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File services in the cloud

A clearer view of imaging data storage

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John Duignan
John Duignan

With advances in medical imaging technology and digital pathology, the files generated by MRIs, CT scans, and other imaging methods increase in number and complexity. This is great for patient outcomes and diagnostic accuracy, but not so great for storage infrastructure. In many environments that are already stretched to capacity, keeping up with on-premises storage requirements is expensive, as well as an administrative headache.

Too much of a good thing

All imaging technology is supported by a web of IT architecture that handles its utilization demands. The architecture needs to be able to store, transfer, retrieve, and archive imaging data quickly and efficiently for the overall imaging process to work smoothly. However, healthcare organizations frequently face a fragmented IT infrastructure that is costly and difficult to manage, maintain, and update.

With on-premises infrastructure, not only do you have to contend with long equipment lead times and parts shortages, but for optimal functioning there are also difficult personnel and resource requirements. It can be hard enough handling all the staffing needs for patient care and technician work. Throwing advanced software and infrastructure management into the mix (expensive, in-demand skillsets highly sought after across numerous industries) is a huge challenge.

Additionally, the lack of interoperability of on-premises systems when there are multiple clinical data solutions in play results in poorer outcomes. It also acts as a roadblock to implementing next-generation medical innovations such as predictive diagnoses. Combined with budget cycles, the process is inflexible and subject to many potential disruptions.

The cloud difference

Cloud infrastructure can play a huge role in overcoming these challenges. It's not just a faster, cheaper, and more flexible method of data storage–it simplifies and makes more coherent your entire data ecosystem, while outsourcing the most problematic aspects of its management, freeing up internal IT teams.

With the cloud, it’s possible for healthcare providers to move and deploy applications extremely quickly, which is vitally important when rapid changes in technology necessitate a continuous refresh of imaging equipment. However, many organizations feel overwhelmed at the prospect of migrating their legacy systems and critical applications to a cloud environment. Often, they lack confident understanding of what is necessary, what the potential pitfalls are, and what the best possible options for their individual situation are.

Doing it all in one stroke often just isn’t feasible, or in many cases, optimal. That's why we recommend a gradualist hybrid approach. Healthcare providers looking to start their cloud journey can move nonproduction environments to the cloud, such as disaster recovery copies and backups. Multiple copies of data are already required from a compliance standpoint, so this is an excellent starting point to enter the cloud ecosystem.

Moving to the cloud is a strategic driver that enables healthcare providers to digitize, innovate, and realize strategic business objectives. Cloud migration also offers enhanced interoperability and a secure way for important data, imaging, and other information to be transmitted quickly and easily anywhere at any time.

The cloud also plays an important role in supporting advances in medical image management by enabling the use of artificial Intelligence and machine learning. These technologies are poised to help manage workloads, automate manual processes, and boost image evaluation accuracy. Helping healthcare providers handle their data has the power to affect clinical outcomes and diagnostics for the better.

How NetApp can help

NetApp leads the pack in expanding unified storage across hybrid and multicloud environments. We offer a single comprehensive platform with rich data management services for wherever your data lives. And we're the only provider that can offer total interoperability across all the major public clouds, so that you're free to choose what works for you.

This interoperability means one integrated experience in any location for the simplest hybrid multicloud lifecycle experience. Workloads can be easily moved to or between clouds or onto on-premises storage with a common approach. This flexibility allows the highest levels of application performance along with optimized cloud storage costs and enhanced data protection, security, and compliance.

Key benefits:

  • As your trusted partner, NetApp can assist you in the strategic planning of your cloud journey by helping you assess what works best for your situation.
  • Wherever your data is, keep it safe. NetApp® tools and solutions help you prepare for, respond to, and recover from ransomware attacks and security breaches.
  • We help you to design and implement an agile, scalable, and future-proof storage environment that will always keep up with business needs.
  • Simplify and automate day-to-day activities for staff, so you can shift skilled workers from operational tasks to more strategic projects.
  • Take advantage of our machine learning systems to identify the most efficient mix of instances and pricing models and eliminate overprovisioning and waste.

John Duignan

John has over 20 years of healthcare IT solutions experience and 8 years as a solution architect in the healthcare space with NetApp.

With deep expertise in medical imaging and EHR infrastructure, John works closely with NetApp's core technical teams to make sure that our medical imaging environments meet requirements and exceed performance criteria. He works with customers, imaging software vendors, and our partners to make sure that their needs are fully understood and met.

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