Ken Willett

Healthcare IT, integration, and making patient care better

Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Cloud and the Storm

Like most of America, we at Ignis Systems were watching the development of hurricane Sandy over the weekend, and as it hit the East Coast late last Sunday. While we are located in Portland, Oregon, many of our clients are on the East Coast.

By Monday we were not only seeing the same news reports as everyone else, but were getting independent confirmation of how serious the situation was: our systems started alerting us that communications links to labs and medical practices were dropping in large numbers. This was largely a function of power outages, though we found out in some cases that there was major physical damage to some of these facilities.

As a provider of cloud-based lab and radiology applications, we were actually in a position to help. In one case, a lab who lost power at their data center was able to relocate their servers to another facility, and by creating an emergency VPN for them we were able to reconnect them to their practices. We also offered our web-based ordering and lab results review system to those practices whose EHRs were offline, so they could continue caring for patients.

This situation has been a forceful reminder of one of the key attributes of cloud technology: location independence. As providers and labs have scrambled to provide services from temporary locations, cloud-based services have continued to be available.

Of course, cloud services themselves need to be robust against disasters like this. At least one major EHR hosting provider lost power at their data center, affecting numerous hospitals on the East Coast. In our case, our cloud-based services are hosted by a global hosting partner with much more experience in disaster recovery than we have. We depend on them to keep us up no matter what.

As millions on the East Coast are trying to get back to normal, we were glad to be able to help in a small way to allow healthcare to continue during the disaster.