Healthcare Storage Modernization

The Digital Hospital of the Future

Digital Hospital
Editorial Team
Written by Editorial Team

The Tucson Medical Center (TMC) is Southern Arizona’s only independent community hospital and is ranked as one of the nation’s “Most Wired” hospitals by the American Hospital Association. Its IT team’s goals are to operate unnoticed and ensure that unplanned downtime never happens. Why? Because a 100-percent digital hospital can’t have a “freeze” or downtime in accessing life-saving data for the 120,000+ patients it serves every year. TMC needs highly reliable, 24/7/365 connectivity to more than 700 applications to provide for the high-quality coordination and delivery of medical care for which it is known.

One application area that is critical is the electronic health records (EHR), which TMC uses to reduce human error. According to TMC’s Paul Lemmons, who leads the Open Systems Group and the storage team, “Going to completely electronic medical records aids in greatly reducing errors. It also helps with post-analysis, where we convert data into information. Everything we collect through electronic charts is now searchable. It is reportable. It is researchable. And through that, we can improve medicine.”

Because of its heavy reliance on EHR, as well as HIPAA requirements surrounding the retention of patient data and other applications, TMC is constantly evaluating the need for increased data storage.

TMC turned to NetApp technologies, specifically SnapMirror® replication technology and FlexClone® thin-cloning technology, to improve its ability to respond to development environment requests and to spin-up development environments in just 20 minutes, rather than the two days that was required on its previous system.

By moving to NetApp, TMC virtualized 98 percent of its 700+ apps. It also reduced headaches and freed up time. For example, before switching to NetApp, two people spent 1.5 years writing their own performance software to fix CLARiiON issues. But now, storage management happens in minutes, according to Drew Burnett, TMC’s Systems and Network Manager.

Another benefit TMC realized from moving to NetApp is faster access to data, with improved IOPS, and decreased latency from 15ms to 4ms. “Our latency improved greatly moving from CLARiiON onto NetApp. It’s almost like comparing a Volkswagen to a Maserati,” according to Lemmons.

NetApp technology supports their robust needs now and will do so as data grows continually. “I now have complete comfort with our recovery strategy for Epic if there were a problem or disaster,” Burnett says, citing SnapMirror, which protects TMC’s backups, and NetApp SnapVault® software, which protects against data loss. A colocation, along with NetApp tools and his staff’s diligence, provides business continuity if a disaster strikes in the main data center.

Click here to read the entire case study with the Tucson Medical Center, the important role that application connectivity plays in accomplishing their mission, and how NetApp is helping them get the job done.

About the author

Editorial Team

Editorial Team

The GovDataDownload editorial team consists of Shany Seawright, Chelsea Barone, and Margaret Brown. You can reach the team at