Yuma District Hospital and Clinics needed to meet U.S. federal “meaningful use” requirements for gathering, using, and safeguarding patient information through electronic health records (EHRs). The hospital worked with HP CloudAgile partner ClearDATA to provide secure, cost-effective, and energy-efficient cloud-based storage, DR, and backup services running on HP 3PAR StoreServ and HP StoreOnce B6200 Storage.
Yuma District Hospital is a licensed, 15-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) serving a population of approximately 7,000 people in a rural western Yuma County and eastern Washington County in Colorado. The hospital offers a range of services, from inpatient care to surgical care, obstetrics and delivery, diagnostic imaging, home health care, laboratory, and more.
As a CAH, a federal designation for hospitals serving remote areas, Yuma District Hospital and Clinic must meet several stringent requirements. Among them is the need to furnish 24-hour emergency care service seven days a week to their local rural community. CAHs are often paid through Medicare and Medicaid programs, and therefore are highly motivated to meet “meaningful use” mandates for gathering, using, and securing patient information.
New Mandates Drive IT Requirements
As a participant in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, Yuma District Hospital receives financial incentives for the “meaningful use” of certified EHR technology. To be eligible for an EHR incentive payment, providers must show that they are “meaningfully using” their certified EHR technology by meeting certain measurement thresholds that range from recording patient information as structured data to exchanging summary care records. The objective of “meaningful use” is to ensure that patients’ medical information is captured more completely and securely in electronic form, and that it can be shared with other medical institutions to improve patient care. To keep pace with meeting “meaningful use” federal regulations, Yuma District Hospital and Clinic must create an exceptional IT infrastructure.
Another pressing mandate is the need to meet ICD-10, which is the requirement to add information to systems to include very specific diagnosis codes for illnesses, in line with the International Classification of Diseases. If this is not accomplished correctly, it can impede Yuma’s ability to bill Medicare or Medicaid for reimbursement.
Advancing IT Without High Capital Outlays
The Hospital’s IT infrastructure supports everything from electronic medical records and administrative functions to PACS imaging systems. Its main issue in the fast-paced healthcare industry was its aging infrastructure. In particular, the hospital’s storage area network (SAN) was full. Additionally, Yuma is in an area prone to tornadoes and grassland fires, and needed to ensure that patient information would not be compromised in case of a disaster. As part of the strategy of meeting the need to store, safeguard, and secure patient information, Yuma needed a robust solution for storage, data backup, and disaster recovery (DR).
Jason Hawley, Yuma District Hospital Director of Information Services and Chief Security Officer explains, “As a small rural health facility, figuring out how to obtain the capital to upgrade our IT infrastructure to meet federally mandated projects such as EHR and IDC-10 literally keeps me up at night. We needed a more cost-effective means of upgrading our data protection infrastructure without significant capital outlays.”
After evaluating several options, Yuma decided that to adapt to new security, privacy, and technology requirements, the organization could find great value in the cloud. Based on ClearDATA’s extensive healthcare expertise, Yuma chose ClearDATA to modernize its infrastructure by providing cloud-based storage, DR, and backup services. ClearDATA replicated data from the onsite SAN to cloud-based storage hosted by ClearDATA in its own data center.
Protecting Sensitive Information with Advanced Technologies
ClearDATA’s data center solution for backup and recovery is based on HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, eliminating fragmented and complex data silos. HP StoreOnce B6200 Backup provides a consistent, high-performance scale-out backup and restore architecture. Says Carl Kunkleman, senior vice president of sales for ClearDATA, “We did an extensive evaluation of all the major storage and backup devices on the market, and HP was the hands-down winner in terms of features, reliability, and price. Our cloud-based implementations with customers, who rave about our cloud-based storage and DR, have proven this out.”
As an HP CloudAgile partner, ClearDATA garners extensive assistance from HP in scoping customer needs, pricing deals, and understanding the technology and skills from HP that can be leveraged to bring customers into the cloud. ClearDATA has its own proprietary methodology for assessing what healthcare facilities can and should move into the cloud, and HP provides the technologies and expertise to fine-tune the approaches and processes. Being part of the CloudAgile program has assisted ClearDATA in delivering on the value promise of reduced IT costs and improved reliability, security, and performance to healthcare providers.
The overall data duplication to ClearDATA’s facility occurred seamlessly with no business disruption, and the HP storage, backup, and restore devices have performed exceptionally well. “We see ClearDATA as the gold standard of cloud-based storage and disaster recovery,” says Hawley. “In my opinion, they are the industry leader. They know the terminology, the challenges, and the ways to solve our unique healthcare industry issues. Their expertise and knowledge regarding cloud-based storage, recovery, and DR gives us comfort in knowing that we will have near-instant access to patient records and other critical information no matter what occurs.”
Cost Savings, Improved Information Access and Security
As a rural hospital and a Critical Access Hospital, Yuma must make it a priority to meet “meaningful use” requirements. ClearData’s storage and DR solution, powered by HP, allows Yuma to worry less about keeping patient information safeguarded and secure. This affects patient care, because healthcare providers have more complete and historical information at their fingertips.
As for the future, Yuma is looking to improve its bandwidth capabilities in order to virtualize more applications and servers, and to bring more portions of its operations into the cloud. Meanwhile, the organization is already reaping substantial benefits from moving storage, backup, and recovery into the cloud with ClearDATA. By working with ClearDATA, Yuma has found cost savings in reduced capital outlay that would have been required to bring more data security and backup services on site or build out a secondary site, translating to less up-front risks and costs for them by switching to a cloud computing solution.
Yuma District Hospital has also improved accessibility. Should onsite storage become unavailable, Yuma has anywhere access to documents and applications using cloud storage. This is particularly useful for accessing electronic health records, test results, and other important information.
IT requirements have also been reduced due to the significant benefits of not having to build and maintain an off-site storage, backup, and DR facility. This has resulted in fewer personnel requirements, whose efforts can be put toward more strategic initiatives, as well as savings in energy and power consumption.
“By working in the cloud, small hospitals like ours can get the tools and technology of big facilities at a fraction of the cost, and have scalability and secure multi-location accessibility,” says Hawley. “We’re thrilled with the performance of the HP storage and DR solution and with our relationship with ClearDATA overall. Our plan is to leverage ClearDATA services powered by HP to move more facets of our operation into the cloud.”
About Yuma District Hospital and Clinic
Yuma District Hospital is a licensed, 15-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) serving a population of approximately 7,000 people in a rural western Yuma County and eastern Washington County in Colorado. The hospital offers a range of services, from inpatient care, surgical care, obstetrics and delivery, diagnostic imaging, home health care, laboratory, and more. Yuma Clinic serves as a rotation site for physicians in Colorado with family practice residency programs. Also located at the hospital is the Center for Specialty Medicine, providing space for visiting specialists with a wide range of experience.