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McKesson Offers Cloud Computing and Virtualization for a CVIS

Posted Apr 05 2010 12:00am

I believe that cloud computing is an early stage on a certain path to becoming an essential element of all hospital-based information systems including LISs, RISs, and PACSs. In fact, healthcare computing will become, in and of itself, a vertical cloud (see: A Closer Look at the Vertical Cloud in Healthcare Computing ). Adoption of this technology has been relatively slow up to this point because it is still not totally mature. However, the adoption of this architecture would be much faster if the companies selling these systems directly integrated the service and architecture into their "turn-key" products. A recent press release from McKesson presents two advanced features for the Horizon Cardiology cardiovascular information system (CVIS)  -- hosted (i.e., cloud) storage and a virtualized server. The remote storage function is used for backing-up and archiving digital medical information. The installation of this new product was at Cooper University Hospital (CUH) (see: McKesson Offers New Options With Horizon Cardiology To Reduce Costs And Ensure High Availability Systems ). Below is an excerpt from it:

Faced with the challenges of balancing business growth with cost containment, CUH developed a strategic road map for its IT Infrastructure by using standardized architecture based on virtualization....In addition to virtualization, Horizon Cardiology now offers secure, state-of-the-art patient record archiving and disaster recovery services, powered by Iron Mountain's Digital Record Center for Medical Images, a cloud storage service for backing up and archiving digital medical information.... Customers avoid the capital expenditures and the management overhead inherent in managing back-up and long-term archiving. This provides hospitals with a seamless and automated patient image archiving and protection solution, optimizing their storage, removing data management responsibilities and providing reliable back-up and quick, secure recovery strategies in the event of a device failure or other disaster....By providing a single platform for cardiovascular image review and archiving, procedure reporting and workflow management, McKesson's Horizon Cardiology CVIS makes it easier for healthcare organizations to reduce costs and improve patient care. Information is automatically captured throughout the treatment process, providing the ability to analyze operations and measure the quality of care. Through McKesson's IT-focused strategy, organizations are able to realize operational gains across the medical imaging enterprise.

In one of my previous notes, I made brief mention of Iron Mountain, one of the companies providing cloud storage for hospital systems (see: About One-Half of U.S. Hospitals Save Their Medical Records Forever ). As as established vendor in this area, it comes as no surprise that McKesson has chosen to partner with them for their CVIS. Also note the mention in the excerpt about to the fact that the McKesson system operates on a single server platform. Virtualization is defined as a method for enabling a server to act as multiple, independent logical entities. I have a hunch that this is the key to McKesson's ability to combine procedure reporting and workflow, textual applications, with image review/archiving on the same server platform. This is analogous to integrating RIS functions with PACS functions, an approach that few vendors have been able to provide thus far (see: Few Vendors Deliver an Integrated RIS/PACS Solution According to KLAS ). Having delivered this functionality in the CVIS product line, it will be interesting if McKesson can now deploy it on the radiology side.

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