Healthcare

Embracing Healthier Data Platforms for Better Pediatric Care

Children’s Health — one of the country’s largest pediatric healthcare systems — handles its data with the same consideration as the hundreds of patients its doctors examine each day. Just like every individual the organization treats, after all, patient medical records and other sensitive information require ongoing care and protection.

But getting to that point in a secure and seamless manner called for trusted support.

Transferring tethered data management systems and outdated payment platforms to a uniform cloud-based service required a strategic approach, one less familiar to the private nonprofit than pediatric health, wellness, and acute care services.

So when Chris Akeroyd, SVP of Information Services and Chief Information Officer at Children’s Health, joined the organization seven years ago he started to tackle a key objective: Overhauling cumbersome and cost-heavy infrastructure that was becoming unsustainable in the face of growing pressures across the medical industry to cut spending.

That need came on top of rising cybersecurity threats and rapidly changing payment systems — real-life factors impacting so many healthcare providers around the country.

For years, Children’s Health had been using a tier structure with a central server attached to physical storage devices and myriad computer network components. With that architecture seemingly cemented in place, hardware and software maintenance costs and security risks would always pose tangible threats to the health and wellbeing of the organization and its patients.

“We had a large push from our board of directors at that point to do something different,” said Akeroyd, who oversees internal systems, including healthcare technology and cybersecurity management, for the entire organization.

Children’s Health looked to longtime partner VMware to take advantage of our Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) solutions, tailored for private, public, and hybrid cloud uses. VMware’s SDDC offerings enable a fully automated and zero-downtime process by extending virtualization concepts such as abstraction, pooling, and automation, to any application or hardware.  

For Children’s Health, the migration to SDDC led to more than $20 million in savings on top of secure and seamless data management now and in the future.

In full support of each customer’s daily performance and IT efficiency, SDDC components can be implemented all at once or in phases. Additionally, organizations can leverage our VMware vSAN storage and VMware NSX virtual network services to create robust cloud-based infrastructure that runs quickly and securely, assuring patients and customers remain the focus of every engagement.

It’s not just a technological leap, it’s an ongoing relationship to ensure the smoothest transformation for all users across dozens of industries, both public and private.

One of the greatest data challenges for countless U.S. healthcare providers is figuring out how to safely and efficiently migrate deeply entrenched, and often archaic, data systems to the cloud. As the medical industry increasingly grapples with data mismanagement and cybersecurity threats, while trying to stay on top of the latest payment models, it’s critical that all healthcare providers have the means to adapt to cleaner systems.

Inaccurate, incomplete, and inconsistent data — often referred to as “dirty data” — could cost the U.S. more than $3 trillion a year, as IBM famously estimated in 2016. At the same time, a record 45 million people were impacted by healthcare-related cyberattacks in 2021, according to cybersecurity firm Critical Insight.

In June, for example, reports found that an estimated 2 million patients who received care at nearly 60 healthcare facilities in New England may have had their personal data exposed in a cyberattack this year.

In today’s highly digital environment, security and cost management often go hand in hand.

“The move to SDDC allowed us to significantly change the architecture of our data center,” Akeroyd noted. “And it got us out of the game of buying high-priced equipment that required extensive capital refreshes every three to four years.”

Through its academic affiliation with UT Southwestern Medical Center, Children’s Health is a leader in life-changing treatments, innovative technologies, and ground-breaking research. For more than a century, its mission has been to make life better for children. The organization, which remains dedicated to connected and patient-focused care, is consistently recognized among the country’s top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.

At VMware, we couldn’t be prouder to work with such a vital healthcare provider and we look forward to future multi-cloud partnerships with other customers in the medical field and beyond.

Hear more from Chris Akeroyd, CIO, Children’s Health, recently joined by Bill Russell, Founder of This Week Health in this on-demand webinar: Delivering Better Patient Experience with Modern Digital Infrastructure.

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