Your world isn’t limited to up, down, and sideways – so why is your imaging platform? Flexibly scale in all directions, like super-stretch Armstrong.
Growing populations, ageing baby boomers, advances in imaging technologies, and ongoing mergers and acquisitions between health systems, community hospitals, and independent clinics have elevated the importance of system scalability in Enterprise Imaging and PACS replacement projects. Ensuring your next technology platform will be able to efficiently and cost-effectively accommodate your unique growth rate and style calls for careful evaluation of the following considerations:
- Vertical vs. horizontal scalability: Traditional (aka legacy) software is typically vertically scalable, which means it needs to be pre-provisioned to accommodate projected exam and user volumes as well as anticipated data usage patterns (for example by data analytics applications or artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, etc). When growth and demand exceed capacity things can get a little ugly; performance often slows over time and storage and hardware replacement, database migrations, downtime, and other invasive and costly interventions are often required. Not only is it difficult to accurately forecast growth rates in today’s rapidly evolving ecosystem, it’s nearly impossible when you start tossing in various non-DICOM service lines where image volumes, types, are influenced by the rate and degree of user adoption, which usually means new systems are either over or under provisioned – and in either case ends up costing more than it needs to. Be sure your next imaging platform can scale horizontally – meaning it can accommodate on-demand growth in real-time without requiring new infrastructure, hardware, or downtime.
- Vendor-prescribed vs. commodity hardware: You have likely made significant investments in your physical infrastructure over time, and therefore it’s also likely that you would like to realize as much value from these investments as possible. When shopping for a new Enterprise Imaging or PACS platform be sure the technology is hardware agnostic – meaning it can be deployed on any hardware infrastructure, allowing you to avoid purchasing all new (expensive) pre-prescribed hardware from your vendor and by leveraging as much of your existing storage, servers, and desktop workstations as possible (provided, of course, that they meet or exceed the vendor’s recommended specifications).
- Virtualization: Another way to ensure your infrastructure can flexibly and efficiently scale is to ensure your next imaging platform can be fully virtualized. In addition to avoiding vendor-prescribed hardware, virtualization reduces capital and operational IT costs and enables faster and more agile provisioning of applications and resources as system demand grow – all while providing more robust business continuity infrastructure and reducing (if not eliminating) downtime.
Are you in the market for an Enterprise Imaging platform? We can help you separate truth from fiction and select a strategy, technology, and vendor that will best fit your organizational capabilities and needs. Contact us to setup a meeting at RSNA 2019.
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