Children’s Hospital Central California

Children’s Hospital Central California is a not-for-profit state-of-the-art children’s hospital on a 50-acre campus situated on the bluffs of the San Joaquin River in Madera, California. With 348 beds and a medical staff of more than 525 physicians, Children’s Hospital Central California is the second-largest children’s hospital in California and one of the 10 largest hospitals of its type in the nation. The mission of Children’s Hospital Central California is to provide high-quality, comprehensive healthcare services to children, regardless of their ability to pay, and to continuously improve the health and well being of children.

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Continually raising the bar in pediatric healthcare

Children’s Hospital Central California has cared for hundreds of thousands of children since its founding in 1951. The hospital has earned such accolades as the Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence and the LeapFrog Group Award for Excellence in Patient Safety and Health Care Quality. It is the first children’s hospital west of the Rockies to receive Magnet Nursing designation and has earned accreditation by the Joint Commission.

As the only children’s hospital in Central California, the hospital depends on an exceptional staff to provide quality healthcare to its patients. The organization also strives to improve its healthcare services by continually incorporating new ideas, methodologies, and technologies into its many hospital programs. Recently, the hospital identified opportunities to improve operations with a new storage solution to support and protect its PACS, access control, pharmacy, inventory management, e-mail, file-sharing, billing, and other mission-critical applications.

“Given the nature of our pediatric care services, our IT team must comply with stringent service-level agreements for system uptime, quick access to patient data, and reliable data protection,” says Kirk Larson, vice president and chief information officer, Children’s Hospital Central California. “We need a storage platform that can deliver enterprise-class high availability and enable a superior disaster recovery plan.”

The IT team wanted to streamline IT operations and reduce costs through storage platform efficiency. The hospital also needed a highly scalable storage platform that would help futureproof its IT investments and accommodate potential future storage needs of its Merge PACS environment and MEDITECH EMR system.

Children’s Hospital’s IT management worked with CDW Healthcare, a technology solutions provider and participant in the NetApp Partner Program, to develop the right storage solution for its current and future healthcare requirements. The organization wanted to forge a strategic partnership with the new storage provider for important expertise in deploying and managing the storage solution at a healthcare organization. A collaborative decision led to NetApp storage.

“CDW is a multibrand provider, but we ultimately gave a firm recommendation for a NetApp storage solution that we believed was the best fit for Children’s Hospital,” says Brian Pieters, executive account manager at CDW Healthcare and long-time IT consultant to the hospital. Adds Larson, “Based on my previous experience with NetApp storage in a healthcare environment, I was very interested in continuing the relationship. NetApp was the clear choice.”

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Embracing Technology Innovation

Children’s Hospital Central California assisted by technology partner CDW Healthcare and NetApp Professional Services, deployed NetApp FAS6210HA clusters in its primary and disaster recovery data centers. The secondary site also hosts a FAS3240 storage system for data archival, particularly important for meeting Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other regulatory requirements.

The team successfully migrated dozens of hospital systems and 135TB of data to the NetApp storage platform, providing fast, secure, reliable 24/7 access to clinical and administrative data. NetApp supports many of the hospital’s mission-critical clinical and business applications such as Merge PACS, Microsoft® SharePoint® Server 2007, Microsoft SQL Server® 2005 and 2008 R2, GroupWise Messaging, 3M Coding and Reimbursement System, and others.

“The transition of our critical healthcare systems and patient data to the unified NetApp storage platform has gone very smoothly, and, importantly, with no interruption to our hospital staff,” notes Larson. “We are confident that we will experience the same smooth transition when we migrate our MEDITECH systems and EMR data to the NetApp platform in the future.”

The hospital protects its clinical and administrative data with NetApp integrated data protection, which provides high-availability, backup, compliance, and disaster recovery capabilities from a single platform. The IT team protects data locally with Snapshot™ and SnapRestore® technologies. SnapManager® for Microsoft SQL Server and Virtual Storage Console enable IT to efficiently manage data-protection activities in the hospital’s e-mail, relational database, and virtualization environments.

As part of its business continuity plan, the team will leverage SnapMirror® and SnapVault® technologies to perform disk-to-disk replication between its primary and secondary data centers, reducing its recovery-time objectives from 24 to 4 hours for top-tier systems. NetApp RAID-DP® technology protects hospital systems against double disk failures.

NetApp storage and VMware® vSphere® 5.0 provide the foundation for the hospital’s virtualization strategy, which reduces the organization’s hardware costs while increasing IT flexibility and scalability. The hospital runs 300 virtual servers in its 85% virtualized infrastructure that includes MEDITECH EMR, Kronos Workforce Central, Lawson ERP, and other systems. In addition, NetApp and VMware View™ 4.6 deliver 450 virtual desktops to users in the inpatient areas and Neonatal ICU, Pediatric ICU, ER, and other departments via desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices.

NetApp storage efficiency helps the hospital optimize its IT investment while streamlining storage management, enabling IT resources to devote more time to new and innovative projects that help the hospital improve patient care. NetApp deduplication reduces the hospital’s storage requirements by more than one third. The NetApp Virtual Storage Tier combines NetApp efficiency technologies with Flash Cache intelligent caching to prioritize I/O data requests. Hospital staff members can access the right data at the right time, while the IT department can deliver a more dynamic and cost-effective infrastructure.


NetApp Products

NetApp FAS6210HA storage clusters
NetApp FAS3240 storage system
NetApp Data ONTAP® 8
NetApp deduplication
NetApp Flash Cache™
NetApp Snapshot™
NetApp SnapRestore®
NetApp SnapVault®
NetApp SnapMirror®
NetApp SnapManager® for Microsoft® SQL Server®
NetApp Virtual Storage Console for VMware® vSphere®

Third-Party Products

VMware vSphere 5.0
VMware View™ 4.6
Kronos Workforce Central
Lawson ERP
Merge PACS
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and 2008 R2
Microsoft SharePoint® Server 2007
Stoneware Virtual Web Desktop
3M Coding and Reimbursement System



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  • Provides tight integration with Merge PACS to accelerate clinical workflows and data retrieval times
  • Decreases storage requirements by more than one third
  • Reduces recovery-time objectives from 24 to 4 hours for top-tier systems
  • Future-proofs the IT infrastruc¬ture to minimize capex costs

Unified Storage and Application Integration

Children’s Hospital Central California leverages the NetApp unified storage platform and important application integration to reduce cost and complexity and meet its SLA requirements for system availability. For example, NetApp alliances with Microsoft and VMware provide the hospital with the application integration that enables IT to automate backup and recovery of VMware, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft SharePoint applications. The technology partnership between NetApp and Merge PACS provides system integration that helps accelerate the hospital’s clinical workflows and data retrieval times.

“NetApp and Merge PACS are equally focused on meeting the patient care and budgetary challenges that today’s healthcare institutions face,” says Jeff Surges, chief executive officer at Merge Healthcare. “Through our technology partnership, we can help deliver a more effective and efficient healthcare experience for Children’s Hospital patients and physicians.”

Adds Larson, “Our cardiologists, radiologists, and other caregivers devoted to our 40 subspecialties need immediate access to digital images to effectively diagnose and treat our patients. At the same time, our IT department needs a level of application integration that enables them to provide affordable image sharing and archiving, proactively monitor and maintain systems to ensure ongoing availability, and meet HIPAA compliance. By working together to deliver an integrated solution, NetApp and Merge PACS help Children’s Hospital accomplish all of this and more.”

Futureproofing the IT infrastructure

The hospital is further increasing the returns on its storage investment by positioning for growth with the built-in scalability of the FAS6210HA and FAS3240 storage systems and the management ease provided by Data ONTAP® 8 software. NetApp integration with the hospital’s virtualization solutions provides additional scalability. Children’s Hospital can seamlessly grow its PACS and other systems and derive maximum benefit from these systems, while caregivers continue to have ready access to growing stores of medical data and imagery.

“Our hospital data is growing at a rate of 25% annually,” says Larson. “Regardless of which medical systems and services we decide to expand or launch in the next few years, our NetApp storage solution will grow with us, given its scalability.”

Strategic partnerships and a bright future

Besides leveraging NetApp scalability to confidently face future growth, Children’s Hospital Central California will continue to leverage its partnership with NetApp to help move the hospital forward. “When we invested in NetApp storage, we invested in a strategic partnership,” notes Larson. “The NetApp team takes a consultative approach to the sales and implementation processes, but their commitment to Children’s Hospital doesn’t stop there. NetApp and CDW Healthcare deliver vital support that helps us dynamically align our storage solution with the needs of our physicians, nurses, administrators, staff, and patients. Children’s Hospital Central California is genuinely a very happy NetApp customer, because NetApp and CDW Healthcare are on the journey with us.

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