Minimizing performance and integration risks in healthcare IT

By John Gentry, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Alliances

Enterprise IT looks differently than it did a year ago. This is common for the industry – it changes rapidly as new technology emerges and new processes are implemented. Healthcare IT has experienced much of the same in recent years. Driven by federal mandates to modernize medical record storing and sharing, as well as a need to leverage technology for optimal efficiency and clinical workflow, hospitals and other healthcare facilities use IT as extensively as high-tech companies.

M&A activity highlight integration challenges

There’s always significant concern about maintaining performance and availability of IT infrastructures during systems integrations, whether it’s merger and acquisition (M&A) activities that are driving them or other factors. Ensuring smooth operations and access during integrations comes down to baselining performance for workloads and instrumenting and monitoring an infrastructure to perform optimally and without disruption.

Anthem’s pending $54 billion purchase of Cigna creates a timely example of the significance of minimizing healthcare IT infrastructure risk during integrations. The business of the deal, naturally, has dominated headlines. When the organizations eventually become a single entity, there will be massive shifts across the board. It’s not enough just to focus on integrating the physical healthcare IT infrastructure. Data collection must be standardized, and patient health records must also be available at all times throughout the integration. Unplanned downtime, outages and latency extensions cost companies money, and cost patients in terms of quality of care. In certain situations as integration progresses, falling out of compliance becomes a challenge, and it must be quickly be re-established because lives hang in the balance.

Performance data, analytics define benchmarks

Any integration needs to be approached with an eye for guaranteeing IT performance and availability during the process. In healthcare, the significance and challenges associated with integrations are even more pronounced. Leveraging performance data and analytics gives healthcare IT teams an idea of the baselines they need to continually support seamless workflow, and access to records and other information throughout the integration. Once it’s determined how to support full functionality and performance ahead of an integration, teams can proceed. Failing to set targets for guaranteeing performance, not just access, can be devastating. Medical teams and collaborators need access to patient information; they can’t wait for systems to respond or to access records if they’re going to be effective.

The Cigna and Anthem merger is just one of a few significant mergers dominating headlines in healthcare IT at the moment. No matter the business considerations driving the moves, IT teams need to have an accurate, data-driven approach so that performance and availability of electronic medical records systems are not affected. The topic may not be top of mind for everyone during the discussions of million-dollar acquisitions, but it can ultimately determine the success or failure of the deal.

Learn how Virtual Instruments helped one healthcare IT department gain the deep infrastructure it needed to guarantee performance and availability with VirtualWisdom 4.