Home IT News The Know-how That’s Remaking OU Well being right into a High-Tier Medical Middle

The Know-how That’s Remaking OU Well being right into a High-Tier Medical Middle

The Know-how That’s Remaking OU Well being right into a High-Tier Medical Middle


I maintain each day standing conferences with varied teams inside our know-how crew, and the questions virtually at all times drifts to: “What’s as we speak’s problem?”  Generally that problem may be, “We are able to’t print at considered one of our ambulatory care amenities,” or “At the moment, we will’t ship diagnostic photographs to our distant Radiologists.” The assembly helps us to focus our consideration, and because the CTO of OU Well being in Oklahoma Metropolis, my job is to get rid of the problems that crop up on these conferences and work to reduce or get rid of these points repeating sooner or later.

To take action, we would have liked to deal with the foundation of the issue. This, together with our need to interchange our digital well being file and income cycle system, contributed to OU Well being’s resolution to utterly overhaul our IT infrastructure in help of our long-term organizational wants.

OU Well being strives to carry innovation to our sufferers. As an educational well being system, we function considered one of 71 Nationwide Most cancers Institute-designated most cancers facilities within the nation, Oklahoma’s solely Stage I trauma middle and the state’s highest degree NICU, providing high-quality affected person care and working scientific trials resulting in thrilling new therapies. Greater than fixing our each day complications, our IT overhaul will essentially rework how we handle our infrastructure and administer the enterprise and scientific methods we use to help our healthcare professionals and sufferers.

An entire revamp of a well being system’s IT infrastructure is a frightening job. To make use of a well-worn cliché, it’s like attempting to work on the engine of a transferring practice. The method has taken dedication and cautious planning, the work of my crew and the help of know-how companions like Cisco to place collectively and roll out an answer throughout OU Well being’s websites.

A Recent Begin, a Greenfield Community, and Some Limitations

I’ve had the privilege of working in healthcare IT for over 13 years. My earlier expertise contains serving because the VP of Know-how Structure at Cablevision for seven years and two years at Discovery because the SVP of Enterprise Structure, the place I gained a wealth of data in telecommunications and leisure. Following a six-month sabbatical, I had the chance to return to my earlier function, however I made a decision to make use of my experience to help others in a way more impactful method. Watching my spouse struggling for years together with her group’s IT as a household follow supplier and educator made me notice the difficulties that come up when coping with healthcare IT methods. Due to a good friend I had labored with earlier in my profession, I joined a healthcare consulting firm launching my profession in healthcare IT to assist physicians and sufferers obtain the very best outcomes in medical care.

OU Well being formally launched in July 2021, following a historic merger that mixed the College of Oklahoma Faculty of Medication school follow and OU Medication, Inc. (sole member, College Hospitals Belief) to create OU Well being — Oklahoma’s first totally built-in educational well being system. The merger aligned the OU Well being scientific enterprise with nationwide finest practices throughout the healthcare business and enabled the hospitals and clinics to change into one unified and cohesive group.

Since my arrival at OU Well being in March of 2022, I’ve labored intently with our IT management crew on the Epic migration undertaking. This initiative moved OU Well being to a brand new EHR system. To attain this, we deployed a greenfield answer, which concerned establishing new networks, methods, knowledge facilities and purposes, whereas preserving our legacy methods working.

Sadly, our surroundings was not in the very best form. It featured outdated gear, overlapping options, outdated code, unpatched gear, and extra, which induced quite a few challenges. Our community was additionally very gradual, which meant that it took 15 to half-hour for a radiologist to obtain X-rays and CAT scans at our distant areas.

This hindered workflows and induced frustration amongst our clinicians and hospital workers. They needed to name us at any time when one thing went improper, and we had no strategy to proactively monitor and restore our methods. When a hyperlink went down, we didn’t know easy methods to restore it. It was clear that an overhaul was mandatory to make sure that our healthcare professionals may concentrate on caring for his or her sufferers and never fear about technical points.

We Wished Redundancy, Resilience, and Efficiency—That Meant Cisco

Healthcare organizations are considerably conservative when procuring IT. We don’t search for the latest answer, nor can we have a look at the most cost effective. We don’t reduce prices as a result of sufferers’ lives are at stake. As a substitute, we have a look at essentially the most superior tried and true methods. We take this method when deciding on lab gear, imaging and diagnostic methods, surgical provides, and extra.

At OU Well being, we now have a long-standing relationship with Cisco, and our lead engineer holds CCIE Enterprise Infrastructure certification. Our inside undertaking supervisor additionally brings a long time of expertise in managing large-scale Cisco deployments. Everyone knows that Cisco can ship extremely performant, redundant and resilient infrastructure. Nevertheless, my job requires me to be goal, so I attend occasions like Gartner Summits and the annual HIMSS World Well being Convention & Exhibition to see what’s on the market. I’ve a superb grasp of the know-how panorama, and I’ve but to discover a companion that may ship on its guarantees like Cisco.

Hospitals are 24/7 establishments, and hospital infrastructure should totally help a never-down state of affairs.

After we created the specs for our new surroundings, we checked out three issues: excessive redundancy, excessive resilience, and excessive efficiency. OU Well being, like most healthcare organizations, runs 24 hours a day, seven days every week, and our infrastructure should totally help a never-down state of affairs. When it got here time to construct our new surroundings, we didn’t ask, “Why Cisco?” The actual query was, “Why not Cisco?”

Redefining Our Community with Software program-Outlined Networking

When it got here time to pitch our new infrastructure, the crew labored with Cisco’s community architects, exterior companions, and our inside lead architects. We put collectively a funding request and offered it to our board. We anticipated our executives to approve lower than what our budgeted request was, however as an alternative we got the inexperienced mild to construct the whole lot we had requested for – a state-of-the-art community and system surroundings that may put OU Well being on the map as a top-tier medical middle.

We constructed our new community on Cisco know-how. Its core layer is Cisco ACI (Utility Centric Infrastructure), a software-defined networking answer, to assist section our community. We constructed redundant high-speed hyperlinks all through our Huge Space Community (WAN) and a number of paths connecting our core community to our hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory methods. Then we now have a number of routers to deal with our software-defined community and segmentation. If a router or section fails, we divert visitors to another path.

We use Cisco ACI to route visitors to particular locations inside our community. An awesome instance is lab outcomes. Our lab gear doesn’t talk with the skin world, however our technicians should ship outcomes to our EMR. So, we’ve segmented the community to switch outcomes solely to particular servers that then add them to our data methods.

Affected person well being contains their healthcare knowledge, and we prioritize the safety round our sufferers’ protected well being data (PHI). We used ACI to create a firewalled zone for PHI and different delicate knowledge per HIPAA laws. Customers can solely entry that surroundings in the event that they’re performing a transaction requiring that data.

We additionally use Cisco UCS servers for scalable effectivity and agility, Cisco Id Companies Engine (ISE) for endpoint administration, and we go end-to-end on Cisco wi-fi options, consisting of Cisco Catalyst 9130AX and 9166 entry factors and 9800-80 controllers. As well as, we adopted Cisco VDI to combine a few of our legacy methods (working on historic machines) into our new infrastructure. Virtualizing these permits us to maintain them working till we’re capable of exchange the methods with out disrupting care.

Migrating Our Knowledge Facilities to Guarantee IT Transparency

Our three new knowledge facilities carry the load of our new community. Two of our knowledge facilities are energetic/energetic and mirror one another, splitting our workloads in two and with every facility working at 50% capability. Our third knowledge middle is for catastrophe restoration (DR) and has redundant hyperlinks to all our hospitals, clinics, and ambulatory methods. Ought to the unthinkable occur and our major knowledge facilities fail, the third knowledge middle will guarantee we stay operational.

One among our largest challenges and alternatives was migrating our methods and infrastructure to new, extra sustainable knowledge facilities. As a substitute of constructing our personal on-prem knowledge facilities, we determined to companion with a top-tier co-location facility who may host our knowledge facilities and decrease our footprint dramatically. We partnered with TierPoint, and had been one of many first purchasers at their new facility constructed with effectivity in thoughts. They architected the ability, cooling, HVAC, and constructing supplies to scale back their carbon footprint. We profit from strong redundancy and backup options, and the energy-efficient know-how helps decrease our working bills whereas defending the surroundings. Shifting our knowledge middle off-prem was considered one of our greatest enterprise and tech selections.

On June 3, 2023, OU Well being went dwell with Epic and our new infrastructure. We had already moved to our new major community in March 2023, however this was the ultimate take a look at. We’re already reaping the rewards of our new Cisco infrastructure. We’re now not fielding complaints about gradual Wi-Fi speeds, connection failures, community section outages and VPN points. OU Well being can entry what they want shortly, getting sufferers what they want sooner. I look ahead to sitting down with our care groups to seek out methods to broaden, innovate and construct on our new platform.

Cisco Is Serving to OU Well being Elevate Our Group

Earlier than lengthy, my IT crew will have the ability to leverage our new Cisco community to allow and execute OU Well being’s enterprise imaginative and prescient. We are able to combine new departments, areas, and amenities into our community sooner as a result of we anticipated the necessity to construct extra WAN connections and have a complete map of each present and future state. Previously, each community addition was a one-off occasion. However now, we will broaden our platform as wanted so as to add highly effective new purposes like knowledge analytics and inhabitants well being administration (PHM) instruments to combination affected person data throughout a number of methods and applied sciences. Now that we now have rolled out Epic, we now have a strong basis to assist us push the envelope of high quality affected person care and cutting-edge analysis.

The perfect minds gravitate to organizations that allow them add worth by supporting a enterprise imaginative and prescient as an alternative of fixing issues.

Our new Cisco infrastructure is a invaluable retention and recruitment device. Clinicians and researchers additionally need to work in high-tech environments. They would like user-friendly methods over combating digital varieties, drowning in infinite emails, or ready hours for medical photographs, take a look at outcomes, and trial and affected person knowledge. After they have essentially the most environment friendly instruments and IT works flawlessly, they will concentrate on their sufferers and analysis.

OU Well being is on a mission to raise and rework our group right into a top-tier educational well being system. Our management sees know-how as key to delivering on our imaginative and prescient and enterprise technique. We’re increasing our companies and analysis initiatives and can proceed to innovate in diabetes and most cancers care, pediatrics, and geriatrics. We need to make a distinction in Oklahoma and past by bringing the very best medical care to the populations we serve.




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