Healthcare providers are expected to deliver world-class patient care while cutting costs and growing revenue. To meet these demands, healthcare organizations are increasingly relying on digitization. Electronic medical records (EMRs), patient portals, electronic image sharing, digitized billing applications and real-time, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled medical devices are mainstays in healthcare today. This IT-enabled landscape also must adhere to stringent compliance requirements, which place an intensified focus on the underlying IT infrastructure.
A highly connected data center can help healthcare organizations address their distinct IT workloads to protect patient data, ensure 100% uptime and deliver the performance and flexibility necessary to help medical providers thrive.
The diverse workloads of healthcare organizations require equally diverse levels of infrastructure security, resiliency, latency and flexibility. The reality is, a single IT environment cannot cost-effectively meet the needs of every workload.
A network-rich data center allows organizations to integrate on-premises locations, colocation and cloud solutions to satisfy specific workload demands. This allows life-impacting applications that demand ultra-low latency to remain onsite at the hospital, while workloads that require greater scalability to live in an off-premises data center or cloud.
The scalability and flexibility of the cloud makes it an integral component of a healthcare IT infrastructure. This elasticity is particularly key to retaining growing quantities of EMRs and fluctuations in networking capacity. COVID-19 highlighted the need for agility as medical providers adopted telehealth solutions and ramped up bandwidth to support the 78X increase in telehealth between February and April 2020; since that spike, the growth in telehealth usage has settled to 38X (comparing February 2020 with February 2021).*
Partnering with a data center that offers direct connections to major cloud providers or smaller, private cloud players allows organizations to establish cloud gateways from secure cages within the facility.
CoreSite offers native onramps to leading cloud providers including Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, Alibaba and IBM. Additionally, its Open Cloud Exchange® (OCX), enables self-service provisioning of direct cloud interconnections through a single pane of glass. Using the network management platform, users also can quickly establish multiple virtual connections to service providers and public clouds via a single port. City of Hope uses OCX to quickly make performance-enhancing adjustments to its cloud environment to ensure capacity issues do not impact research initiatives or patient care.
Proven data centers with robust uptime track records can help healthcare systems mitigate risk of downtime. These providers employ a series of physical measures and best practices to ensure 24/7/365 access to mission-critical applications. This includes using redundant critical systems and diverse feeds and connections to ensure that, if one component fails, another is available to automatically take over the load.
Third-party facilities are also managed and maintained by a team of experts whose sole responsibility is overseeing the data center. To strengthen system performance, colocation providers abide by scheduled equipment maintenance and refresh plans. Networks and physical environments are continually monitored to identify and quickly address issues that threaten availability. This level of attention can be difficult for healthcare IT teams to achieve on their own when their responsibilities are split between the data center and core business objectives.
In health care, latency matters. While a millisecond delay may not be noticeable when loading the patient portal or a calling up a billing record, this same delay can impact the quality of a teleconference or have health-impacting consequences with a medical device that demands real-time connectivity.
Healthcare providers require solutions that can deliver breakneck speeds when needed. CoreSite's portfolio of data centers and native cloud onramps help organizations position their workloads in close proximity to end users to achieve low-latency connections. By colocating in the data center in which the cloud provider resides, organizations can achieve ultra-low-latency connections between the environments. The performance of these direct connections is also more reliable and consistent than the public internet, eliminating instances in which a backup recovery from the cloud must compete with Netflix binge-watching.
CoreSite’s geographically diverse data centers, direct connections to major cloud providers and blended IP offer solutions for low-latency deliveries. Its flexible bandwidth options – ranging from 10Mbps to 1Gbps – allow customers to grow capacity as their data requirements evolve.
In healthcare, security and compliance are critical as organizations are obligated to protect sensitive data. Third-party data centers utilize robust security practices to help customers meet complex compliance demands. CoreSite offers a multi-layered physical security program that incorporates perimeter fencing, security cameras, biometrics and badge access, and around-the-clock monitoring to ensure unauthorized individuals cannot access its customers’ spaces.
CoreSite also maintains stringent compliance standards for data center operations, security and reliability. Compliance regulations and standards frequently change to keep pace with evolving environmental risks. CoreSite’s compliance program stays abreast of these changes to meet industry-standard compliance requirements. Customers can leverage these certifications and standards, including SOC, HIPAA, HITECH, ISO 27001, PSI DSS and NIST 800-53, to support their own compliance obligations.
Like any business, healthcare organizations need to continually reduce costs. Modern third-party data centers offer high-efficiency equipment that can help minimize expenses. Customers also reap the cost benefits of the multi-tenancy environment, economies of scale and the buying power of the data center provider. Cloud deployments also eliminate purchasing and maintaining hardware to allow internal teams to focus on other important healthcare initiatives.
CoreSite’s native cloud on ramps offer additional savings by reducing cloud egress fees and lowering network costs. Its OCX platform eliminates the cost of multiple dedicated ports. Additionally, with 30+ networks in each facility, CoreSite offers an environment that supports a pay-as-you-use network OpEx model.
City of Hope’s SV7 deployment added an additional cost benefit: the organization reduced its on-premises footprint, allowing it to use that real estate for revenue-generating purposes.
As healthcare organizations continue to evolve their digital strategies, a highly connected data center can help build the dynamic environment necessary to meet varied, changing requirements. CoreSite’s best-in-class facilities and native cloud onramps help healthcare providers future-proof their IT strategies and balance patient care with cost cutting to deliver a premier healthcare solution.
*Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality?, McKinsey & Company
With more than 13 years of experience in the nuclear power industry, Justin joined CoreSite in 2014. He was an assistant general manager and is now on the solutions architect team.Read more from this author