have adopted such systems, and those systems are generally limited in their ability to share information with other health-care providers. The study says it would cost U.S. hospitals about $98 billion and physicians about $17 billion to install such electronic medical record systems--an average of $7.7 billion per year over a 15-year adoption period.

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