In the current scenario, the healthcare industry is witnessing imminent problems arising due to the data crisis. Making the right and accurate decisions, getting real-time data insights, and complying to patients needs have become imperative for hospitals to survive in this competitive era. Here is one such organisation that overcame this problem right.
With operating a chain of more than 20 hospitals across the country, Cloudnine Hospitals aims at delivering maternity and neonatal care to hundreds of patients on a daily basis, and having a reliable model to handle the vast amount of data is of vital importance. The network of Cloudnine Hospitals is required to store enormous volume of patient data which is generated on a daily basis on an online archive, and therefore It became very crucial for the hospital to get complacent about data in order to provide a better service to its customers.
When asked, Jitendra Shrivastava, senior manager IT at Cloudnine Hospitals’ explains, how their organisation was growing at a rapid pace and how the data generated was acting both as a challenge as well as an opportunity.
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Shrivastava recalls “We were growing very rapidly. In 2006, we were just with one hospital, but by the end of 2016, we were with 10 or 12. We also never thought the data would grow at such speed, and that’s why we had to put a stopgap in order to find a new technology to manage it.”
“As a maternity service provider, we had the mandate of the government to preserve the patient data for approximately a period of 7-21 years, which indeed raised the concern of how to preserve such a huge volume of data generated on a daily basis, in the form of scans, x-rays, lab reports, etc.,” he explained.
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Now that the problem was detected by the hospital, another serious concern had arisen, that was of the selection of the right technology to mend the problem.
Cloudnine realised the importance of the right technology in order to have any sort of benefits. Unless the technology is readily available to the ground staff as well as doctors, the implementation would not add value to the business. Being a maternity hospital dealing with newborns and life-and-death situations, having data on the fingertips without any nanosecond lag for doctors, along with on-the-fly access of resources to the ground staff was on top priority while selecting a solution.
Since it was mandated by the government to restore patients’ records for a long period of time, Cloudnine wanted to build an infrastructure with heavy storage space, in order to store the enormous volume of data generated every day. However, such a massive upfront investment required to build the facility had become a significant challenge for the hospital.
With the nature of operations and the expansion plan of the hospital, another concern that came in the limelight was the scalability issue. Cloudnine has been constantly looking to expand to new locations and being a healthcare service provider, it did not want to invest heavily in internal IT resources. Rather, Cloudnine was looking for a third-party IT solution as a catalyst to help the hospital improve its service delivery.
Cloudnine was looking for a robust and scalable storage solution that does not consume huge resources. And, after approaching a number of vendors in the market, Cloudnine realised that most of the solutions available in the market require a huge upfront investment of several thousand dollars, which definitely wasn’t the right option for the hospital.
Cloudnine then managed to find exactly the right answer with Hitachi Vantara and its IT partner, NxtGen.
Explaining the process, Shrivastava said, “Initially we explored several traditional NAS or SAN storage options available in the market, but none of the OEMs was able to provide a solution correctly matching our requirements. And, that’s when we found the solution offered by Hitachi and NxtGen the best, as it offered a flexible architecture with almost zero capital investment. Perfect for us.”
He further added, “NxtGen, our IT partner, has already been delivering cloud solutions to us since a long time, and therefore the choice was logical for us. Together, Hitachi Vantara and NxtGen have now been offering a highly scalable cloud storage platform with no upfront investments.”
Hitachi and NxtGen proposed a core and edge model with HCP in NxtGen data centre at the core and all the 20 hospitals at the edge, which ended up having the requirement of minimal hardware investment. “All we needed was a small server that goes into a standard rack at each centre,” explained Shrivastava.
When asked Sanjay Agarwal, Technology Head at Hitachi Vantara about the solution, he explained, “The solution set provided to Cloudnine included Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) with NxtGen Data Protection as a Service, along with Hitachi Data Ingestor (HDI) which acted as a local caching device.”
Cloudnine agreed with the OPEX model without spending any unnecessary money. The model was then streamlined in such a seamless way that the organisation could enjoy the service as a monthly-package for three years and thereafter, assume ownership exclusively.
Agarwal further explained, “The centralised storage provided by HCP not only reduced the data management complexity but also allowed efficient local data access. The HDIs installed at each of the branches of Cloudnine allowed convenient local storage without utilising much of the internal resources. The hospital is also benefitted from the cloud management service that covers round-the-clock security and software upgrades.’’
On the first phase, the migration started out with nine hospitals, which was later expanded to five more, as the solution started to develop its roots and the hospital staff started to get used to the change. Today, Cloudnine is aiming to progressively migrate the data to its other hospitals as well to get benefitted.
With HCP on NxtGen, Cloudnine was able to build an OPEX-based storage infrastructure that eliminated the CAPEX associated with building an in-house storage system. Also, since the data centre, networks and other aspects of the cloud services are managed by a third party, in this case, the OEM, the Cloudnine didn’t require any internal resources to handle or manage them.
With the solution, the hospital staff started enjoying easy and in-depth access to data for providing greater service to expectant mothers. The patient-records were also secured and capped well for compliance requirements on retention and preservation. Cloudnine was able to be benefitted with all such capabilities in the most scalable way and also at a reduced cost. The scalable architecture was aimed at supporting the hospital’s future expansion goals without incurring any additional expenditure.
Explaining that, Shrivastava said, “We had two options to choose from — the CAPEX and OPEX (operating expenditure) model. And, we chose the OPEX model wherein we don’t have to spend anything on day one, and for three years, we would receive the service delivered, as a monthly package, and after three years we will become the exclusive owners.”
Post the implementation of the solution, the monthly billing model ensured that Cloudnine is only charged for resources that have been utilised during the month. And, the future-ready infrastructure thus paved the way for resource optimisation and cost savings.
The solution not only improved the service delivery but also eliminated process delays due to poor management of records. “To safeguard entire journey of expecting mothers, Hitachi Vantara and NxtGen offered a secure, private cloud, in which all of our patient records are kept private,” said Shrivastava.
“With the solution, Cloudnine was able to archive all our files with 20% compression, which is the industry-best practice to follow. And, even after the compression, we are able to deliver the reports to doctors with the same ratio and pixel quality,” concludes Shrivastava.