Maria Parham Medical Center

Topics: Healthcare IT Management

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Maria Parham Medical Center Case Study

Off-site storage solution delivers scalability, security, retrievability and seamless integration


Build the Foundation for PACS Implementation with Reliable, Secure Long-Term Storage Solution


Iron Mountain's Digital Record Center for Medical Images Delivers a Hassle-Free, Cost-Effective and Scalable Solution


Seamless, Reliable and Scalable Back-Up Provides Cost-Efficient Peace of Mind

Maria Parham Medical Center is a 102-bed community hospital with associated physician clinics in Henderson, North Carolina. With the area’s largest emergency department and a number of specialties and technologies unavailable at other local centers, Maria Parham serves as a leader in medical care for the region.

The hospital recently decided to transition to a digital records system, and started with diagnostic imaging. However, implementing a PACS solution required careful preparation and planning to handle compliant storage, protection and recovery of exponentially increasing amounts of data. Maria Parham selected Iron Mountain’s Digital Record Center® for Medical Images (DRCMI) over other solutions for its scalability, cost-efficiency and comprehensive management of all aspects of storage, maintenance and data restoration. With Iron Mountain’s DRCMI, Maria Parham has the peace of mind that all medical images in its PACS are safely archived and easily recoverable.

As Maria Parham prepared to join the ranks of hospitals migrating to Electronic Medical Records, its Information Technology Department knew its ability to adapt quickly to new demands would be paramount to creating a foundation for success. Before the decision to implement a Radiology PACS, Director of Information Technology Randy Williams and his staff did not have to address large-scale medical image archiving. This meant that Maria Parham was starting from scratch when it came to archiving and backing up digital medical images.

The new system for managing digital images created challenges because the ever-expanding number of medical images required a future-looking approach to manage the collection, protection, storage and retrieval – no small task for the lean team’s initial foray into the world of digital medical imaging. Without a compliant solution that could grow as the hospital’s patient base grew, any investment in the PACS would not be fully realized. With these criteria in mind, the IT team at Maria Parham embarked on a search for a provider to meet their needs.

"We all sleep a lot better at night knowing Iron Mountain is behind us. Success is really about longterm comfort, and Iron Mountain provides that safety net. We have a strong disaster recovery and business continuity backup plan, so we can feel confident our data is protected and we can get it back rapidly."

Randy Williams, Director of Information Technology

Maria Parham already worked closely with McKesson for many of its technology needs and chose to implement the company’s Horizon Medical Imaging™ PACS solution. When researching alternatives for collecting and protecting digital medical images, Maria Parham received advice regarding both on-site and off-site storage options – including using a tape library to house the patient image data. However, these options required significant upfront capital expense and additional investment of staff time to manage. Because the PACS system had not yet been implemented, it was difficult for Maria Parham to predict its exact storage needs, meaning a flexible solution was essential.

After a thorough evaluation process, Iron Mountain’s Digital Record Center for Medical Images stood out above the rest for cost-efficient scalability, security, retrievability and seamless integration with the McKesson PACS solution. Iron Mountain’s DRCMI delivers off-site storage-as-aservice that’s fully managed and pay-as-you-go, making it more cost efficient than other solutions. Iron Mountain’s solution also offers on-demand access so images are readily available to medical staff when they need them.

"We really took a good hard look at all of our options," said Maria Parham Senior Network Administrator Bill Dyer. "We compared costs, how safely our data would be stored and how easy it would be to recover. Iron Mountain’s solution met all of our needs for storing, protecting, and restoring our data and offered the price point we needed."

Implementing the DRCMI was straightforward: Maria Parham estimated the number and size of the studies its new PACS solution would manage, and Iron Mountain and the hospital’s IT staff only had to connect a VPN and install an on-site gateway server. Together, Iron Mountain and the hospital tested the system to ensure that it easily stored and retrieved files in a seamless, hassle-free process. "It was very easy," said Williams.

"We all sleep a lot better at night knowing Iron Mountain is behind us," said Williams. "Success is really about longterm comfort, and Iron Mountain provides that safety net. We have a strong disaster recovery and business continuity backup plan, so we can feel confident our data is protected and we can get it back rapidly."

This peace of mind comes from knowing that the off-site storage infrastructure is managed by Iron Mountain and Maria Parham’s data is stored in two geographically separated underground data centers. The storage grid maintains redundant copies of all data at all times; the integrity of medical images is constantly verified; and the system architecture allows for seamless failover to backup operations in the event of a component failure at either data center. With the DRCMI, Maria Parham mitigates risks, ensures compliance and has long-term disaster recovery protection, which is especially important in hurricane-prone North Carolina. "It's amazing how easy and straightforward it is. We can get our data very easily and quickly even though it's not stored locally," said Williams.

Iron Mountain’s unique on-demand managed service model means that reliability does not come at the expense of additional burden on Maria Parham’s IT staff. In addition, Iron Mountain has developed a strong partnership with McKesson so the two systems work together seamlessly. "We don't have to worry about maintaining hardware, replacing hardware due to obsolescence or managing the archive storage process," said Williams. "With Iron Mountain, we didn’t have to hire additional staff, and the solution frees up our manpower so we can focus on the things that are most important."

Iron Mountain transforms what is typically a series of large capital expenses into a budget-friendly monthly operational expense. The benefits of this model are scalability and cost-efficiency, and both are of the utmost importance to Maria Parham.

"If we had built our own solution, it would have cost twice as much over five years," said Williams. "Iron Mountain's DRCMI is a very cost-efficient solution, and what's really critical is that it grows as we grow. As our needs increase, we can raise our budget incrementally, and Iron Mountain adapts as we evolve."

Iron Mountain operates in major markets worldwide, serving thousands of customers throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia Pacific. For more information, visit our Web site at

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