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Diagnostic imaging

IBM provides Philips with disaster recovery services

TORONTO – Philips Medical Systems has selected IBM to provide Canada’s first comprehensive medical imaging Disaster Recovery service, safeguarding thousands of ultrasounds, x-rays and other images.

In a service contract valued at $1.3 million, Philips purchased IBM data centre capabilities to centrally store mirrored diagnostic images and provide database replication for its clients across Canada. Philips Medical is a leading provider of healthcare information systems, X-ray machines, CT, MR, ultrasound and nuclear medicine imaging equipment.

With the move, Philips will eliminate the need for each healthcare facility to maintain its own stand-alone and dedicated Disaster Recovery facility, with duplicate data stored on duplicate servers. With IBM Disaster Recovery services now included in Philips Medical’s products, data is automatically stored at an IBM facility in Toronto.

Having imaging in a digital format so clinicians can access these images and other clinical information improves the speed and accuracy of diagnosis and treatment. Ensuring this information is protected and recoverable in the event of a catastrophic failure is critical to the continuum of care. A disaster recovery model such as the Philips solution with IBM can ensure radiologists, cardiologists and other clinicians will have access to the images and data they need to make sound medical decisions.

According to the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance, medical imaging drives productivity gains, from quicker recoveries to less costly interventions to reduced disabilities, but at the same time has been blamed as a driver of health costs.

“Digital medical images present a huge storage capacity challenge,” says Jeff Vachon (pictured), Director of Informatics, Philips Medical Systems. “Images are very large and the amount of data each facility produces can quickly multiply into many terabytes. The need to store these images for a long time, and maintain easy access even in the event of a catastrophe, represents a significant investment of hospital resources. By adding disaster recovery to our product offering, we’re freeing our clients to re-allocate precious resources and still provide the assurance of a 96 hour recovery in the event of a catastrophic failure.”

Under the deal, Philips purchased space in IBM’s secure data centre to back-up, store and maintain the critical medical information on behalf of Philips’ clients. When data needs to be recovered, a completely loaded replacement server arrives at the client site. “This critical service model is a key differentiator for Philips and is the only such service in the industry today,” says Vachon.