How the right data storage can help drive digital transformation in health care
By Mark Jobbins, VP & Field Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific & Japan, Pure Storage
Friday, 28 May, 2021
Like most industries, health care has been transformed by data.
The ability to gather, store and analyse massive amounts of data can help organisations achieve a competitive advantage and improve the patient experience through more personalised treatment. Health-related data can be used to identify patterns and trends that could lead to treatment and prevention breakthroughs. The value of data in the healthcare setting can’t be overstated.
Data comes from a variety of sources in a healthcare environment. From patient intake forms and online bookings to clinicians’ notes, prescriptions, lab test results and diagnostic imaging, every patient amasses a sizeable electronic health record. This will only continue to grow as physicians increasingly embrace wearable devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) to gather yet more data about patients. The end result will be a better healthcare experience; however, the immediate challenge is how to store and manage so much data.
Managing and storing data used to be simple; healthcare facilities relied on locked filing cabinets and air-gapped computers to maintain data privacy. However, this created cost and complexity, especially when it came to archiving paper-based data, which takes up a significant amount of physical space. In today’s connected world, the vast amount of data being generated digitally every day requires a more sophisticated approach. Data doesn’t just need to be put somewhere; it needs to be secured while remaining easily accessible to the right people.
This is a challenge for healthcare organisations that seek to leverage data without compromising patient privacy or their own networks. Recent cyber attacks on healthcare organisations in Queensland left staff unable to access emails or other administrative systems, slowing down the important work done by these organisations.
Healthcare organisations can begin to address this risk by implementing agile storage solutions that integrate data and maintain security, availability and performance.
Organisations are constantly being targeted by cyber attacks and one of the most common threats currently is ransomware. These attacks lock up the victim’s data, then the attackers demand a payment to release that data. Payments are usually expensive and there is no guarantee the attacker will decrypt the data at all, let alone without corrupting it.
A data storage and backup solution that takes a snapshot of the organisation’s data can help speed the time to recovery for healthcare organisations. The snapshot can’t be deleted or tampered with, so it can be used to restore the organisation’s systems, minimising the downtime and ongoing effects of the ransomware attack.
Legacy storage solutions aren’t up to the task of managing the huge storage requirements that electronic healthcare records demand. Especially as healthcare organisations grapple with a combination of on-premises and cloud-based storage, it’s essential to have a modern solution that manages storage across different environments and platforms with 99.9999% availability.
As a healthcare organisation’s storage needs inevitably grow, it’s important to choose a solution that can scale alongside the organisation without adding unnecessary cost, complexity or disruption. Instead, healthcare organisations should be able to buy their storage, then upgrade and scale as needed.
Speed is a key factor when it comes to data performance. When healthcare workers need answers, they rarely have time to wait for a slow system to respond. Healthcare workers need instant responses to their queries so they can get on with the most important job of providing patient care.
Flexible storage options let healthcare organisations consume the storage resources they need on demand without incurring significant capital expenditure (capex) costs.
Healthcare organisations that get their storage right can position themselves to leverage data into the future for better organisational performance, providing a modern data experience for staff and improved outcomes for patients.
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