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News

EMC improves Norton Healthcare’s point-of-care information delivery

EMC : 28 February, 2008  (New Product)
Norton Healthcare, the largest healthcare system in Kentucky and one of the top 100 integrated healthcare delivery systems in the USA, is speeding information to the point-of-care with its flexible and scalable EMC infrastructure.
By centralising backup to disk and tape and deploying policy-driven archiving with real-time security oversight, Norton has dramatically improved the protection, availability, and security of vital healthcare records.

Sean O'Mahoney, Norton's manager of client/server information systems, said, 'Nearly every level of care and administration in our healthcare delivery system is dependent on immediate access to patient information. With our EMC information infrastructure, we can provide our physicians, nurses and administrators with reliable access to the data they need to deliver proper care and treatment, while enabling our IT staff to manage the continuous growth of medical information more securely and cost-effectively.'

Norton relies on a massive hospital information system to manage critical patient data for a consolidated patient view including pre-admission testing, charting, radiology and cardiology images and medication.

With the annual volume of medical records growing exponentially, Norton determined that a tiered protection strategy with next-generation backup, recovery and archiving solutions would help accelerate clinical workflow and turnaround times.

As part of its information lifecycle management strategy, Norton Healthcare has deployed a 400-terabyte EMC information infrastructure including EMC Symmetrix DMX, EMC CLARiiON networked storage systems, and EMC Celerra network-attached storage and EMC Centera content-addressed storage, as well as EMC SRDF/Synchronous, Navisphere, EMC ControlCenter, TimeFinder, and Performance Manager software.

Norton utilises EMC NetWorker software as the common interface for backup to EMC Disk Library (EDL) and Norton's existing tape libraries. EMC Backup Advisor software provides Norton with real-time reporting and analysis on backup operations to help ensure the environment is operating at peak efficiency.

For its active archiving strategy, EMC Centera content-addressed storage was implemented to archive medical records and radiology and cardiology images, reducing the amount of data requiring backup while providing secure, accessible long-term information retention.

'With our previous tape solution, it was difficult to complete backups within a 24-hour period,' said O'Mahoney. 'Then recovery from just a single tape could take an hour or more depending on whether or not it was onsite.'

The key to efficiently managing this tiered protection environment is the NetWorker media server built into the EDL, which recognises both the EDL and physical tape equally. This enables Norton to automatically cycle backups onto disk and then tape following pre-defined retention policies, thus reclaiming backup space on the EDL as information is moved to tape.

O'Mahoney said, 'The increased speed of the EMC Disk Library over our old tape libraries has allowed us to shrink our backup window by 50 percent and, for the first time, establish a recovery point objective of 24 hours. Also, when a recovery is necessary, we're experiencing up to 75 percent faster restore times, allowing us to recover patient records in minutes. Because we can centrally manage our disk and tape backups with EMC NetWorker, we gain a single point of control that makes the entire process more reliable and cost-efficient. In fact, it's so efficient we're able to take on increasing backup volume without adding staff. And by archiving, we've further reduced the backup load even as the volume of information continues to grow.'

Archiving to Centera also enables Norton to adhere to hospital policies and Protected Health Information (PHI) regulatory requirements including Joint Commission, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and State of Kentucky regulations, which require that patient medical records and images be retained for a minimum of seven years or beyond.

To further protect the privacy and integrity of patient information, security oversight including administrative, physical and technical safeguards are also a major focus of Norton's information infrastructure and a critical capability for demonstrating compliance in an audit.

Norton deployed EMC's RSA enVision Platform for gathering and analysing log data from network devices and computing systems to understand its security, compliance and operational status in real time or over any period of time. In addition, Norton will be integrating enVision with its EMC information infrastructure for storage log management.

'When it comes to protecting life-critical health information, there is no room for compromise, which means security has to be baked into every facet of our information infrastructure,' said O'Mahoney. 'By integrating enVision to with our EMC storage, we'll be able to reduce the complexity of log management and compliance-related storage auditing, while further enhancing the reliability and availability of our healthcare services.'
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