Disaster Recovery is health industry’s biggest headache

BridgeHead’s worldwide survey of healthcare professionals reveals that 55% of the respondents list DR among their top three investment priorities for 2012. This is an increase of 11% over a similar survey last year.

It is not a surprising development given that, according to BridgeHead, 30% of the world’s storage is already found in healthcare. Reasons include increased medical imaging, moves towards ‘the paperless office’ involving retroactive scanning and archiving of historical records, and adoption of the electronic health record. The situation is then complicated by increasing government and regulatory pressure on how this data should be protected and still available after system outages, natural disasters, loss and theft.

The results of BridgeHead’s survey disclose a disquieting picture of the current situation. While 65% of respondents claimed that their organizations have DR in place, only 26% feel that they are ‘robust, tried and tested.’ And while 55% said that some applications had archiving abilities, only 16% said they have a full archiving policy that migrated data to the appropriate storage tiers.

Jim Beagle, CEO of BridgeHead Software, is sympathetic to the problem. Disaster recovery is becoming more of a priority, not less “largely due to the fact that hospitals continue to generate massive amounts of different types of data via a variety of information systems - from PACS and RIS to accounting and administration.” He believes that it is this diversity of records together with the sheer volume of data that makes it difficult for the health industry. Without an adequate understanding of the data involved, “it will be incredibly difficult - if not impossible - to implement an effective DR strategy that can reliably protect vital data in the case of a system outage, loss, corruption or disaster.”

BridgeHead’s full Healthcare Data Management Survey 2011 will be published next month.

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