Soon Chun Hyang Hospital augments its care experience

Preparing scan results 95 percent faster with a smarter approach to patient data

Published on 19-Mar-2013

"Today, patient imaging data can be shared with another hospital department for analysis in just 30 minutes – an improvement of over 95 percent. Because the IBM solution is entirely electronic, we have also reduced the risks associated with losing physical copies of test results." - Yoon SooKeun, Chief Information Officer, Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital

Customer:
Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital

Industry:
Healthcare

Deployment country:
Korea - Republic of

Solution:
Data Warehouse, High Availability , Information Integration, Smarter Computing, Transforming Business, Virtualization, Virtualization - Storage

IBM Business Partner:
Ilgeun Infra Co., Ltd

Overview

Founded in 1972, Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital (SCHUH) has grown to become one of the largest healthcare institutions in South Korea. The hospital operates 2,890 beds at four different cities across the country—Seoul, Gumi, Cheonan and Bucheon.

Business need:
SCHUH wanted to continue to deliver an excellent care experience for growing numbers of patients by making X-ray and MRI scans available to physicians more quickly.

Solution:
The hospital implemented an integrated medical records project to break down siloes of data at four sites. Today, all medical records, MRI scans and payment systems are hosted at a single datacenter.

Benefits:
Enables the hospital to prepare scan data for physicians 95 percent faster. Supports availability levels of over 99 percent. Increased efficiency could lower annual operating costs by 40 percent.

Case Study

To read a Korean version of this case study, click here

Founded in 1972, Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital (SCHUH) has grown to become one of the largest healthcare institutions in South Korea. The hospital operates 2,890 beds at four different cities across the country—Seoul, Gumi, Cheonan and Bucheon.

Need for greater efficiency

With patient numbers increasing, SCHUH wanted to continue to offer an excellent care experience. To achieve this, the hospital needed to reduce admission times, process test results faster, and improve the efficiency of transferring patients for diagnosis or treatment at different sites.

As Yoon SooKeun, Chief Information Officer at Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital, explains: “Improving the quality and experience of patient care are key priorities for the hospital. With both patient numbers and patient data increasing rapidly, we needed to ensure that we could provide our medical and technical employees with the business applications they needed to perform their roles at peak efficiency.”

Siloed IT systems

In the past, each of SCHUH’s four sites used different IT systems. These included systems for electronic medical records (EMR), electronic payment systems, and Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS), which hold imaging data from imaging modalities such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.

“Previously, when patients were transferred to another of our sites, they had to bring all the relevant information with them,” says Yoon SooKeun. “This information then had to be entered into the hospital’s own electronic systems manually, which was time-consuming for employees. What’s more, since it was not easy for different hospital sites to share patient histories, the same diagnostic tests were sometimes performed twice, duplicating effort.”

Delivering test results from X-ray or MRI scans in a timely manner was also difficult using the hospital’s four legacy systems. It could take up to three days to prepare imaging data to send to a patient’s physician for analysis, which slowed down the diagnostic process.

To meet its objectives, SCHUH launched the integrated medical information system (SU-III) project. SU-III aimed to eliminate the silos of information at each of the hospital’s four sites by replacing them with a centralized source of patient information.

Ensuring regulatory compliance

Working together with IBM® Business Partner® Ilgeun Infra Co., Ltd, SCHUH created a request for proposals outlining the requirements for a fresh IT platform for SU-III.

“Security was a significant requirement, as the storage and transfer of patient data is strictly regulated by the Protection of Medical Information Act,” says Yoon SooKeun. “To ensure that our solution could hold the rapidly expanding volumes of data from our growing numbers of patients, we asked vendors to demonstrate that their systems would be easily scalable over a five-year period.”

After a number of demonstrations and technical meetings, SCHUH engaged IBM to deliver the platform for SU-III.

Yoon SooKeun comments: “We were very impressed with the IBM proposal. Although we did not have a strategic requirement for a single vendor-solution, we felt that IBM’s solution would satisfy all of our requirements for the SU-III project. Because we have worked with IBM mainframe technologies in the past, we were confident that IBM systems would offer us the level of performance and reliability we needed.”

The hospital’s IT team worked with IBM to implement the new patient data platform at an integrated datacenter in Bucheon. The solution comprises short- and long-term storage systems for each hospital’s medical records and PACS data.

To ensure regulatory compliance, data is transmitted between the hospitals through a secure private network. In addition, a database security solution has been applied to all hospitals—so patient data can only be accessed by authorized employees.

Optimized storage

Patient data is now stored for up to two years on an IBM System Storage® DS8800 array configured with disk and solid-state drives (SSDs). To enable rapid access to both small datasets such as EMR and massive PACS data volumes, IBM System Storage Easy Tier® software automatically and non-disruptively migrates data to the optimal storage tier based on access requirements.

All data is synchronously mirrored to a secondary DS8800 disk array, ensuring the resiliency of patient records. For storage of PACS data older than two years, the hospital implemented network-attached storage using an IBM System Storage N6240.

High-performance processing

To deliver rapid processing for the large volumes of PACS data generated by imaging systems, and to host PACS applications, the hospital installed IBM System x® 3650 class servers. It then deployed four high-performance IBM Power® 740 servers for application hosting, and four IBM Power 780 servers in a high-availability configuration to serve EMR data. Two of the Power 780 servers also host a data warehousing solution for all patient medical records and PACS data.

Maximum availability

To maximize its available long-term storage resources, the hospital created a virtual tape library using the IBM System Storage TS7650G ProtecTIER® Deduplication Gateway appliance and the IBM Storwize® V7000 Unified Storage System. After historical patient data has been held for a predefined period of time, it is archived to tape using an IBM System Storage TS3500 Tape Library.

The high-availability configuration of the Power 780 servers allows the hospital to rapidly fail over production services in the event of a disaster recovery scenario. Using this feature, the hospital aims to ensure an availability level of over 99 percent for mission-critical patient data.

Cutting inefficiencies

Thanks to the IBM solution, each hospital can now access a central medical records database using a web interface. Because patient data collected at each of SCHUH’s four sites is now stored at a central location, the hospital has eliminated the inefficiencies associated with its siloed legacy systems.

“SU-III makes patient data available to our other sites the moment it is entered—reducing the duplication of diagnostic tests, and accelerating patient transfers and re-admissions,” says Yoon SooKeun. “By improving efficiency in this way, we aim to reduce the annual operating cost of our sites by 40 percent—savings that can be re-invested to further improve patient care.”

Preparing patient scans 95 percent faster

The IBM solution has also driven improvements to the processing of imaging modality data.

“In the past, it could take as long as three days to prepare high-resolution scanning data to send to a patient’s physician,” says Yoon SooKeun. “Today, patient imaging data can be shared with another hospital department for analysis in just 30 minutes—an improvement of over 95 percent. Because the IBM solution is entirely electronic, we have also reduced the risks associated with losing physical copies of test results.”

Driving medical advances

Having a single source of patient data will also help SCHUH to make advances in medical research.

Yoon SooKeun comments: “The unified IBM platform has enabled us to create a data warehouse for all of our EMR and PACS data. This is an invaluable resource for clinical trials, as it allows us to perform statistical analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of new drugs or treatment programs.”

He concludes: “We are very happy with the IBM solution. By continuing to work closely with IBM to implement the integrated medical platform at all of our sites, we will be able to offer an outstanding care experience to more patients than ever before.”

Smarter Computing: The IT Infrastructure of a Smarter Planet
With numbers of patients rising and an explosion in associated data volumes, SCHUH needed to help its staff perform their roles more efficiently. The hospital implemented an integrated medical records system. Today, previously siloed data is hosted at a central datacenter. Linked by a high-speed, secure connection to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive data, hospitals now access patient records from an IBM System Storage DS8800 array configured with disk and solid-state drives (SSDs). Using built-in System Storage Easy Tier software, the DS8800 automatically migrates data to the optimal storage tier based on access requirements. Combined with the high-performance delivered by IBM Power 780 servers, SCHUH can now process and deliver scan results to physicians 95 percent faster—accelerating the diagnostic process.

Products and services used

Legal Information

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