Mid Essex trust aims at faster record back-up

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS trust has chosen provider MCSA to revamp its IT infrastructure in a bid to save money and make backing-up records more reliable.

IT infrastructure improvements will support the crossover to electronic patient records – Photo credit: Flickr, Medill DC 

The trust, which supports around 380,000 people locally and employs 4,000 staff, need to make improvements to its storage and disaster recovery services as it generated more patient data and needed to speed up back-up times.

Jon Clark, infrastructure manager at the trust, told PublicTechnology that the aim was to make back-ups more reliable and speed up recovery.

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The trust needed to improve its original storage environment of HPE EVA fibre disk arrays and so looked to MCSA, in partnership with HPE, to design and implement a high-performance and scalable architecture.

The changes began by future-proofing IT infrastructure and then consolidating virtual infrastructure, and Clark said that the move had allowed the team to “squeeze our assets as best we could”.

The trust’s data and services were migrated from the legacy environment to a new storage platform, which allows the trust to deploy more services as it implements its virtualisation strategy of two virtualised data centres at separate locations on campus.

Meanwhile, the changes made to the back-up systems allow it to store more data and make sure it is more readily accessible. The trust said that the move had provided 99.8% data backup success, with availability of services now in excess 99.5%.

The move has reduced purchasing of storage capacity by 75%, with a reduction in 100 servers, which Clark noted had also saved money on the energy needed to run and cool the systems. These energy savings are estimated to be around £40,000 a year.

However, he added, it is “not all about the money”, because the new systems would improve patient care due to better access to data and allowing staff to focus on better patient services instead of managing storage.

The trust is now focusing on moving to electronic patient records, as Clark said it was one of the last trusts to receive funding from the Health and Social Care Information Centre for this. “We’re in the early throes of configuring and looking to implement that, so a sound infrastructure for all our other systems was really important while we were going through the phase of moving to full EPR,” said Clark.

This will also involve collaborative working with neighbouring trusts, he said, and the team is also looking to ensure that staff have access to up-to-date services during the crossover to EPR.

“We want to meet their needs without having to massively invest in a system that may be replaced,” Clark said.


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