Monash Health has migrated its data centre operations into a co-located setup at Fujitsu's Noble Park facility as it lays the groundwork for the introduction of electronic medical records.
The organisation incorporates the Monash Medical Centre Clayton, Monash Children’s Hospital, Dandenong Hospital, Casey Hospital and Moorabbin Hospital.
The state-owned public health operator provides services to 1.3 million people living across Melbourne’s outer south-eastern suburbs.
Monash Health chief information officer Philip Nesci told iTnews around 20 racks of equipment handling patient data, email, data storage and SANs were relocated from its previous on-premise facility as part of last month's move.
The organisation opted for a co-location model inside the Fujitsu facility but is taking a longer-term transition to infrastructure-as-a-service, Nesci said.
“As you can imagine, dealing with patient data, the data centre needs to be secure and scalable, and we’re not in the business of building data centres," he said.
“Before [the migration] we were in an ageing data centre that couldn’t scale to Monash Health’s needs, and the security of health records was a crucial factor in determining the move.
“It’s the largest move we’ve ever done."
Maintaining service continuity was of great importance during the migration given the critical health systems Monash Health delivers.
“Obviously, first and foremost, we wanted to make sure there were no operational interruptions. We have emergency department systems, pathology systems, patient administration systems, diagnostic imaging systems. We made sure there were no interruptions to patient care in the move," Nesci said.
Electronic health records project
The data centre move was partly necessitated by the health provider's introduction of electronic health records.
Late last year, Monash Health was given $40 million in funding by the Victorian state government to start its implementation of e-records and associated electronic medications management system.
“There will be a single record for each of patients across all our facilities," Nesci said.
“The vision is one patient, one record, one place. It’s transformative in terms of clinical care.
“Clinicians will lead the selection of software and we will engage with patients in the design, as well as our partners that provide the complimentary care, in the patient journey."
Nesci is taking lessons from similar rollouts to avoid the kind of budget blowout that has plagued projects such as at Western Australia's Fiona Stanley Hospital.
“The first thing we did is look at lessons learnt at major projects from the US, EU, Australia and Asia. We spoke to teams of clinicians in all those places and looked at clinical success factors," he said.
The main message he took was to implement strong governance.
“The chief medical officer, and I as chief information officer, are very critically engaged. Our CEO chairs the steering committee, so there’s very high level engagement," Nesci said.
“We recruited a chief medical information officer and chief nursing information officer, and also recruited an experienced project director – and we did a global search to fill those roles.
“We will be doing independent project quality assurances and have all the processes that are critical to managing a project of this size and complexity."