BridgeHead Takes The Pain Out Of Data Backup

Galway Clinic is the first in a succession of state of the art healthcare hospitals planned by Blackrock Medical Partners to provide accessible and first-rate acute and secondary care service to the whole community. The clinic offers the most up-to-date treatment with high calibre health care personnel using advanced technology to monitor patients’ treatment.The Galway Clinic is a 101 bed hospital with high-tech operating and day surgery theatres, 8 bed intensive care unit, ambulatory care, oncology treatment, radiotherapy, orthopaedic and sports therapy and full health screening services. By providing greater access to care, minimising waiting lists and retaining high quality staff, Galway Clinic improves and supports the health care service in West of Ireland.

The IT challenge

The key consideration was to keep in touch with doctors and healthcare workers – it is very important to be able to reach them as quickly as possible and provide them with immediate access to patient records. Galway Clinic wanted a system that would use the latest technology to transform the way healthcare is delivered, allowing doctors and nurses instant access to patient information and digital images at the touch of a button from anywhere in the hospital or by remote access.

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By removing the reliance on paper-based records, doctors are able to make decisions quicker, perhaps with life-saving implications.Philip Sheehan, IT manager of Galway Clinic said, “This is a new style of clinic with new technology. Having worked with best of breed systems in America, we wanted to build a state of the art system combining voice and data communications with the central hospital information system. We went all out to build a system that can handle high volumes of data created from putting all patient records in a lifetime database. It was imperative to ensure that data is always available and easy to restore in the event of failure.

“Following research in Europe and USA, Blackrock Medical chose a central health informatics package from MEDITECH and a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) from Philips. MEDITECH’s Health Care Information System (HCIS) is a hospital wide application that covers every department from finance and admissions to nursing and patient care. MEDITECH was selected over other systems as it has an application module for every department and an international presence. MEDITECH supplies 25% of Healthcare institutions in North America and is already used in eight hospitals in the UK, although this is the first in Ireland.Philips’ Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) system provides real-time access to patient images and allow clinicians throughout the hospital to simultaneously share patient information and provide diagnosis, consequently speeding up treatment.Having observed hospitals in America starting to use Storage Area Networks (SANs), Philip Sheehan wanted to install a SAN in Galway to centralise data, keep management levels low and ensure the new IT system could handle the growing data volume as the clinic evolves.

Siemens Business Systems in Dublin, who integrated the entire system, made up of medical equipment, communications network, patient entertainment and the ICT infrastructure, installed a 3 Terabyte SAN using Fujitsu-Siemens FibreCAT CX500.Using technology for the entire organisation’s data, Sheehan was sensitive to the need for a transparent, quick and reliable backup that is easy to restore and ensures the protection of patient data. MEDITECH recommended its’ Integrated Serverless Backup for SANs using approved third party backup software from BridgeHead Software. Sheehan reviewed their recommendation based on experience and existing partnerships, and decided that BridgeHead, due to its experience in the health sector and the close location of the support team, was indeed the best backup partner for them.

The solution

Galway Clinic Case StudyBridgeHead’s HT Backup software talks through an API with MEDITECH’s Health Care Information System (HCIS) application, to provide image based backup of the application data. A unique feature of the software is that the backup process works without relying on the CPU resources from the application server, so there is no slowing down in performance of the central health informatics system and users can continue to access data at all times.HT Backup sits on a dedicated backup server and orchestrates the backup to create image-based backups of each of the SAN based logical disks. It controls the backup schedule and communicates with MEDITECH’s HCIS application when a backup is to start. MEDITECH then locks down, releases each of the SAN mirrors, and hands a list of those mirrors to HT Backup which makes an inert, static image of each mirror to the tape library.

Once done, HT Backup informs the MEDITECH application and the mirrors are re-synched back to the HCIS.The whole backup process is automated. From the schedule, to tape rotation in the tape library stack through to email reports with details of what tapes need to be removed each night and switched to an offsite location.”At the beginning we didn’t have a network manager on board so automation attracted our attention,” continued Philip Sheehan. “We had no idea how important the BridgeHead part was to the Integrated Serverless Backup – we couldn’t see everything flowing nicely but once we got HT Backup we understood that it runs the whole thing, making it very easy. Now it’s all automated we just need to check the reports and switch the tapes offsite.

So far there have been no errors and it is a great system.”Galway Clinic uses HT Backup to backup all its data including MEDITECH, PACS and the office systems, with about 70% of space allocated for PACS. The process is set for nightly and separate monthly and weekly backups and the backup window is currently just under three hours, although this was not a major consideration, as the backup process doesn’t interfere with the application server.

The benefits

When Galway Clinic experienced its first real data loss scenario, the restore was not an issue. A department manager accidentally deleted an entire crucial finance folder, containing management meeting minutes and more importantly the finance policies and procedure documents.

These files held a considerable amount of work equivalent to at least two weeks worth of time for two people.”As it was the first live restore, we checked how to do it with BridgeHead’s telephone support team, who talked us through the comprehensive restore document step by step – it was easy to grasp and very easy to use,” said Robbie Phelan, Network Manager for Galway Clinic. “The backup saved us, and restore was no problem – we got everything back in five minutes.”By using BridgeHead’s automated HT Backup, Galway Clinic has saved considerable man hours, the equivalent of having an entry level IT position at ˆ27,000 per annum, and the network manager is able to run everything by himself. This helps Galway Clinic to meet a key priority of Blackrock Medical by keeping non-critical staff to a minimum.It has also given Sheehan time to work on the healthcare side of IT, looking at how emerging technology works directly with healthcare, for example remote access for GPs from home and wireless devices to aid nurses providing bedside care.

The future

Galway Clinic aims to get rid of all paper records by scanning and storing data, so eventually it will have an all-electronic medical record. As this process nears completion, Sheehan is looking to add offline archiving software from BridgeHead to remove older data as the database grows – part of the overall plan is to be prepared for growth at all stages of the data information lifecycle.Blackrock Medical Partners plan to open more hospitals in the same style as Galway Clinic. The next one, already under construction is in Dublin and a third site has been identified in Cork. The complete technology system created at Galway Clinic will be rolled out to these new hospitals.

About the Product

Galway Clinic Case StudyBridgeHead’s HT Backup performs backup and restore of data, databases, and applications. It provides easy, economical access to large capacity, high-performance data storage via three-tier open architecture, centralised management, distributed robotic control, and media management capabilities.HT Backup provides automatic, unattended backup of PCs, workstations, departmental servers, and enterprise systems across networks, or to local secondary storage devices. It can handle a virtually unlimited number of concurrent sessions between any number of network nodes due to its unique, three tier architecture which separates data flow from control of backup.

BridgeHead Software

BridgeHead is a technology company with a total focus on integrated storage management software. Over the past 11 years, BridgeHead has supplied its technology to major application and hardware vendors to facilitate their customers’ storage management needs. BridgeHead Software’s Integrated Storage Management suite of products provides backup, archive, migration, replication, storage media management and disaster recovery for email, files, images and unstructured data. BridgeHead has an established customer base and a growing international distribution network that provides sales, support, training and consulting services to major markets worldwide.For more information go to http://www.bridgeheadsoftware.comBridgeHead Software are exhibiting at Storage Expo the UK’s largest and most important event dedicated to data storage, now in its 5th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme, and over 90 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 12 – 13 October 2005