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Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg

Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg tackles growing complexity with new data management platform

Strong digitization within the hospital

Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg (ZOL) is a dynamic non-university hospital with 811 beds. Activities are spread over three campuses: campus Sint-Jan in Genk, campus Sint-Barbara in Lanaken and the Medical Center André Dumont in Waterschei. After the acquisition of the Maas en Kempen hospital in Maaseik, a fourth campus will soon be added.

Like most healthcare players, the hospital is confronted with a sharp increase in digital applications, both to manage building and operations, and patient-oriented tools such as the ‘Electronic Patient File’ (EPD). “This not only makes us more dependent on IT, but it also adds to the complexity of systems”, says Kurt Gielen, ICT Operations Manager at ZOL.

Due to the exponential growth in the amount of data, the hospital’s backup system was having an increasingly difficult time. Kurt Gielen: “When switching to the new the Electronic Patient File, we were still using traditional backup technology (tapes, classic hard disks, …) which was also divided over several data centers.” The challenge for the hospital was, on the one hand, to simplify its daily management and, on the other hand, to find a scalable solution that allowed the IT team to grow quickly and strongly in terms of capacity and performance.

The solution

To respond to this challenge, ZOL collaborated with Orange Cyberdefense. “For years, Orange Cyberdefense has been the hospital’s partner for our core network and security solutions. They have developed a backup solution based on this approach”, explains Kurt Gielen. This solution consists of two parts. A Rubrik solution that offers the capability to organize the backup of the hospital SLA policy-driven in a very simple way. And a 100% S3 compatible object storage solution of Cloudian is linked to this. This allows the hospital to scale, as it were, infinitely.

The advantages

Combining two technologies in one solution is not easy. Kurt Gielen: “But that is exactly the great advantage and added value of the collaboration with Orange Cyberdefense. They deliver the right expertise with skilled engineers and tie everything together to achieve a well-functioning entity.”

The advantages of the Rubrik solution are particularly noticeable in the greatly simplified daily management. It’s ‘set & forget’. In addition, the solution offers several new features that really assist the IT team in building a test and acceptance environment. One is Rubrik Live Mount with which databases can be made available very quickly for these purposes.

The great advantage of Cloudian is that, thanks to its modular and exabyte scalability, the hospital no longer has to worry about the archive and associated storage capacity. “We already have more than a petabyte of data in our archive and the standardized S3 solution of Cloudian enables us to scale infinitely. We can therefore continue to grow in the coming years in function of the hospital’s increasing needs in that area”, explains Kurt.

The results

The result of this new solution is a highly improved operational and technical functioning. The backup process is more automated. This means engineers, who previously worked on changing tapes and checking backups each day, now have time to spend on other projects (with greater added value).

In addition, the IT team can now do things that were impossible in the past or that took a long time. Setting up a test environment required 12 to 14 hours. Today, that takes only a few minutes. Kurt: “And although patients and doctors are not directly linked to this solution, it does help us to secure their data or to use their confidential data in a secure way.”

The future

This new solution is the foundation of our future-oriented data management strategy. “We see that cybersecurity and the backup story are increasingly converging as backup is a central point where all data comes together. This gives us the opportunity to analyze data and identify anomalies. That’s the next step we want to take”, concludes Kurt Gielen.

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