Competing in a digital healthcare world with virtualization

At the end of April, I was about to leave for a two week vacation and there was some work things that I HAD TO complete before I embarked on my journey. There’s nothing like cramming it all in, including a video shoot in the Boston area five days before I left. However, the best part of my job is to visit with customers so I wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass me by as I’m very passionate about healthcare and technology coming together. My visit with Caritas Christi Health Care, the largest healthcare system in New England, was right up my alley.

My previous jobs have always had a healthcare focus to them and I must say when visiting healthcare customers, I geek out a little. I was interested in understanding some of the challenges Caritas Christi were up against, including managing patient information via MEDITECH on an older hardware platform that was putting the organization at risk of downtown for the six hospitals, home healthcare and hospice services and 400 physician group practice. The organization could no longer support the growth that the system was experiencing. “We were in dire straits,” says Michael Giannopoulos, Director of Systems. “It got to the point where we were completely out of space in the server room. There was no place to plug anything in. There was no more power available, and we were really in a tough spot from a cooling perspective. The data center just couldn’t support the growth we were anticipating. We knew that we either had to develop a scalable, flexible IT infrastructure or face the prospect of not being competitive in a digital healthcare world.”

The IT organization turned to Dell Services for some guidance on their virtualization strategy at both the server and desktop level. Caritas Christi Health Care decided to virtualize their application servers using VMware vSphere 4.0 on Dell PowerEdge R710, resulting in 50% smaller footprint for application servers. The server virtualization strategy is also solving their space, power and cooling challenges. “We’ve reduced our overall server footprint by 50% and our power consumption by more than 50%,” says Giannopoulous. “… We expect to see a complete payback on the virtualization solution in just nine months.” Even when I was onsite filming the video with the team, a server arrived and they unboxed it, racked it and got a virtual server up and running within minutes.

Caritas Christi also tested virtual desktops using Citrix XenDesktop on Dell PowerEdge R610 servers running VMware. Using virtual desktop, clinicians will be able to access the internal resources through a consistent and secure interface, regardless of their location: within the facility, at home or on vacation.

“Technology is the key to delivering high-quality, cost-effective medical care,” says Dr. Todd Rothenhaus, CIO of Caritas Christi Health Care. “Our relationship with Dell is one of those partnerships where we know they’re always going to be there for us,” he says. “With Dell, there’s almost an end-to-end assistance from the data center all the way to the bedside.”

It truly is an awesome thing to see technology at work making a difference in people’s health and lives. Read the case study and watch the video. So, are there any customers out there that are doing cool and innovative things that are making a difference”? I’d love to come and visit BUT hopefully not right before I leave on vacation!

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Kristin Storer

About the Author: Kristin Storer

My name is Kristin Storer and I love when people ask what I do! My response is, “I work with happy Dell EMC customers!” I have the privilege of working with customers and telling their story on how technology has changed their business. It’s time I give this social media thing a try so you can hear the cool things our customers are doing as well!