Watson Clinic

Topics: Healthcare IT Management

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Watson Case Study

CHALLENGE:

Storing and protecting critical patient data, which was growing at a rapid rate due to technology adoption.

SOLUTION:

  • Iron Mountain Digital Record Center® for Medical Images
  • Iron Mountain Offsite Tape Vaulting Services

RESULTS:

  • Improved data protection with backup and archival services that incorporate both tape and cloud
  • Improved disaster recoverability
  • Cost-effective archival storage of medical images

As one of the largest medical clinics in the southeast, Watson Clinic LLP provides comprehensive medical services to residents of central Florida in 17 locations across 3 counties. Watson Clinic has grown to include over 200 board-certified physicians representing over 40 medical and surgical specialties and has increased its adoption of advanced medical imaging technologies to help grow its patient population. These advanced systems — 3D systems for mammography scans and 128-slice computer tomography (CT) scanners for diagnostic imaging — provide Watson Clinic with a competitive advantage in their region, but also create a data storage challenge for the organization.

"As a customer of Iron Mountain’s tape vaulting services, the decision to use their Cloud Storage was easy. Now we can be sure our data is stored securely — and available when needed — giving us peace of mind that we’ll be able to recover if disaster strikes.”

Melissa Burg, Director of MIS

Watson Clinic is generating approximately 160,000 radiology exams per year and has approximately 90TB of storage. With their new 128-slice CT system, the storage requirements are expected to double.

“Our ability to offer patients access to advanced imaging really sets us apart from our peers, helping us to deliver the highest quality care possible,” said Melissa Burg, Director of Management Information Systems for Watson Clinic. “Not surprisingly, those advanced systems create an enormous amount of data which strained our existing storage systems. We knew we needed to find a better solution to accommodate that data growth while allowing us to remain confident that we could restore it in the event of a disaster. Because we’re located in central Florida — with the risk of hurricanes each year — finding the right solution was critical.”

Enter Iron Mountain

In 2012, Watson Clinic selected Iron Mountain to provide tape vaulting services to store their clinical and business data. Prior to using Iron Mountain’s services, Watson Clinic had a courier take tapes to a regional storage site; but keeping up with this process presented challenges. Tapes were piled up in the computer room between rotations and while Watson Clinic had a fire suppression system in their Data Centers, the situation was not ideal. Choosing Iron Mountain for their media vaulting was a “no brainer” according to Jason Stiltner, Watson Clinic Network Supervisor. Having the tapes stored securely offsite at Iron Mountain would cover them in the event of a large scale disaster.

“Healthcare organizations find themselves facing a storage crunch. By working with Iron Mountain to understand our data needs and manage the backup and archival of our data, we sleep better at night. They keep us prepared for disaster.”

Melissa Burg

Creating a disaster recovery solution to support the PACS data presented another challenge. The large data sets produced by their advanced imaging technologies presented challenges with their backup windows. Watson Clinic searched for a cloud-based solution that would be able to accommodate data of this magnitude. Watson Clinic’s geographic location made finding a solution a priority as hurricanes are an annual threat to the central Florida area. Choosing an archiving and disaster-recovery solution was critical to maintain both their competitive advantage and satisfy the healthcare industry’s regulatory demands for HIPAA compliant disaster recovery.

To help make their decision on a solution, Watson Clinic visited Iron Mountain’s local tape vaulting facility. There they saw firsthand the Iron Mountain process and the secure chain of custody. According to Stiltner, “It was an impressive process. We looked at several different options, but quickly determined that Iron Mountain had the best possible combination of tape and cloud services to meet our needs.”

Watson Clinic selected Iron Mountain’s Cloud Storage for their highly secure offsite protection, with data replicated across two redundant underground data centers. The solution allows them to seamlessly connect to their PACS for data transmittal over the network. For more information about Watson Clinic please visit their website at www.watsonclinic.com.

The Results

With Iron Mountain Digital Record Center for Medical Images and Tape Vaulting solutions, Watson Clinic has peace of mind that they are able to protect their information and recover in the event of disaster. The data that keeps their clinic up and running is safe and readily available when needed, whether to respond to a clinician request or to recover in the event of downtime or disaster.

“The process to request data for retrieval is very smooth and streamlined; we are very happy with how it works,” said Stiltner.

Deploying Iron Mountain’s cloud and tape based solutions meant that Watson Clinic — in a climate of tight resources — could redeploy resources previously spent on managing their data and backups.


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