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Data Storage

In pursuit of EMR, Gastroenterology Associates of Cleveland upgrades disaster-recovery (DR) operation

EMR implementation forces look at DR options. By James Andrassy


astroenterology Associates of Cleveland sought to support its electronic medical record (EMR) efforts through virtualized storage, backup and disaster recovery (DR) with 99 percent reliability and fast, simple recovery. Other goals included shrinking the lengthy restoration time for compromised data and delivering an easy-to-use system that would not overburden the group’s modestly staffed IT department.

James Andrassy is IT manager at Gastroenterology Associates of Cleveland. For more information on FalconStor Software solutions:

Gastroenterology Associates is a seven-physician prac- tice operating since 1965. The group has two offi ces but hosts all of its data in a 16,000-square-foot patient-care offi ce and surgery center. This data consists of patient demographic and fi nancial information, digital photo- graphic images obtained in the group’s surgery center, as well as accounting, hu- man resource and insurance contract information. The organization will soon begin the process of transitioning

its paper-based patient records to an EMR system, but fi rst needed to address concerns about DR. Now, when a chart is missing, we can fi nd it down the hall or in our record room. With EMR, we won’t have anything on paper anymore. If a server is down, our medical records are down, and we will have to shut down operations.

Gastroenterology Associates worked with IT consultant Chi Corporation to identify the best possible data backup and DR provider to meet the organization’s needs. The group tasked Chi Corporation with overhauling its tra- ditional backup plan, which focused on the storage and archiving of data rather than the protection or recovery of the whole system or site. In such a system, if a disk is dam- aged or corrupted, administrators face the time-consuming task of re-installing the operating system and applications and then restoring information from previously performed backups to fully recover the entire system. This can lead to costly downtime and damaging data loss of any new

14 August 2011

data or changes that happened between the last backup and the time of failure.

Therefore, the group settled on continuous data pro- tection (CDP) for all its data and high-speed disk-based data protection with instant, granular recovery. By keeping a complete mirrored copy of data in its native format as well as a series of application- and system-aware point-in- time snapshots, CDP offers the most rapid and granular recovery possible in all disaster scenarios. CDP can also deliver data journaling, which protects information at a per-write level of granularity, allowing recovery up to the last bit of information written before a service outage. Periodic protection, based on snapshots, gives IT adminis- trators numerous bootable recovery images, delivering far more recovery points than a typical nightly tape backup. Furthermore, if an enterprise needs tape backups, CDP can accelerate backup speeds using a zero-impact, server- less model.

Now, when a chart is missing, we can fi nd it down the hall or in our record room. With EMR, we won’t have anything on paper anymore. If a server is down, our medical records are down, and we will have to shut down operations.

Storage virtualization also played a role in Gastroen- terology Associates’ overhaul. That shift gives the group a single pool of storage with which to address its ever- increasing data store. Previously, increased data groupings had resulted in separate islands of storage within the data center. Each grouping required independent management and protection efforts, taxing the IT staff. The resulting complexity lead to resources that were either under- or over-utilized, wasting power and money.


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