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We Need More Storage Than Library Of Congress, CIO Says

Kaiser Permanente CIO Phil Fasano says KP's medical-imaging projects have become so massive that they exceed the storage requirements and consumption of the Library of Congress. And those requirements, he says, are still growing.
Kaiser Permanente CIO Phil Fasano says KP's medical-imaging projects have become so massive that they exceed the storage requirements and consumption of the Library of Congress. And those requirements, he says, are still growing.Among the leaders nationwide in creating robust systems for electronic health records, Kaiser Permanente is faced with the consequence of the medical-image challenge: creating, storing, and particularly moving a large and rapidly growing volume of enormous data sets. And meeting that challenge is soaking up a big chunk of Fasano's 2009 IT budget, which he indicated is about 5% larger than 2008's. Here's how Kaiser Permanente is trying to attack the problem:

"Like many large hospitals and clinics we allocate massive terabytes at this issue. We have a very substantial medical-imaging program across the organization," Fasano told WTN in a recent interview.

"We have a very, very large and substantial medical-imaging archived program that's embedded in our investment program as an organization. Like many healthcare providers, we are struggling with the fact that medical images have come on the scene as a very, very substantial consumer of storage and the growth. This area is explosive and we are experiencing like others that same growth curve of storage requirements."

Fasano said IT vendors need to come up with new compression technologies to handle the storage challenge driven by the massive increase in medical imaging.

"The challenge, I think, for everyone in the industry is going to be two-fold: one is how do we deal with the abundance of data, and then how do we push the manufacturers to find ways to compress it further and help us really achieve and support our storage needs that we are going to need in the future. Our IT organization and our data centers, currently to our knowledge, are substantially the largest in the healthcare industry," Fasano said in the WTN article.

"In fact our storage systems and requirements are larger than the Library of Congress in our storage consumption and needs, and that grows substantially year over year."