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Enterprise Cloud for Healthcare: It is all about the Applications

by Community Manager ‎02-22-2017 07:14 AM - edited ‎02-22-2017 07:30 AM (448 Views)



This post was authored by Preethy Padmanabhan Solutions Marketing and Dan Cowan Global Healthcare Director, Nutanix 


When I speak with a business partner or a job candidate and they say “in healthcare, it is all about the apps”, they immediately have my attention.  This is a sign that they "get it”, and understand the importance of applications in healthcare and the user’s, usually a clinician, interaction with the application.  


Across industries, it’s somewhat unusual for the actual application to come up in a discussion about infrastructure.  But, in the healthcare provider market, the applications used to run the business and deliver patient care are critical, and they need to be top-of-mind at all times.  If the infrastructure provider doesn’t understand the requirements of the applications and invest time in ensuring that the platform can effectively support the applications, the company will struggle mightily in this market.


In healthcare, the applications are so critical that the app vendors often dictate the infrastructure options of the customer, and this can ripple into other parts of the data center.  Sometimes this is good in that it provides standardization on high-performance systems, but historically it has also forced many customers to run aging architectures and slowed the pace of adoption of modern, more efficient data center products.  This is why some see healthcare as being 10-15 years behind other industries when it comes to technology adoption.


In recent years, provider organizations have invested very large amounts of capital and resources in applications such as EHR’s, PACS, and VNA solutions. These applications are strategic to the business and represent some of their top expenditures. In other industries, we see complex applications like SAP, Salesforce, or custom apps built on Oracle or SQL Server, but in no other industry do we see unique, specialized apps like the ones used by healthcare providers.  And these applications shouldn’t be categorized by the overused “business critical”.  They are truly “life critical”. I hope you recognize the difference!




And because of the importance of these apps, where should they live?  Healthcare customers tell us that they want an application platform that they can control, one that is secure (think HIPAA/HITRUST), is cost effective, scalable, and reliable.  All of those requirements point to a new-age infrastructure platform, owned and managed by the hospital or health system.  


This could reside in their own data center or in a co-location facility.  But it’s certainly not a public cloud service.  Not today, at least.  Providers have been moving some apps (corporate website, etc) to the public cloud, and most of that makes sense.  But for critical apps that are truly predictable workloads and need tight controls, a customer-owned Enterprise Cloud solution is the answer.  And it can be deployed in far less physical space, using much less power and cooling, than the infrastructure of even 3 years ago.  


But the key benefit that makes Enterprise Clouds a better alternative than public cloud is that it is easy to deploy and manage with your existing team.


Benefits to Healthcare IT from Enterprise Clouds

  • Web-scale architecture based on hyperconvergence with data locality and intelligent data tiering for high performance
  • Self-healing and non-disruptive upgrades to minimize downtime
  • Adding resources to enable linear pay-as-you-grow scaling without downtime
  • Secure development lifecycle and self-validation/healing to meet stringent requirements
  • Integrate data protection and disaster recovery to help meet availability service levels

If a technology vendor isn’t building specialization around healthcare, they are missing the mark and likely won’t be competitive in this vertical.  It should be a well vetted decision to invest in healthcare, because it’s not easy.  An individual or a business can’t pick up Healthcare IT overnight, or even in months.  


It take years of experience to understand the application functionality, benefits, pitfalls, the industry players, and the impact to clinician workflow and productivity.  And all of those are important to understand, on top of just being able to speak the lingo of healthcare.


In what other industry vertical do we truly have the opportunity to impact the quality of someone's life and health?  It may seem like a stretch to say that a product like Nutanix can have that impact, but if we can improve the availability and performance of healthcare applications, that truly affects people's lives.  And if we don’t do our job well, don’t understand healthcare, or don’t take it seriously, our technology can have a very negative affect on the delivery of care and on people’s wellbeing.  This is why we have a focused healthcare team Nutanix, and why it’s so important to us.


Nutanix at HIMSS 2017

Nutanix will be exhibiting at HIMSS 2017, Orlando from February 19-23, 2017 at booth #2887, where experts will be on hand for technical conversations on datacenter trends in healthcare and digital transformation. Nutanix customer, St. Joseph Health will be speaking on topic “Transform Health IT with Enterprise Cloud Technologies” at HIMSS session 178 on Wed, Feb 22, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm in Room 311A. Nutanix will also be hosting a Lunch n Learn session on the topic of ‘Enhancing Care Delivery with VDI on Enterprise Cloud’ on Wednesday, Feb 22, 1:00pm – 2:00 pm in Room 203C. For more information check out the Nutanix at HIMSS blog post here.


To learn more about our healthcare customers, partnerships, and resources, please contact us at healthcare@nutanix.com, engage with us on Twitter or send us a note below.


Disclaimer: This blog contains links to external websites that are not part of Nutanix.com. Nutanix does not control these sites and disclaims all responsibility for the content or accuracy of any external site. Our decision to link to an external site should not be considered an endorsement of any content on such site.



Nutanix in Healthcare: Preparing for HIMSS

by Community Manager on ‎02-26-2016 11:50 AM (1,897 Views)

In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in healthcare IT requirements with the uptake of EMR, PAC, ECM* etc., and tech vendors are constantly looking for unique ways that their products can add value in healthcare.


When technology companies create a healthcare vertical to address healthcare IT needs, they sometimes cast too wide a net.  The healthcare market includes a variety of entities; providers, payors, life sciences and genomics, pharma, consumer technologies, etc.   To establish relationships with manufacturers, ISV’s  (Independent Software Vendors), and customers in all of these segments takes a lot of bandwidth, and there isn’t much overlap or leverage between some of these healthcare entities.  


At Nutanix, we’ve decided to start with a focused approach.  Our account, alliances and marketing teams are investing time and resources in the Provider market.  We work with customers and partners that serve hospitals and health systems, and their affiliated physician practices.  This allows us to establish a strong presence in healthcare with examples of customer success before expanding into adjacent areas.


And already, we are having great success.  We have a solid set of ISV validations in place, with room for growth, and we have many happy healthcare provider customers.  Our healthcare business is rapidly growing, and we expect this to continue as we add regional resources to provide even more focus in targeted areas.


With the importance of reliable delivery of EMR apps to clinicians, and Nutanix’s ability to provide the optimal platform for this, the provider market was an obvious place to start.  We are already approved by the 3 leading US EMR providers for Citrix workloads on our platform.  Every day, more than one million American clinicians use Citrix to access their most important applications.  An obvious place for Nutanix to showcase our capabilities.


At Nutanix, we have taken a true vertical approach to healthcare.  That includes dedicated resources for healthcare alliances and marketing, leveraging our technology partners with healthcare-specific value-adds, and also building out account teams that serve only the healthcare provider market.  With this comprehensive approach, we are developing the industry expertise and relationships needed to deliver great solutions to our customers, ensuring their success.


As with most alliances organizations, our job is to develop relationships and product validations with partners (EMR and Imaging vendors in our case) so that customers can use our technologies and receive full support from their application providers.  We have validations in place with the leading EMR vendors, and several other healthcare apps successfully running on our platform.  In the imaging space, we have several customers using Nutanix to run their PACS systems, and we have created a reference architecture with DELL and Hyland Onbase.  We will continue to build out our PACS and content management partnerships in 2016.


At the annual HIMSS conference next week, we’ll be showing off our Enterprise Cloud platform and the work we’ve done with healthcare partners and customers.   Join us at booth 10919 to learn more!  The booth theater schedule is packed with great presentations, and you’ll have a chance to win a Moto 360 smartwatch by visiting our passport partner booths.


Our HIMSS presence isn’t limited to the Nutanix booth, and we’d like to see you at the events:


  • We will be co-hosting a reception with Lenovo on Tuesday night:  Register here
  • On Wednesday, we will be co-hosting a luncheon with Intel where attendees can learn more about St Lukes Health System’s experience with Nutanix.  Register here
  • And in our Thursday panel discussion, hear directly from our customers about their Nutanix deployments:  Register today


This is the year of healthcare at Nutanix, so keep an eye on us as we enable our customers around the world to more efficiently run their most critical applications.


*EMR – Electronic Medical Records; PACS – Picture Archiving and Communication System; ECM – Enterprise Content Management. 

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 PRCs data centre, network and applications. We recently spoke with George about PRCs 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. Its 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 wasnt 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 yearsworth of customer data to 10.


Q: Why did you select Nutanix?

As well as needing a better way of storing, accessing and using 10 yearsworth 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 industrys 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 Nutanixs 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 Nutanixs 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 cant speak highly enough of BEarena. The teams support has been excellent they are extremely responsive and available any time weve 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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