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8/30/2012
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Paul Cerrato
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Top 10 Healthcare IT Innovators For 2012

Among 10 IT teams transforming parts of the U.S. healthcare system, you'll find important lessons in innovation and persistence.
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In June 2011, Kindred Healthcare CIO Rick Chapman was asked to lead the Integration Project Management Office for a large acquisition. He also was asked: "Can your IT department absorb three outsourced data centers and transition 400 servers, convert 22,000 users in more than 1,600 locations to Kindred's IT services, transition more than 75 websites to a central support center, replicate 75 terabytes of data, and realize annual IT operational expense savings of $1,000,000+ per year as a result?"

The team accomplished the IT goals in only three months.

Kindred Healthcare, located in Louisville, Ky., recently acquired RehabCare Group--a provider of rehabilitation program management services. Part of the IT team's goal was to transition the new users to Kindred's standard systems running in Kindred's data centers using Kindred's cost-efficient IT operating model.

The IT management team used Cisco UCS hardware and network services, EMC storage products, VMware hypervisor software, Microsoft operating systems, and Citrix application delivery tools to successfully complete the following steps.

First, they leveraged the existing Citrix technology stack to extend SAP general financial, HR, and payroll standardized Kindred application services to unmodified RehabCare workstations for "day one" use and for continued use during the transition.

Second, virtualization was used to transform physical servers into virtual servers within the existing RehabCare data centers. The virtual servers were replicated over the network while still "live" and then consolidated onto standardized platforms in the Louisville data center.

Network connections were established between Louisville and the RehabCare data centers, allowing RehabCare users to have access to Kindred systems. The team left the existing network addresses in place to change as little as possible and reduce the risk of service disruption. They systematically shut down portions of the original network at the RehabCare locations as workloads were transitioned to the Louisville data center.

They also collaborated with EMC to provide storage and data replication infrastructure. Matched sets of hardware were shipped to the RehabCare data centers. The equipment was integrated into the temporary Cisco UCS virtualization infrastructure, and high-speed network connections were established between each RehabCare data center and the Louisville data center to support data replication. The virtual storage was aligned with the virtualized workloads being moved and coordinated with the requisite network changes.

Quite a feat to accomplish in three months.

Go to the 2012 InformationWeek 500 homepage

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