The use of electronic health records (EHR) to track patient health, services, and costs is at an all-time high.

In 2020, 96% of hospitals have deployed electronic health records; a 24% increase in virtual records since 2011.

Patients are relying on these easy-to-access records as well. Patients are monitoring their health, tracking expenses, and even set up appointments through virtual records and healthcare portals.

Many organizations are turning to a Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution for their electronic health record infrastructure. Why? There are several common challenges that healthcare organizations face when it comes to virtual records and the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution helps overcome them all.

Challenges of electronic health records

1) Performance

Both providers and patients expect amazing performance when accessing records. If it takes too much time to load electronic health records, no one will be happy with the system.

Fifty-three percent of people will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. While patients might be willing to wait a few extra seconds for their records, the overarching point is that speed and performance matter.

For doctors, waiting around for records to load means increased time with patients and increased costs. For patients, slow speeds decrease satisfaction.


2) Scaling

The infrastructure to support an EHR system is often a complex assortment of IT gear that can include a combination of RISC-based UNIX servers, x86 servers, storage area networks (SANs), and multiple types of storage.

With so many components in place, the infrastructure is not only confusing, but also incredibly difficult to scale. When an organization adds new patients or merges offices, for example, scaling up can be difficult. To adjust servers, networks, and storage in lockstep can be just about impossible with legacy systems.


3) Unanticipated costs

When providers look into upgrading their current system, they’re often shocked at the cost and the complexity of changes. While providers assume that making updates or improvements to their records’ IT structure is a straightforward process, that’s not usually the case.

Solving performance and scaling problems often leads to downtime, complicated “solutions” that serve as bandaids, and higher fees than originally budgeted.


4) Planned and unplanned downtime

Application and desktop virtualization deployments provide remote access to each active worker, but there are often many planned and unplanned outages to these types of systems.

As you might expect, any outage can cause problems for providers and patients. Doctors might be forced to revert to paper records for the day and have records updated manually when the system is back online.

Patients lose access too. For a patient who needs to download images for a day-off appointment or check on lab results, the outages can be a real hassle.


5) Security

Electronic health records have a wealth of personal information on them, which makes them a tempting target for hackers. Since HIPAA was enacted in 1996, organizations are tasked with keeping records safe.

There are complex security concerns that must be understood and managed. For starters, providers and patients use an infinite number of mobile devices to access records, which makes them easier to hack. Doctors need to share information with other providers, so information can be taken when it’s transferred electronically from provider to provider. Data breaches can happen fairly easily, for instance, as a result of an employee inadvertently opening malware through an email.

These are just a few of the complexities that IT must consider when implementing an electronic health records infrastructure.

Nutanix Enterprise Cloud can help healthcare facilities

Electronic health records present a multitude of challenges for healthcare organizations. Fortunately, a Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution can solve many of these potential problems. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud solution can:

  • Take the risk out of application and desktop virtualization

Nutanix will help you design, implement, and maintain performance as healthcare deployments expand. This includes services like Nutanix FitCheck, a preventive care program involving a complete assessment to generate recommendations to optimize your environment.

Nutanix addresses the performance and scaling challenges of application and desktop virtualization too. Since each node added to a Nutanix cluster includes both compute and storage, scaling is linear. Each additional node supports a predictable number of additional users.

Nutanix Prism gives you a single intuitive console to manage all servers and storage. Having actionable data at your fingertips cuts the time spent managing infrastructure by as much as 70%.

Additional benefits of Nutanix Enterprise Cloud for application and desktop virtualization include:

    • Deploys quickly and easily out of the box; virtual desktops are ready to deploy in an hour
    • Enables a consistent high-performance user experience
    • Allows an application or desktop virtualization project to get off the ground with a low-cost pilot solution that can be expanded one node at a time
    • Allows incorporation of the latest advancements in flash, CPU, memory, and disk as the virtual desktop initiative rolls out over time
    • Keeps overall project costs significantly lower by starting small and scaling over time as needed
    • Optionally supports graphics acceleration for graphics-intensive applications such as digital imaging
    • Reduces both planned and unplanned downtime through non-disruptive upgrades and built-in resiliency
    • Offers support for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp on Nutanix AHV, Microsoft, Hyper-V, and VMware vSphere
  • Improve access to decision-making analytics

Collecting and managing patient data can help providers improve care, but many organizations need a separate system to crunch the numbers.

Depending on your particular solution, performing analytics can require extracting data into a secondary database. For example, Cogito Clarity, the analytics and reporting suite for Epic EHR, extracts data from the production database into a Microsoft SQL Server or Oracle database. With legacy infrastructure, new servers and storage are often required to support analytics.

With Nutanix, analytics are part of the core package. It’s easy to see and digest analytics from electronic health records by putting them into an existing cluster, and adding new nodes if necessary, without impacting the cluster’s ability to run existing workloads.

The database and analytics applications run in virtual machines deployed on one or more nodes in the cluster. With software-defined intelligent tiering, data used by each virtual machine is automatically tiered between local flash, remote flash, local disk drives, and remote disk drives.

Frequently read data is deduplicated and cached in RAM and local flash, and data is always written to flash.

  • Provide data protection and security

Data protection and data recovery are essential to ensure that critical patient data is safe and always available. Nutanix improves data protection by simplifying and consolidating infrastructure and providing efficient data services to address data protection and recovery needs.

In many instances, data protection and recovery can be provisioned without requiring third-party solutions that add expense and complexity. However, Nutanix offers full integration for leading solution providers if you already have a solution in place.

More specifically, Nutanix offers a combination of security features, including tunable redundancy, integrated data protection, the Nutanix Metro Availability solution, transparent Nutanix Controller VM failover, and non-disruptive upgrades.

Additional security protocols include:

    • Nutanix offers a range of integrated data protection options in the face of component failure, node failure, rack failure, or an entire data center outage.
    • Rather than rely on RAID, the Distributed Storage Fabric maintains two or three copies of all data for resilience. If one copy becomes unavailable for any reason, an alternative copy is accessed.
    • Nutanix solutions can “self-heal” so full resiliency is restored automatically in the background, and there is no long period of “degraded mode” operation that impacts application performance and increases risk.
    • Backups can occur locally, to a Nutanix system at a remote site, or to a cloud service provider.
    • Nutanix Prism simplifies backup management by giving you centralized control of backup policies for multiple sites.
    • For data recovery, organizations can choose between asynchronous or synchronous replication.
    • For critical workloads requiring zero recovery point objective (RPO) and fast recovery, Nutanix offers Metro Availability, which uses synchronous replication to ensure continuous data availability across different sites during planned maintenance or disasters.
  • Offer more storage

Keeping patient files requires storage. When you include images in an electronic health record, like an x-ray or MRI, the size of the files gets larger. These files often need to be stored for an extended period too, so space is an important consideration for all healthcare organizations.

Nutanix environments accommodate the storage needs of different workload mixes by offering a variety of node types including compute-heavy, storage-heavy, and storage-only options.

A Nutanix cluster supporting PACS (picture archiving communication system) can add storage-heavy or storage-only nodes as needed to get the storage mix right without overprovisioning.

Nutanix data reduction technologies, including deduplication and compression, reduce the total amount of data storage required.

A unique aspect of the Nutanix scale-as-you-grow approach is that as you add new nodes over time, you are always adding the latest processor and storage technology. By adding new nodes and retiring old nodes when necessary, you create an infrastructure that stays current and never requires disruptive upgrades.


Ready to learn more about Nutanix Enterprise Solutions for your organization’s electronic health records?

If so, start by downloading this guide, The Definitive Guide to Transforming Healthcare IT With Enterprise Cloud and visit the website to take this IT solution for a test drive.

As a Nutanix partner, Hitorra focuses on creating technology solutions that help healthcare providers deliver higher quality care to more patients at a lower cost. Hitorra brings domain expertise across cloud, compute, OS, virtualization, SAN, storage, backup & recovery, network, security, unified communications/collaboration, and BYOD solutions to help companies seamlessly execute small and large-scale projects.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin