An interview with George Hewitt, Development and Infrastructure Manager, Perth Radiological Clinic

  • 23 February 2016
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Perth Radiological Clinic (PRC) comprises 70 radiologists who provide leading diagnostic medical imaging services to a number of healthcare organisations and their patients from 19 locations across Perth. In his role as Development and Infrastructure Manager, George Hewitt manages PRC’s data centre, network and applications. We recently spoke with George about PRC’s implementation of Nutanix to enable a reliable data centre environment with the performance and storage required to operate critical systems. Here are the highlights:

Q: What issues did PRC face with its former IT infrastructure?
We operate two data centres. These are mirror images, where one acts like a fail-safe in case we experience any outages or failures. It’s a necessary safety net for a real-time business like ours; our systems must be always-on so that our partners and customers can access critical client imaging and reports to inform their treatments.

Both data centres previously ran on storage area networks (SANs) which began experiencing performance and scalability issues. They were becoming slow, and configuration and management was increasingly complicated. Getting data off the servers wasn’t as efficient as we needed it to be.

Adding to that, we got to a point where executing a new project would be difficult as we lacked the resources to dedicate to it. This became a bigger problem when PRC decided to move from storing seven years’ worth of customer data to 10.

Q: Why did you select Nutanix?
As well as needing a better way of storing, accessing and using 10 years’ worth of medical images and associated data, we required a reliable platform that could run our critical systems. That includes a web app which provides our customers – including emergency departments, general practitioner clinics, and so on – online access to reports and imaging as soon as they become available; a Radiological Information System (RIS), which is our industry’s ERP equivalent; and a Pictures Archiving and Communications System (PACS) where all images are stored and replicated. These are high-demand systems that must always be available to us and our clients so we can ensure the best possible treatment of patients.

After meetings with BEarena and Nutanix, we realised Nutanix’s simplicity, scalability and performance would give us the ability to ensure these applications are working as intended, allowing us to focus on delivering value to the organisation rather than maintaining the data centre.

Q: What benefits have you experienced since implementing Nutanix?
Nutanix has played an important part in our 25 per cent growth over the last year. As well as providing stability for our systems, it has allowed us to expand our data centre to match new and rising business requirements. Whenever we need more compute, storage, and memory, we just add another node to the stack and it integrates itself very quickly. It requires minimal interference from us, and maintenance is very simple – Nutanix’s Prism management console removes all complexity; in the rare instance there is an issue, it can be identified, isolated and resolved quickly. That saves a lot of time, which has allowed me and the rest of the team to focus more energy on more important tasks. And after all, time means productivity, and productivity translates to the bottom line.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the new projects PRC has been able to pursue?
Historically, RIS systems, and therefore Radiology departments, haven’t been the most integrated services, but we’ve recently started providing connectivity between providers in terms of enabling electronic ordering between us and the hospitals we service. The benefits of doing this can be felt everywhere – there is less data entry, more accurate information and faster result delivery, all of which enhances the quality of patient care.

We have also been able to very easily manage the merger of another radiology company into ours and we opened a radiology department in a hospital in Midland, Perth. Knowing we had the scalability of Nutanix made it a safe bet as we could handle the increased amount of imaging that we needed to ingest and store.

Q: What role did Nutanix partner, BEarena, play in your transition?
I can’t speak highly enough of BEarena. The team’s support has been excellent – they are extremely responsive and available any time we’ve needed them. They have ensured everything is working as it should, and are proactive in suggesting areas in which we can further capitalise on the technology.

This post was authored by Fiona Partlow, Senior Manager, Global Customer Reference Program at Nutanix

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