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Advanced Imaging Magazine

Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Managed Storage Services: The SSP Model

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By Mitch Goldburgh

At the heart of any healthcare digital infrastructure is the storage of patient data. In today’s marketplace, outsourcing storage management to a storage service provider (SSP) is an attractive option for many healthcare facilities. A SSP provides computer storage space and associated management services, including periodic backup, archiving, disaster recovery and consolidation of data from multiple locations to facilitate the sharing of data between sites.

With the ever-expanding volume of medical imaging data, due to the explosion of digital modalities and multi-slice CT along with the requirement to share data throughout a healthcare enterprise, a SSP provides a cost-effective, efficient secure, reliable and readily accessible solution.

The SSP Model

The success of the ASP model in the late 1990s as a viable solution for the increasing demands on storage provided the impetus for the creation of the SSP model. SSPs provide an immediate solution for facilities that are faced with an explosion of medical imaging data. An SSP such as InSiteOne charges a fee-per-study service for onsite and offsite archiving, storage and access. On-demand access to data is critical as well as complete integration with existing or future information systems. The value-add of working with a SSP is their staff and software to monitor data-storage infrastructure and resolve any issues that arise without impacting the daily operations of your clinical or IT department.

Data access using a SSP is comprised of two components—the workflow intelligence of the management software to assure data is onsite where needed and the speed of a wide area network (WAN). In selecting a SSP, consideration should be focused on balancing the onsite storage buffer with the data pipeline capacity. An SSP vendor should also provides between three and 12 months of online spinning media storage. Expectations for delivery of the first image in a scheduled study should be available with speeds defined by the clinical application software and the PACS/SSP archive should not impair workflow.

Disaster recovery for data storage should be a transparent service from the SSP. The solution should not require clinical users to change workflow because of redundant solutions. The SSP’s disaster recovery storage service can restore data at the site where a component failure occurred due to natural or other catastrophic event that destroys or makes unavailable the facility’s data center. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulates the creation of a disaster recovery plan and solution at any healthcare provider.

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