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To Your Health: A Healthcare Organization's IT Transformation

In general, today's IT organizations face a daunting litany of challenges, including what seems to be insatiable growth of demand for three principal hardware components -- servers, storage and network bandwidth. At the same time, data center environmental constraints in power, cooling and footprint make that growth of demand difficult if not impossible to accommodate. And all this comes at a time when budgetary constraints -- how to pay for that growth -- has become very difficult, and headcount constraints -- asking fewer people to do more -- can only go so far.
Healthcare IT organizations are not immune to these general trends; in fact, they face even greater challenges, among which are:

-- The diversity of both clinical and non-clinical existing applications is enormously complex.

-- The digitization of medical information (such as medical images) is still ongoing, and huge growth demands (think storage) present enormous challenge.

-- Process workflows still require tremendous work, in many cases for not only technical but also behavioral reasons.

On top of all this, the microscope of public attention is now focusing on the healthcare industry as never before. So understanding how a particular health systems provider is dealing with IT transformation can serve as an illustration of how that process can really be accomplished To this point, IBM asked Virginia Commonwealth University's Health System (VCUHS) Information Systems organization to describe how VCUHS is going about the transformation of their IT infrastructure. As VCUHS is an IBM customer, the company is very familiar with what VCUHS is doing, and IBM felt that their story was worth further visibility. Overall, I have to agree that the VCUHS story offers worthwhile insight into how such a transformation is really possible.

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