Storage takes on enterprise overload

November 5, 2004

Storage systems in the digital radiology department are not immune to issues bombarding larger hospital information systems and PACS. The hot topics that storage companies are addressing at this year's RSNA meeting include large data sets, disaster recovery, and interconnectivity within the entire enterprise.

"IT staffs are beginning to seek a more holistic approach to managing all of a hospital's data and images, which means linking the numerous departmental storage systems created by applications that do not talk to each other," said L. Jeffrey Markin, general manager of healthcare information systems and vice president of Kodak's Health Imaging Group.

Kodak is offering its Enterprise Information Management portfolio, which uses its VIParchive software platform. The archive platform allows customers to manage their healthcare IT data, including images, according to Markin.

"Increased connectivity and intelligent management of enterprise-wide storage systems enable much more efficient management of information and greatly reduce the time and expense of managing, maintaining, and upgrading a host of disparate storage systems," he said.

Stentor will present what it calls its always-online medical image archive product featuring integrated RIS workflow. The iVault system provides a single view of images and information to all users across the enterprise.

DeJarnette will unveil a blackbox gateway into the VA Vista system. The VA doesn't supply a useful DICOM gateway for its homegrown Vista product, making it difficult to move images and reports out of that system efficiently, according to CEO Wayne DeJarnette.

At this year's RSNA meeting, the company will show how its gateway product turns the Vista image storage system into a DICOM archive such that vendors can get images out of the system as well as put them in.

Some vendors target consolidation as a hot topic for their customers. Patients are irritated at having to sign a plethora of different forms for everything from ultrasound to blood tests, sparking a move to consolidate data management of the various departments in a hospital, said Vani Uppugunduri, Storagetek product market manager for healthcare practices. The company will be exhibiting its SL 500 modular library system, which has been developed in association with various PACS partners, including Kodak and Siemens.

Uppugunduri also noted that technology obsolescence keeps many CIOs up at night. While a floppy developed years ago may still work, readers made with current technology may not be able to read it.

DISASTER RECOVERY

An unusually traumatic hurricane season, the proliferation of Internet viruses, and the threat of cyber attacks all highlight the need for robust disaster recovery and business continuity systems. Several storage vendors are offering products to address these issues.

DR Systems will be offering a replicated high-capacity online archive implementation as well as an offsite storage and disaster recovery service.

Merge eFilm is offering Multi-Tiered Storage Management. Company representatives say multitiered storage eschews a one-size-fits-all approach. It enables users to migrate less frequently used data to a lower cost/lower performance storage system.

Storage service provider InSiteOne is developing solutions for other areas as the entire enterprise becomes digital, including the ability to store mammography and cardiology images in addition to standard radiology images, said president James Champagne.

"Clearly, clients are very concerned about business continuity. They are also getting prepared for HIPAA requirements," he said.

ScImage will be exhibiting its PICOMOnline Offsite Disaster Recovery and OnDemand TelePACS.-MT