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IT energy management: A no-brainer for healthcare organizations

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  By John Scumniotales,  January 8, 2013

Partners HealthCare shows how IT departments within hospitals and healthcare facilities can save money on energy bills quickly and easily by using Verdiem software.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, hospitals are among the nation’s most energy-intensive facilities, using about 2.5 times the amount of energy and carbon emissions as commercial office buildings*. Many hospitals are doing what they can to reduce waste, but given most are funded by the public sector, money is tight so energy efficiency improvements tend to be left on the back burner. Nonetheless, energy is an expensive and essential resource for which demand is rising and supply is constrained, so healthcare organizations must take steps toward lowering energy consumption and reducing carbon emissions.

One easy way to reduce power consumption and get a quick return on investment is to start with the IT organization. IT devices typically consume more than 25 percent of an organization’s electrical power. A software solution such as Verdiem Surveyor makes reducing the energy consumption of these devices fairly painless to implement and takes only a few hours per month to maintain.

Partners HealthCare: A Verdiem case study
Partners HealthCare, a not-for-profit, integrated healthcare system and the largest private employer in the state of Massachusetts, is blazing the trail within the healthcare industry by the methods it has deployed to significantly lower IT energy consumption. With more than 60,000 employees, the sheer number of electronic devices in the organization gave its IT managers a reason to begin exploring ways to reduce energy use.

After reviewing the features of a variety of tools, the IT organization selected Verdiem Surveyor, a software solution that shows a detailed breakdown of power usage by device type, giving IT managers the ability to measure, manage and optimize their organization’s power consumption. The solution is flexible and customizable, meeting the needs of complex organizations, such as healthcare facilities that have different IT requirements across a variety of locations and devices.

“Verdiem’s Surveyor had all the functionality we were looking for – the ability to set policies centrally based on device type or location type and it offered an opt-out function, which is critical for our clinical locations that must be online 24/7,” said Manuela Stoyanov, corporate manager of Client Infrastructure Design at Partners HealthCare. “We found the ‘Wake on WAN’ feature of Surveyor to be very robust as well, giving us the ability to customize devices, by device type and location, as well as many more options appropriate for management of an enterprise.”

Deploying an IT energy management solution
Upon full deployment of Verdiem Surveyor, organizations tend to see immediate reductions in power usage, often prompting IT managers to consult with their local energy utility toward potential rebates. Partners HealthCare worked with its electric utility, NSTAR, verifying that it was indeed saving a significant amount of power. In fact, NSTAR provided Partners HealthCare with an incentive check for $181,142 after the first year of deployment to reward the organization for its significant energy savings.

Stoyanov handed the check over to executives within the company’s finance department, saying, “Not only do we get the job done, but we also give you something back!” She added, “Executives never saw anything like that. They found it unbelievable. That was very exciting for our team – to be able to give back to the company in such a tangible way.”

Seeing results
Today, Partners HealthCare manages nearly 30,000 machines using Verdiem Surveyor, saving $50 to $60 per machine per year. This translates into approximately $1,364,400 in savings every year, or 9,447,005 kilowatts.

“With this solution in place, we’re saving almost $1.5 million per year,” said Stoyanov. “We also look forward to continuing our work with Verdiem, and although we already manage more than half of our machines using Surveyor, over time we plan to deploy it on more devices.”

Offering the best care possible to its patients is the vital mission of all healthcare organizations, but in today’s world, they must do a better job caring for the environment as well. With Verdiem, organizations can do that while being more profitable and efficient.

*Dept. of Energy 2009 Press Release: http://energy.gov/articles/department-energy-announces-launch-hospital-energy-alliance-increase-energy-efficiency.

About the author
John Scumniotales is the CEO of Verdiem. He has over 20 years of experience as a business and technology innovator. Learn more at www.verdiem.com.



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