Pillar Data Systems announced that Henry County Hospital, one of the nation’s top 100 hospitals, has standardized on the Pillar Axiom unified storage system to support its entire clinical information system as well as all of its application servers. The 50 percent increase in application performance and 99.999% up-time with the Axiom is essential to the always-on nature of the healthcare facility and its need to have continuous access to patient data.

As the heart of the hospital, the Healthland Solution contains everything from clinical documentation, electronic medical and health records, radiology and the pharmacy to the hospital’s finances, patient scheduling, and billing. Approximately eight months ago, the hospital went paperless in part due to its reliable, scalable and easy to manage Axiom storage system.

“Physicians make life and death decisions every day and that was extremely difficult with paper charts because only one doctor could review a patient’s records at a time,” said Nick Badenhop, manager of information systems, Henry County Hospital. “The ability for physicians to access patient charts remotely and 24/7 allows the physicians to make life-impacting decisions in real-time – that’s what health care IT is all about.”

Now that the applications can perform to serve continuous access to electronic medical records, physicians can collaborate on a patient’s diagnosis in real-time, more accurately handle emergency calls during off hours and seek the opinions of experts halfway around the world. The always-on system is crucial to the hospital’s business continuity plan because, per Badenhop, disaster recovery in health care is not an option.

Originally supported by direct-attached storage (DAS) in a centrally located data center, Badenhop decided to re-evaluate the hospital’s storage solution since the constant drive failures were affecting Healthland’s performance. After evaluating storage solutions from two other storage vendors, Badenhop felt they were too complicated to manage, lacked flexibility to support all the hospital’s applications and too expensive to operate and scale. Pillar, however, delivered on its mission to offer the most efficient storage system, guaranteed.

Henry County Hospital is using the Axiom as its unified storage system, having both native SAN and NAS with one interface and a shared capacity pool. Badenhop can take snapshots as often as he needs when a file becomes lost or corrupt, meaning he can retrieve data in minutes vs. the hours it took with the previous storage system. “The Pillar Axiom unified architecture lets us cost effectively scale the storage we need and carve it up anyway we want based on cost and performance needs at that time,” added Badenhop.

Because of the Axiom’s single, easy to use interface, Badenhop spends little to no time with day-to-day storage management. “It takes me under 10 minutes to assign a LUN and under an hour to get a virtual server up and running. It used to take days to configure boxes with other storage vendors’ products.” The time that Badenhop doesn’t spend on storage management is spent on researching new technologies, keeping up with deadlines associated with the recent changes in health care reform and embarking on new projects, which gives Henry County Hospital a competitive edge, such as virtualizing the entire server environment by the end of 2011.

“Pillar understands the critical nature of the healthcare business, and that is why the Axiom’s highest availability, simplicity and up-time are so well suited for Henry County Hospital,” said Bob Maness, vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Channels, Pillar Data Systems. “Nick and his team realized that with storage that is cost-optimized, it freed them up to focus on the most important aspect of health care – providing excellent care. We commend them on their effort and dedication to their patients.”

With a second Axiom purchased in May 2010, Badenhop plans to replicate between the two systems for a stronger business continuity strategy. The 20% energy savings with the Axiom is helping the Hospital save money by building an energy-efficiency, green the data center.