Northshore University HealthSystem counts on Logicalis
for specific technical skills to supplement their own IT team's
sophisticated abilities and connect it directly to the accumulated
technical knowledge within IBM.
It wasn't enough that the IT department at Northshore University
HealthSystem built a data center that allowed the three hospital
complex northwest of Chicago to be one of the first in the world to
accomplish a paperless medical records system–for which it was
recognized by the Healthcare Information Management Systems Society
with the prestigious Nicholas E. Davies Award in 2004.
Now it intends to build what amounts to an identical system at a
new data center in Skokie, IL and connect it using IBM's HACMP/XD
replication technology to ensure that no images are ever lost in
the radiology department, no electronic patient record ever goes
missing, and that recovering from a disaster at one data center or
the other amounts to no more than a minor interruption of service
for the more than 500 physicians employed by Northshore University
HealthSystem and the larger community of 1,700 physicians who admit
patients to its three hospitals.
Northshore University HealthSystem's award winning IT
infrastructure is an IBM mainframe and open systems environment
that it acquired and installed with the help of IBM Premier
Business Partner Logicalis. More than a reseller of hardware,
Logicalis brings a high level of professional services and
expertise to the relationship and has worked closely with
Northshore University HealthSystem since 2002. Northshore
University HealthSystem's Chief Information Officer Tom Smith says
he has counted on Logicalis for specific technical skills to
supplement his own IT team's sophisticated abilities and connect it
directly to the accumulated technical knowledge within IBM.
"There is often a Logicalis person on site helping us as a
technical rep when we've gone live with major projects," Smith
says. "We used Logicalis to help us make sure the plans we had for
running the DR process were technically feasible." Steve Foley,
Northshore's Assistant Vice President of Technical Services added,
"We wanted to be sure we could deliver to our physicians what we
thought we could. Once you take away paper charts and all the
records are electronic, people get very nervous about downtime.
That's why we needed a back up plan we can bring up in a short
period of time."
"We are doing some unique things on the networking side," says
Foley, "and we wanted to be sure we could synchronize data between
the two data centers."
The Skokie Data Center project - which also involved a search for a
suitable facility in the Chicago metropolitan area -- has been in
the making for more than a year. Logicalis worked with Northshore's
IT team to pre-configure equipment that moved into the new
"We have worked with Logicalis to get the equipment ordered and to
stage it," Foley says. "We know we are going to have to move
hardware to the new data center, but we want to use the technology
that will enable us to move the data electronically–as opposed to
physically–to keep downtime to a minimum."
"IBM products and Logicalis services have done two things for us,"
Smith says. "They have given us capacity and reliable productivity
on production systems during regular operations, and now with the
Skokie Data Center, we will have a redundant site for our key
patient care systems."
"The biggest technical advance for us was HACMP/XD," Foley says.
"That made us feel a lot more comfortable because it was something
we could do on an automatic basis, not just on a manual basis. We
don't want to have a problem and take 20 minutes calling people and
then another hour to figure out what's wrong. We just want it to
An acceptance of the need for a strengthened Business Continuity
plan by hospital physicians was key to making the commitment to the
Skokie project. "Once the Skokie Data Center is complete, a user's
PC will just re-connect and they will have all the data that was
there before on the other system," Smith says. "They'll be able to
do their medication ordering. They'll be able to see x-rays.
They'll be able to see all the lab results; everything they could
do before the outage. If everything goes right it won't make any
difference at all in the level of service to our physicians," he
adds, and then with some irony, "It's when things go wrong that the
DR site will help us."
"There is often a Logicalis person on site helping us as a technical rep when we've gone live with major projects. We used Logicalis to help us make sure the plans we had for running the DR process were technically feasible."
Tom Smith, CIO, Northshore University HealthSystem