Two dozen Chicago health facilities to be served by virtual data center

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Members of the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) in Illinois will soon be able to access medical information through a $3-million virtualized data center.

Physicians and medical informatics specialists will be able to access patient health information significantly faster using the data center, and healthcare IT personnel will be able to expand their operations at member facilities much easier thanks to the decentralized nature of the cloud-based system.

CCHHS officials selected Minneapolis-based Datalink to maintain the data center, which will serve more than 500,000 patients at two dozen healthcare facilities throughout the Chicagoland area.

“The CCHHS deployment is a prototypical example of how a unified solution covering architecture, delivery and support, aligned with business goals, can drive real value for customers,” Paul Lidsky, president and chief executive officer of Datalink, said in a statement. “This integrated program provides CCHHS with an infrastructure that delivers performance today and a migration path for the future.”

Datalink utilized a unified system architecture known as FlexPod, consisting of technology from Cisco Systems, NetApp and VMWare to build the data center. Emphasis was placed on scalability, speed of data exchange and network security. Datalink also implemented advanced disaster recovery protocols to ensure that, in the event of significant network downtime or catastrophic data failure, physicians and clinical informatics specialists will still be able to access patient health information.

Virtualized data centers are becoming increasingly common in the healthcare IT sector due to their flexibility, the lack of significant infrastructure investment required and increased data security measures. As these systems are decentralized, healthcare IT personnel can access patient data from a variety of medical informatics systems, which can further reduce the need to implement coordinated infrastructure projects necessary to overcome proprietary data exchange formats.