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Next-Gen Storage Aims to Keep Up With Health Data Explosion

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dr-watsonHealthcare providers are swamped in data, leaving them searching for effective storage solutions even as the amount of data continues to explode, according to a story at CIO.

For example, 3-D imaging can boost the amount of information by a factor of 10--a 60-second scan can produce 10 terabytes of data.

The latest industry estimates show a growth from 500 petabytes in 2013 to 25,000 PBs by 2020, according to the article.

And much of that information must be kept live or nearly live indefinitely.

As they scramble to meet federal mandates such as Meaningful Use, healthcare organizations are looking to replace legacy storage with next-generation technology such as scale-out network-attached storage--aimed at high-availability, low-latency, high-volume data environments--or cloud-based storage.

Healthcare overall has been slower to adopt cloud-based services than other industries, though its popularity is growing.

For instance, Denise Shafer, an application analyst for Good Samaritan Hospital in Vincennes, Ind., gave a presentation earlier this year at the National Consortium of Breast Centers on how the hospital's adoption of a cloud-based information exchange service made it possible for images and reports to arrive within minutes of a request, rather than days, costs less and is more reliable than the use of CDs.

Fifteen percent of healthcare systems use cloud-based storage for images, according to consulting firm Accenture, though that percentage is estimated to rise to more than 50 percent within the next three years.

Herman Oosterwijk, president of Aubrey, Texas-based OTech, a healthcare imaging and IT company, recently offered advice on replacing PACs systems, including moving away from importing and exporting CDs. With regard to the cloud, Oosterwijk said, outsourcing storage could make sense for some institutions.

Those that have security and privacy concerns, he said, should choose to keep storage in-house by creating their own clouds.

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