StaaS for Healthcare

What the Rise of Advanced Imaging Technology Means for Healthcare IT

 In the last several years, medical imaging technology has changed radically. New 3D imaging allows clinicians to view internal organs from all angles. High-resolution imaging gives diagnosticians a more precise view of what’s happening in their patients’ bodies.

One of the advances that has allowed medical imaging to become so much more precise is the rapid increase in network speed that allows modern machines to process information at 10 gigabits per second compared with 10 MB per second in the early days of medical imaging – and experts predict speed is likely to continue to increase. With this increased speed, image file sizes have ballooned and a single research study may require more than 20 GB in storage. As a result, many healthcare facilities that adopt the latest imaging tools must also tackle another challenge: how to store all of those large files.

Why (and When) Healthcare Facilities Should Consider Storage as a Service

Traditional on-premises file storage has served many healthcare facilities well for years. Relatively small files added to an EMC box over time. As the box approached capacity, grant writers might request funds to purchase a new box or IT might provision CAPEX to purchase new on-premises storage. The box would be installed and relatively small files would continue being stored as usual.

High resolution and 3D imaging changes this reality. With larger files, a box fills up much more quickly. Since few clinicians consider the cost of storage when writing a grant for a new MRI or ultrasound machine, CAPEX may not be immediately available to provision a new EMC box after the old one fills up. Even though the new expensive machine may be able to capture images, not having a way to store them means that the new machine may remain effectively useless until there is a way to store files.

This scenario is one of the best moments for healthcare facilities to consider storage as a service. Storage as a Service (StaaS) is a way to shift your storage from an on-premises database to a cloud-based environment. One of the most popular benefits of StaaS is that it allows customers who have recently run out of space (or who expect to soon) to quickly and easily provision new storage capacity using OPEX.

In fact, some organizations have configured StaaS environments in just a few weeks or less – all without the need to ever provision CAPEX. Healthcare organizations can build their initial environment to accommodate only their immediate need (without needing to calculate their projected storage needs over the next several years) and add additional capacity when necessary. Should the facility ever decide to discontinue storage of large imaging files or to move them elsewhere, StaaS deployments can be downgraded just as easily.

Demand for Healthcare Storage is Discipline-Agnostic

The rise of advanced imaging has affected nearly every area of diagnostic imaging. That means that both large and small facilities and both clinical practices and research institutions are likely to face increasing storage demand as the file size increases for diagnostic imaging that includes:

  • Ultrasounds
  • CT Scans
  • MRI Scans
  • X-Rays
  • Echocardiograms
  • Computed tomography angiography
  • Tomosynthesis (3D mammography)

If your healthcare facility isn’t experiencing a storage deficit today, that doesn’t mean you won’t face an expensive storage problem in the near future—but StaaS offerings can help you address your storage needs quickly using OPEX.

Learn more about how other healthcare facilities use StaaS, contact an IPR team member

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