Healthcare IT Solutions improves collaboration between healthcare professionals

Published on 11-Dec-2012

"IBM is an expert in designing and operating cloud solutions, while we have an excellent reputation in the healthcare industry. With IBM as a strategic partner we don’t have to worry about servers or technology. Now we can focus on enhancing the system, implementing new features and delivering new services to our customers." - Volker Lowitsch, CEO of Healthcare IT Solutions GmbH and CIO of the University Hospital Aachen

Customer:
Healthcare IT Solutions GmbH

Industry:
Healthcare

Deployment country:
Germany

Solution:
Cloud Computing, Cloud & Service Management

Overview

Healthcare IT Solutions GmbH specialises in IT solutions for the healthcare industry. The company is wholly owned by the University Hospital Aachen, and is well respected within the healthcare sector.

Business need:
Healthcare IT Solutions GmbH wanted to find a more flexible way to manage its FallAkte Plus healthcare information exchange system, and keep a tighter control on costs as more customers accessed the system. The company needed a solution that could offer high availability and scalability to meet the needs of its expanding customer base.

Solution:
Healthcare IT Solutions partnered with IBM to deploy a managed private cloud solution, based on IBM® System x® 3550 servers and IBM Storwize® V7000 storage systems, with IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager for backups. The solution could be easily scaled up to meet growing customer demand.

Benefits:
Enables Healthcare IT Solutions to start small and seamlessly scale up to thousands of users without requiring large investments in infrastructure, providing flexibility and opportunities for growth. Provides a stable platform for dynamically extending the company’s solution portfolio, and delivering additional services to customers.

Case Study

To read a German version of this case study, please click here.

Healthcare IT Solutions GmbH specialises in IT solutions for the healthcare industry. The company is wholly owned by the University Hospital Aachen, and is well respected within the healthcare sector.

In Germany, hospitals can be owned by a variety of different organisations, which encourages competition and drives constant efforts to raise standards. Hospitals and registered doctors find themselves under increasing pressure to collaborate more closely in order to save costs and improve efficiencies.

To foster improved collaboration between healthcare professionals, Healthcare IT Solutions has worked with partners in the industry to develop a country-wide system called FallAkte Plus. The system is based on the “Elektronische FallAkte” specification for electronic medical records developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering. FallAkte Plus enables healthcare information to be shared across institutions and practices on a case-by-case basis.

Approximately 25 hospitals and 25 doctors have already been registered on FallAkte Plus, and Healthcare IT Solutions wanted to ensure that it could reliably support larger numbers of users. As more institutions connect to the system, it will need to be able to support up to 500 hospitals and 60,000 doctors. Healthcare IT Solutions believed that this degree of scalability could only be achieved with the help of a competent and experienced partner such as IBM. With a small IT team and limited financial resources, the company was finding it difficult to plan efficiently for future growth, and looked for a more flexible and cost-efficient way of delivering FallAkte Plus to its growing customer base.

In its search for a solution, Healthcare IT Solutions evaluated a number of offerings and ultimately selected IBM as its partner for IT and managed cloud services. “IBM recognised the potential of the healthcare information system immediately,” says Volker Lowitsch, CEO of Healthcare IT Solutions GmbH and CIO of the University Hospital Aachen. “IBM developed a solution in the private cloud that completely met our requirements regarding data security, flexibility and scalability. In collaboration with IBM, we leveraged existing, proven and certified processes in the private cloud, which is managed in the highly secure data centre at the University Hospital Aachen. We then enhanced these processes to ensure that we will be able to offer additional healthcare services in the future.”

The fully-managed private cloud environment is based on IBM System x3550 servers connected to IBM Storwize V7000 storage systems. The combination of highly scalable solution components enables Healthcare IT Solutions to provide its services to a continuously growing user base by dynamically extending capacity as demand grows. Advanced system automation, sophisticated system monitoring and proactive service management also enable the company to forecast demand and avoid bottlenecks before they occur.

IBM manages and operates the cloud infrastructure at Healthcare IT Solutions’ own data centre facilities. In this role, IBM works with Siemens, which manages and develops the application, and with CompuGroup Medical AG, which has introduced support for FallAkte Plus into its leading systems for managing doctors’ medical data.

The new private cloud platform provides Healthcare IT Solutions with the scalability it needs to support growing numbers of customers. The company can start small with its current customer base and scale up to thousands of customers without the need for large investments in infrastructure. The advanced cloud platform also enables Healthcare IT Solutions to extend its service portfolio. With IBM as its strategic partner, the company is currently working on adding support for IBM’s video conferencing system to its cloud offering. Video conferencing is an ideal addition to the company’s service portfolio, since it would assist doctors in exchanging healthcare information and help them to use and edit the patient records received. “Working in distributed teams is becoming the norm for specialist doctors,” says Volker Lowitsch. “We want to support this trend by introducing video conferencing features. We also want to add mobile applications to our service portfolio – for example, to enable registered doctors to have all relevant patient data with them when they are out on home visits.”

By selecting IBM as its strategic IT partner, Healthcare IT Solutions combined the strengths and proven experience of both companies to create a convincing offering for its customers. “IBM was the only company that recognised our full potential and met our requirements for data security and scalability,” explains Volker Lowitsch. “As we could not afford huge up-front investments in infrastructure, the IBM private cloud solution was exactly what we needed. By drawing on its extensive resources and expertise, IBM can provide the high levels of availability and reliability that we need to support a growing customer base. We simply would not be able to do this on our own.”

Volker Lowitsch concludes, “IBM is an expert in designing and operating cloud solutions, while we have an excellent reputation in the healthcare industry. With IBM as a strategic partner we don’t have to worry about servers or technology. Now we can focus on enhancing the system, implementing new features and delivering new services to our customers.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
Storage, Storage: Storwize V7000, System x, System x: System x3550 M3

Software:
Tivoli Storage Manager

Service:
GTS Integrated Technology Services, GTS ITS Server: Server Managed Services

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012. IBM Deutschland GmbH, 71137 Ehningen, Deutschland. ibm.com/de. IBM Österreich, Obere Donaustrasse 95, 1020 Wien. ibm.com/at. IBM Schweiz, Vulkanstrasse 106, 8010 Zürich. ibm.com/ch. Produced in Germany. October 2012. IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com, Global Technology Services, Storwize, System x and Tivoli are trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. A current list of other IBM trademarks is available on the Web at “Copyright and trademark information” at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml. References in this publication to IBM products, programs or services do not imply that IBM intends to make these available in all countries in which IBM operates. Any reference to an IBM product, program or service is not intended to imply that only IBM’s product, program or service may be used. Any functionally equivalent product, program or service may be used instead. All customer examples cited represent how some customers have used IBM products and the results they may have achieved. Actual environmental costs and performance characteristics will vary depending on individual customer configurations and conditions. IBM hardware products are manufactured from new parts, or new and used parts. In some cases, the hardware product may not be new and may have been previously installed. Regardless, IBM warranty terms apply. This publication is for general guidance only. Photographs may show design models.