Estimates of the number of IoT (Internet of Things) project 1.9 billion devices today growing to 9 billion by 2018. Already, healthcare has made major strides into the Internet of Things with a myriad of healthcare specific Internet connected devices, or “things” for managing health and wellness through vital signs.


For example, multiple healthcare “things” can measure everything from patient activity through multiple vital signs such as blood pressure, glucose levels and so forth. Connecting these “things” to the Internet enables the data to be analyzed, for example, for diagnostics. This has potential to radically transform healthcare enabling better, faster diagnostics, and personalized medicine.


Patient conditions can be detected proactively and early, personalized treatment provided, and patients allowed to return home for recovery faster with post treatment monitoring. Healthcare IoT is also poised to empower patients with their data, which historically has been locked inside healthcare organizations and difficult for patients to acquire. Clearly, potential benefits of healthcare IoT are great.


Security of IoT

Concurrently, privacy and security incidents such as breaches have reached alarming levels globally, both in frequency and impact. Privacy concerns have also been exacerbated in recent years by concerns over surveillance and privacy intrusions from online service providers such as social media platforms. Realizing the benefits of healthcare IoT sans the privacy and security incidents, and doing so in a way that preserves and builds patient trust, requires a proactive approach where privacy and security is built in by healthcare IoT device and service providers.


Many healthcare IoT service providers today stream sensitive patient data from the devices, securely over the Internet, to repositories they maintain for secure storage. These repositories enable analytics on the patient data, empowering patients with new insights, knowledge, and enabling them to make better informed decisions on their health and wellness. However, in a sense, these repositories are silos, storing the data from the specific healthcare IoT device and enabling analytics just on that data. Unfortunately for the patient, this data is not automatically available for co-mingling with other data from other healthcare IoT devices provided by other organizations. The result is a limitation in the analytics that can be done and benefits that can be delivered back to the patient.


Privacy through separation

Interestingly, one of the unintended benefits of silo’ing patient data across separate secure clouds maintained by different healthcare IoT service providers is that privacy and security risk is reduced through separation. If one of the providers is breached, there is a limit to the variety and quantity of sensitive healthcare data at risk. While industry is generally currently in the phase of building out the healthcare IoT, proliferating devices and silos, proactive attention to privacy and security demands that we think ahead to the inevitable next phase.


This is where data from different healthcare IoT providers is brought together, further enabling greatly increased benefits, while also greatly increasing privacy and security risks. An intrusion of such an integrated repository of patient data could breach a much greater variety and quantity of sensitive data. Preventing cybercrime in healthcare requires a holistic approach where a combination of administrative, physical, and technical safeguards are used to mitigate privacy and security risks. With cybercriminals using increasingly sophisticated techniques for intrusions, technical controls need to protect the whole stack, from various layers of software right down to the hardware level. With patients and healthcare workers being increasingly empowered with more sensitive data, and tools such as smart devices, apps, social media, wearables and IoT, we need to recognize that many breaches occur from inadvertent user actions that while well intentioned, subject sensitive data to greatly increased privacy and security risks.


In addition to securing the hardware and software, we need to secure the user, also empowering them with new visibility into privacy and security risks of their actions, as well as actionable alternatives available to them that both achieve their goals while reducing or eliminating risks.


What privacy and security challenges and risks are you seeing from healthcare IoT, and how are you planning to address these?


David Houlding, MSc, CISSP, CIPP is a senior privacy researcher with Intel Labs and a frequent blog contributor.

Find him on LinkedIn

Keep up with him on Twitter (@davidhoulding)

Check out his previous posts

Below is a guest post from Af┼čar Akal, Healthcare Enterprise Solution Sales for Intel in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa, on the upcoming GenoFuture’14 event next week in Istanbul.


Let’s face it: the bulk of IT spending related to life-sciences will take place outside the Middle East and Balkans. It is no surprise that unless you ask for it (and pay a decent sum) no country in the region registers on the pivot table radar that breaks down worldwide spending projections. It is simply accounted under the ‘rest of the world’ line. This, however, should not mean the region is fast asleep while the rest of the world has already embraced disruptive innovations in life-sciences such as genomic sequencing and clinical analytics.


Qatar announced three years ago it was going to sequence all of the Qatari population’s human genomes and formed a bio-bank in collaboration with Imperial College (London) while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently announced a similar mapping exercise to the tune of 100,000 genomes in partnership with Life Technologies.


Another spotlight is Turkey, where Izmir, the third largest city located in the West coast, has started the countdown to the opening of the Turkish Genome Institute. Why not locate this facility in the capital city of Ankara or the trade capital of Istanbul? Izmir’s regional development agency, which supports the city’s economic development efforts, explains at IZKA’s web site that healthcare is a strategic sector for attracting local and overseas investment. This covers a vast array of industry and services that include pharmaceutical production, research and development in new drug discoveries, biomedical sciences, clinical trial outsourcing, medical equipment, and on and on. So why not set a Genomic Institute in the same locale to lead the way?


The Institute’s interim director, Dr Mehmet Ozturk, welcomed Intel’s invitation to speak at the GenoFuture’14 event, an inaugural international forum to discuss Innovations in life sciences by bringing clinical geneticists and IT industry from the Middle East and Balkans together.


Intel’s Worldwide Medical Director, Dr. Mark Blatt, and Director of Life Sciences Research Ketan Paranjape, will also take center stage to explain why Big Data in genomics and clinical analytics matters for Intel and how we strive to bring full computational, storage, networking and latest software technologies from behind cold roomed data centers to the bench-top where consumers (that is patients) can benefit.


I recommend that you keep an eye on the Middle East and the region’s role in genomic and life-science research and its application to personalized medicine. The region is energized thanks to high oil prices and thankfully the governments are putting these funds to good use.


What questions do you have?

I was expecting the arrival of 2 in 1 mobile devices to make more of a splash in the healthcare space.


These slick devices, which combine a tablet and a laptop, started popping up in healthcare settings a few months back. Dell, HP, Lenovo, and others rolled out their competitive offerings, each promising convenience, lower replacement costs, easier management, and better security—and the research shows they deliver.


But healthcare CIOs tell me their selection of these devices is still largely driven by user preference, mostly because they provide both tablet and full keyboard functionality as needed.


Others, such as Linda Reed, RN, MBA, FCHIME, vice president and CIO at Morristown, N.J.-based Atlantic Health System, are quick to add that 2 in 1s haven’t been widely adopted yet because—surprise, surprise—today’s clinical applications and EMRs are still not fully developed for a tablet. The apps tend to be cumbersome and lack intuitive navigation.


“What we have found to date is that smart phone, tablet, laptop and workstation still have fairly distinct use cases,” Reed says. “Our docs will use all of the above, based on what they are trying to get done.”


But while it’s still early, health IT professionals should consider that clinical apps and EMRs will continue to evolve, and the case for device consolidation is a good one—especially when you compare Ultrabook replacement costs with the cost of replacing either an iPad or Android tablet and a laptop.


Whether a healthcare organization wants to provide staff with tablets, or simply support BYOD in-house, the upside to a single 2 in 1 device can be significant.


Beyond saving on costs (think devices + replacements + hardware support), these lighter, more energy efficient and easier to manage 2 in 1s can streamline workflows while providing greater security. The fact that they’re easier for health IT professionals to manage is gravy.


For a detailed breakdown of total cost of ownership—and why 2 in 1s may be the least expensive, most secure option for healthcare organizations going forward—check out this report. You may want to share it with your favorite clinical app or EMR vendor, too.


What questions do you have about 2 in 1 devices?


As a B2B journalist, John Farrell has covered healthcare IT since 1997 and is Intel’s sponsored correspondent.


Security was a top-of-mind topic at HIMSS14 last week. In the above video, Kim Singletary, Director of Technical and Vertical Solution Marketing at McAfee, talks about the changing role of technology security and what CIOs need to be thinking about when it comes to health IT data breaches.


Watch and let me know what questions you have about health IT security challenges.

Mobile World Congress starts this week. Below is a guest post from Intel's Mel Remington, who will be at the show representing the Intel Health & Life Sciences Group.


Mobile World Congress ’14 is set to have even more visitors than last year from business, government and consumer arenas. A major theme, which has been evolving over the past few years, is mHealth. We’ll again see examples across the show floor with a variety of usage models centred on the smartphone opening up new service channels for consumer health.


But there is a bigger picture and reality where the compute model matters: to enable healthcare systems to improve care coordination and collaboration across the actors within the healthcare system and patient inclusion and empowerment. This is where industry analysts such as IDC define a higher level category--Centre stage – Mobile Health –which opens up so many possibilities to transform healthcare delivery.


  • If you are thinking ahead you may be asking some or all of these questions.
  • Is mobile health a reality at a scale level? 
  • What are the true benefits to the healthcare system?
  • Are there viable business models for solution & service providers?
  • Where can we see examples at the show?


To the first question, yes, mobile health is a reality at scale. Keep in mind, mobile health also includes security and manageability and crucial components to secure patient data, so too is the design of the software solution and selecting the right device for the right task.


To the second question, mobile health offers many benefits to healthcare systems such as helping to improve capacity of healthcare workers that help in turn increase access to care or result in helping to improve the quality of healthcare services. The net results can improve efficiencies, drive up quality, whilst meeting the increasing demands on healthcare systems at the same or lower costs. 


And to the third question, for solution and service providers, there are many possibilities from rich media content delivery, provisioning for mobile solution apps, devices with security and manageability, data centre, cloud, big data and analytics services.


Finally, to hear about examples at the show, come and check out the Intel stand in Hall 3 at Mobile World on Wednesday 26th at 4:00 p.m. and Thursday 27th Feb. at 12:30 p.m., where Intel will be hosting a Mobile Health presentation showing examples around from Spain and Brazil with Telefonica and a major Healthcare Provider, so we can address these questions and others in more detail.

As HIMSS14 approaches in a few days, we are sharing a pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts on trends you can expect to hear about at the event. Below is a guest contribution from Jean Cleghorn, Private Practice & Physician Healthcare Technology Liaison at HP.


These days, buzzwords like “interoperability” and “patient engagement” have taken the healthcare industry by storm and it’s become harder to determine what solutions will actually drive your business forward. Whether you are a doctor or an administrator, you want to make sure you have access to all patient information and ensure patients are fully informed about their treatment plans so that hospital resources are being maximized. So how does technology play a role in transforming the continuum of care and how can CIOs help make the best decisions for their business?


The healthcare industry has historically lagged behind other industries in its adoption of emerging technology trends. That’s no longer the case. New technologies like cloud and mobile-enabled healthcare have empowered CIOs to transform their hospitals, creating a better environment for patients and doctors alike.


Access to data at any time, anywhere in the hospital, is a critical concern for any CIO, and technology like EHRs for all patient information is leading to improved patient care and efficiency for administrators and caregivers. Even with the realization that the future of health IT is moving towards a more streamlined, “patient first” approach, CIOs may not always feel confident in their abilities to protect and share all of that sensitive information across networks connecting hospitals, doctors, specialists and medical researchers. But implementing technologies doesn’t have to be so difficult, and in the end, it’s worth the effort. For example, tablets and PCs can provide access to EMRs, thin client and print solutions can streamline workflow, and workstations provide the performance and reliability required for hospitals.


Next week at HIMSS 2014, HP is demonstrating how customers like Jump and OSF HealthCare are using HP technologies powered by Intel to transform the continuum of patient care. As you can see in the video below, technology from tablets to thin clients can be used to help update vital patient statistics, manage automated workflows that help doctors respond quickly, and ensure that full medical histories are at doctors’ fingertips. Check it out for more best practice tips.



You can see the technology in action at HIMSS at HP booth #1949.


What questions do you have?


As HIMSS approaches next week, mobility is sure to be a hot topic among attendees. In the above video, Simon Eastwick from the global business unit for mobility at HP, talks about the growing prevalence of mobile devices and the expectations for tablets in the healthcare environment. He explains how mobile health technology can improve clinician workflow and impact patient care, and how CIOs can best manage these devices.


What questions do you have about mobility in health IT?

As HIMSS14 approaches next week, we are sharing a pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts on trends you can expect to hear about at the event. Below is a guest contribution from Cristine Kao, Carestream’s Global Marketing Director for Healthcare Information Solutions.


Developing and implementing an enterprise data management strategy that includes the ability to archive, manage and access images and data is essential for healthcare providers of all sizes. Its benefits include enhanced quality of care and a patient-centric workflow—along with cost savings created by consolidated data storage and streamlined distribution.


The mushrooming amount of clinical data generated during the course of patient care is both a blessing and a curse. Imaging exams, laboratory results, specialized cardiology and oncology studies and other procedures all provide vital information that can enhance diagnosis and treatment. The challenge is managing the hundreds of millions of medical imaging procedures produced in the U.S. every year.    


Enabling access to patient data when and where it’s needed remains a fundamental hurdle for healthcare IT professionals. A recent study shows that more than half of clinical data are archived in proprietary systems and are not part of the overall patient record.


It’s not feasible to eliminate all departmental systems—but it is possible to tap into this data by establishing a vendor-neutral archive and a zero footprint viewer that: 1) Allows healthcare IT staffs to streamline the management of clinical data and 2) Enables rapid, secure access to patient imaging data by authorized users, including patients themselves.  


Delivering more efficient data management through consolidated archiving can reduce operational costs. It also can enhance physicians’ ability to obtain a more holistic view of each patient, which can enhance patient care.


New archiving and image viewer solutions can be delivered through an on-site implementation or as a cloud service.


The exponential growth in data and the need to share it across multiple users and locations is making the cloud a much more attractive option for many healthcare providers. The cloud’s strategic importance to business leaders is expected to double and global healthcare cloud services providers have proven they can provide efficient, secure data archiving and data sharing among authorized physician users.


A new development is that patients also want to share images and data electronically with physicians and family members. A recent study of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted by IDR Medical, an international healthcare marketing company, found that 79 percent of patients would be more likely to return to a facility that offers an online imaging portal. 


The industry’s growing focus on patient satisfaction is illustrated by the fact that 30 percent of CMS financial incentives are based on this measure. The need for a patient portal is further strengthened by Meaningful Use Stage 2 rules in which CMS requires that at least 10 percent of imaging results must be accessible through certified EHR/EMR technology.


Carestream offers an advanced vendor-neutral archiving platform as well as a fully featured physician viewer and patient portal. The latest release runs on the 64-bit architecture (a works in progress) which will deliver significant improvements in computing performance, security, availability and virtualization. The zero footprint physician viewer can be embedded into a EMR portal, which also supports secure access from mobile devices such as a tablet which complements Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy. These capabilities are available as on-site deployment or as cloud services. Carestream Health placed in the top three of the world’s largest suppliers of vendor-neutral archiving (VNA) solutions in a 2013 report by IHS, a marketing research and consulting service. The company’s cloud services manage more than 80 million imaging studies in 10 data centers worldwide.


What questions do you have?

As HIMSS14 approaches next week, we are sharing a pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts on trends you can expect to hear about at the event. Below is a guest contribution from Joe DeSantis, Vice President of HealthShare Platforms for InterSystems.


All across the world, healthcare organizations are on a journey to improve health outcomes, lower costs, and deliver more patient-centered care. From a technology standpoint, the typical approach has been to bring in a series of software solutions, each targeted at a specific problem. Over time, you end up with more and more “siloed” applications that don’t talk to each other.


You begin to drown in complexity.  Costs escalate.  And clinicians and patients don't have access to all the information they need in a comprehensive patient record – data is scattered among disparate systems.


It’s as if you were building a house one room at a time  – instead of starting with a solid foundation that will accommodate current and future needs. This is why today’s health IT challenges require a health informatics platform, connecting data, systems and people. With this approach, solving problems becomes easier over time.


From Tactical Integration to Strategic Interoperability


In recent years, a common approach to medical record sharing was to take an existing application, such as a doctor’s office EMR, and add enough rudimentary communications capability to perform basic record sharing.


This type of basic integration can only go so far. Strategic interoperability is about the kinds of things you can do after you have a true health informatics platform in place. For example, if you show up in the Emergency Room at Albany Medical Center in New York, with your permission, they can bring up a summary of your medical record. It draws from a number systems that house your medical records across the community – especially your primary care physician’s – and includes current medications, allergies, and other vital information. This kind of information can literally save your life.


Another example is smart notification. If you are discharged from the hospital and run into problems, such as discomfort or pain, the first thing you do is call your doctor. Without current information, your doctor may be forced to advise you to go back to the emergency room. If your doctor is part of a health information exchange powered by a health informatics platform, then he or she already received an alert that you have been to the hospital and can bring up your complete record, as well as the discharge summary containing the plan of care. In many cases this is enough information to address your problem – say, by adjusting a prescription. This can help lower readmission rates for the hospital, reduce costs overall, and create a better experience for the patient.


What questions do you have?


Mobile apps are making a big impact on the health of patients worldwide. That’s why I sat down recently with Martha Wofford, vice president, head of CarePass at Aetna, Inc., to talk about consumer empowerment, healthcare apps, and what the future of patient engagement technology will look like.


Watch the above conversation and let me know what questions you have about personalized healthcare and apps.


Eric Dishman is General Manager of the Intel Health and Life Sciences Group.


Follow him on Twitter (@EricDishman)

Read his other healthcare and life sciences posts


The Maturing of Mobility

Posted by jamalloy Feb 13, 2014

As HIMSS14 approaches, we are sharing a pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts on trends you can expect to hear about at the event. Below is a guest contribution from Justin Barnes, a vice president at Greenway, chairman emeritus of the national Electronic Health Records Association (EHR Association) and co-chair of the Accountable Care Community of Practice (ACCoP).


Few, if any, aspects of healthcare have historically grown as quickly as mobile delivery. If you are reading this on a phone or tablet, you have a sense of mobile technology. If you can similarly access EHR functionality integrated with patient records, you have reached one forefront of mobile care. And if you are considering downloading mobile medical applications for informational, clinical or financial reasons to further streamline your care network, you may well have reason to pause: Do they work? Are they safe for patients? Meet data security or HIPAA compliance? How to choose?


The subset of mobile medical applications - more than 40,000 alone labeled for healthcare available today - is of course the explosion within the growth, for both care providers and patient-consumers. Described as anything from the Wild West to an innovation panacea to an opportunistic hindrance, a variety of steps in recent months and into the new year are settling the industry’s approach to mobile apps and mobile delivery toward the potential of meaningful interaction between provider and patient:


• In December, HIMSS published its nearly 50-page comprehensive roadmap, Mobile Health Apps: A Practical Guide for Healthcare Stakeholders, recommended reading for any practice, health or hospital system.

• The annual mHealth Summit, also in December, drew more than 5,000 attendees with intent to foster best practices within health systems, pharma, policy and payers, and featured international speakers.

• In January at the IHE North America Connectathon, the inclusion of standards organizations within the personal health apps, device and mobility segment, invited to pursue integration with healthcare information technologies, is an important step in the maturing of mobile health.

• And likely no other step was as anticipated as last September’s FDA final guidance on mobile medical applications. Here the agency stated that medical devices, accessories to regulated medical devices, or apps that transform a mobile platform into a medical device carrying certain levels of risk, are subject to oversight. For example, those providing a medical image for diagnostic purposes from a PACS archive onto a smartphone or tablet, or an app that offers ECG capability to detect abnormal heart rhythms or diagnose a heart attack.


The FDA’s narrow regulatory definition was itself recognition of the maturity of mobile EHR and personal health record technology excluded from oversight, as well as apps that measure, monitor, offer lists or reminders, self-manage or offer simple clinical decision support around symptoms or drug checks.


Continued Growth and Challenges

This of course leaves a very large market the health IT industry must continue to vet on behalf of providers and patients.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation predicts a 25 percent growth in available apps annually, and that 500 million consumers and providers worldwide will use a mobile health app within the next two years. That’s a predicted $8 billion market by 2018, says GlobalData, a 44 percent annual rise from the $500 million market experienced in 2010.


It’s no wonder that Apple and Google recently secured meetings with FDA officials in preparation of bringing products to market. Thankfully what is also maturing is the infrastructure around mobile data, as global firms such as Intel advance secure cloud technology and data warehousing, because much of healthcare delivery and therefore mobile health is driven by data.


At my company, Greenway, we have approached mobility on two fronts. One is providing applications to place EHR functions onto phones and tablets. The other is integrating vetted apps into the EHR through API technology and then available to providers and their communities of health.


The next step is bringing providers and patients together.


Patient-Provider Convergence Still Forming

Right now there are sophisticated apps that providers can display on tablets with anatomical images, showing patients precisely what a procedure entails and allowing notes, drawings and enhanced visuals. Patients can use it as well to send back follow up queries, all of which can enhance the provider-patient relationship.


For patient-consumers, there are healthcare plan apps that locate providers and hospitals in network, details out-of-pocket costs per provider and include patient discharge satisfaction surveys and board certifications.


Still to come though is full integration of provider and patient apps that advance clinical care and outcomes, or help patients manage – not just understand – their medical condition or latest monitor rates. But should apps give rise to a real-time mobile consultation?


This is the challenge for the health IT and the healthcare industry overall to address. It’s a matter of determining the right ongoing remote or mobile link between provider and patient that can be merged into workflows, not add costs, can be billed when appropriate, merged into patient records and satisfies care coordination payment and delivery models.


The foundations are being laid to mature mobile health on these fronts, because how far away are we from patients being prescribed an app? Or more so from patients asking their providers for one?

As HIMSS14 approaches, we are sharing a pre-show guest blog series from health IT industry experts on trends you can expect to hear about at the event. Below is a guest contribution from August Calhoun, Ph.D., vice president and general manager, Dell Healthcare and Life Sciences.


I’ve been using the term “connected security” a lot lately when talking about the need for better data protection, and it’s a term that has special significance to the healthcare community. That’s because much of the security found in healthcare is disconnected.


Healthcare has more security breaches than any other industry (though it seems lately that retail is trying to catch up). That’s true for two reasons. The first is that healthcare records contain personal data that can be used to gain credit and steal identities, which makes those records a high-value target.


The other reason is the organic nature of healthcare IT growth over the past three decades, which has resulted in lots and lots of silos, protected by a patchwork of security tools. The recent trend toward hospital mergers and the acquisition of free-standing ambulatory care centers have created even more silos and complexity, also increasing workloads and competition for IT resources. Add in hundreds of doctors who all want to use their own devices to access the network, and you have a situation in which there is intense pressure, urgent timelines and a high risk for human error. Security gaps are bound to occur.


Clearly, something needs to change. That’s why the idea of connected security is important.


It’s a systematic approach to securing data at all access points, automating and simplifying security maintenance tasks to reduce human error, monitoring the network for intruders and adapting to defend against future attacks.


Keep data behind the firewall

Connected security starts with housing all your data and applications in a secure data center, creating virtual desktops for all users and eliminating storage of data from all devices not housed in the data center. This creates a layer of security around the web of older applications and data silos that exist in many hospitals, instantly reducing their vulnerability.


But users still need easy access to those applications, so you have to build a security system that is good at recognizing and escorting the good guys through the firewall, while identifying the bad guys and keeping them out. Some useful tools include:


• Hardware with embedded encryption capability and other security features.

• USB and drop box encryption.

• Next generation firewalls that can do deep packet inspection to identify malware hidden in seemingly innocent access requests.

• Identity and access control tools that allow you to manage access based on each user’s role within the organization and to efficiently audit the system to ensure that users only access applications and data they are entitled to use.

• Proactive surveillance, to identify new threats, predict future threats, adapt to changing tactics and to tag malware for easy future identification.

• Data center management tools to make security patches and other security updates easy.


Equally important is the ability of these tools to work together.


Encryption and device security are critical

But your security system doesn’t end at the firewall. You need to ensure that data is encrypted during transmission and that the devices used to access your network are secure.


Thin clients that don’t store data and that have built-in security and encryption capabilities can provide safe access points. Especially useful are devices that require at least two forms of authentication, such as the combination of a password and a swipe card, or a password and fingerprint scan. You need to ensure that lost or stolen devices can’t be used to access your network.


The BYOD phenomenon of users accessing your network with their own devices can make this task tricky, unless you limit access to devices that have built-in security and encryption features. The last thing you need is a doctor losing a tablet or smartphone that can be used by anyone to access your network.


Access top security talent by outsourcing

Probably the most difficult part of creating a fully connected security system for most hospitals will be the proactive surveillance and threat prediction. This takes special skills, and not many organizations have the depth of talent to do this effectively. But this is also a task that can be outsourced to a service that employs security experts and monitors traffic for multiple clients. These are folks who see a wide variety of security threats daily, and that experience can help you identify threats in real time, before they do damage, and also help you predict where threats will come from in the future.


While creating an effective, connected security system isn’t cheap or easy, it is an investment that is necessary and long overdue in healthcare. Considering the cost of a single data breach, in terms of fines and damage to your organization’s reputation, the cost of upgrading security is comparatively cheap.


I’ll be at HIMSS, Feb. 23-27 in Orlando, and I hope to have a chance to talk with a lot of healthcare CIOs. Given their concerns about the gaps in data security, I look forward to discussing the idea of connected security and hearing their thoughts on the topic.

In one of my previous blogs, I talked about the top three benefits of an open, standards-based server architecture for Epic EHR. This time around, I’d like to highlight Hackensack University Medical Center (HackensackUMC), as one of the hospitals leading the way with this approach.



HackensackUMC is a top-rated, 775-bed, non-profit teaching and research hospital based in New Jersey. Like many other healthcare organizations that use Epic EHR, it previously had Epic deployed on two computing platforms: virtualized x86 servers for the end-user computing environment, and RISC-based platforms for the backend environment (Caché database tier).


Challenge: Against the backdrop of fast growing data volumes, increasing performance requirements and competition for patients from other healthcare organizations, HackensackUMC wanted to reduce its costs while at the same time enabling scalability to accommodate future growth. Its previous environment ran counter to these objectives in terms of hardware/software cost, support cost and maintenance cost. Not only did it require separate groups of administrators with expertise to support the two distinct computing platforms, but it also needed to maintain separate processes for disaster recovery and business continuity.


Solution & Benefits: HackensackUMC decided to standardize its Epic deployment on a virtualized x86 server infrastructure for end-user and backend environments as well as its storage subsystem. It measured a 50 percent reduction in TCO with the new environment and 40-50 percent reduction in operating costs (related to hardware, software and OS support). 


In addition, HackensackUMC achieved a 70 percent reduction in the datacenter footprint of its Epic deployment. Virtualization of the backend environment enabled the organization to move workloads around more easily and improved application up-time with software features such as DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler) and HA (High Availability).


Finally, to ensure the environment was secure, HackensackUMC relied not only on administrative and technical safeguards, but also sophisticated technical safeguards such as advanced DLP (Data Loss Prevention), in order to mitigate the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information such as protected health information.


To learn about this project in more detail, visit here.


Have you deployed Epic EHR on a standard, x86 architecture or are you considering this approach? Please feel free to share your observations and experiences below. You can follow me on Twitter @CGoughPDX.



Chris Gough is a lead solutions architect in the Intel Health & Life Sciences Group and a frequent blog contributor.


Find him on LinkedIn

Keep up with him on Twitter (@CGoughPDX)

Check out his previous posts


Not too long ago I had the opportunity to sit down with Jack Andraka, the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair award winner, to discuss innovation, cancer research and diagnostics, and where personalized medicine is headed in the future.


You may have seen 15-year-old Jack and his story about discovering an early cancer detection test on 60 Minutes, the Colbert Report, or other numerous media outlets. He is a bright young man and shares a vision with me about the future of healthcare.


Watch the video above and let me know if you have any questions.

While many of us can’t wait to get to sunny Orlando to escape this year’s cold winter temperatures, HIMSS14 is actually a great opportunity to see the newest health IT devices that clinicians will be asking for in 2014 and beyond.


HIMSS is always a busy hub of activity, so to make it easy for you to find the most popular tablets and 2:1 devices on the market, as well as data center and cloud solutions, you are invited to participate in the Intel Technologies Demo Tour. You could even win a tablet PC in the process.


Here’s how it works: visit the Intel mobile HIMSS page and register beginning Feb. 20. At HIMSS, check in at participating exhibit booths with your smartphone and when you reach five visits, you are entered into the drawings for a tablet. One prize will be awarded each day; once your entry is in, you are eligible for all drawings. So get your visits in early for a better chance to win.


While you’re building your HIMSS schedule, be sure to attend this educational session (#74) with Intel Health & Life Sciences General Manager Eric Dishman on Tuesday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. in Room #320. During his talk, Eric will share his own experience battling cancer and the lessons he learned about the importance of a customized care treatment plan. You will also hear about the future of genomics and personalized medicine.


Finally, be sure to follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date on all the happenings going on at the event.


Enjoy HIMSS14! See you in Orlando.

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