Qld’s biggest hospitals cluster sees clearly through the cloud

A MAJOR Queensland hospital and health service has adopted leading ‘cloud’ technologies to reduce costs while improving patient care.

Queensland’s Metro North Hospital and Health Service has used its increased information technology capacity – through the cloud – to launch a next-generation electronic referral management system and clinical portal.

The system Metro North Hospital is implementing comes from Nasdaq-listed Nutanix, an innovator in applying enterprise cloud computing to a wide range of industries and a specialist which has strong expertise in health sector IT.

The Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform is being utilised to both reduce costs and develop new digital services to improve patient care. Another benefit in the early stages has been in the way Nutanix has improved the flexibility of delivering clinical information systems. 

Metro North Hospital and Health Service (MNHHS) treats more than 600,000 patients annually and is made up of five hospitals including Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, The Prince Charles Hospital, Redcliffe, Caboolture and Kilcoy Hospitals in Brisbane’s north. 

Metro North’s solutions architect Antony Batrouni said the consolidation meant going from four data centres to one highly resilient primary site with a remote disaster recovery site.

“We needed something that could scale quickly to meet the demands of a much larger organisation, and that’s when we selected Nutanix,” Mr Batrouni said.

He said the additional IT capability achieved with Nutanix had enabled a commensurate platform for digital services to be implemented within the hospital group. It deployed the MNHHS electronic Referral Management system and Enterprise Service Bus, which would be extended for broader clinical services in the near term. These systems require high performance and availability as expected by clinical services.

Mr Batrouni said the types of systems MNHHS was launching now were more complex than ever before, with a development operations (devops) team focused on developing innovative services for clinicians to enable them to provide better care to patients.

“Nutanix ensures these services are reliable and can be turned into a platform faster than ever before,” Mr Batrouni said.
Nutanix has also enabled Metro North to make significant cost savings in database management systems (DBMS) licensing fees and a total reduction in cost of almost 50 percent per virtual machine (VM) deployed.

“In a hospital environment, any cost savings made in areas such as IT are then available to be invested back into patient care,” Mr Batrouni said.

He said with the Nutanix platform, MNHHS  was looking to new technology to bring additional services to benefit patients, such as advanced medical imaging. Overall, the platform has led to increased performance, higher availability and improved disaster recovery design across the 800 applications used daily by staff.

According to Mr Batrouni, the platform is supporting around four times its previous workload and with additional capacity to spare. This means a better user experience and mitigated impact to clinical staff and patients if there are any outages or other issues, he said. 

Nutanix was selected by Metro North primarily due to its maturity and leadership in the enterprise cloud and ‘hyperconverged’ infrastructure space, as well as its compatibility with Dell. The organisation has incrementally increased its environment since the initial deployment and uses virtually all Nutanix’s products and services. MNHHS is considering using the Nutanix hypervisor AHV in the near future.

“Health organisations and the patients they care for can gain huge benefits from digital transformation,” said Nutanix Asia-Pacific and Japan region’s senior vice president, Matt Young.

“To realise that potential, you need the right infrastructure in place to manage it. Metro North is using enterprise cloud technology to save costs and develop digital services that have real benefits for clinicians and patients.”




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