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Research Diagnoses the Underlying Causes of Healthcare Data Upsurge


Medical Images and Advances Towards The Electronic Patient Record (Including Scanning of Historical Documents) to Blame for Majority of Hospital Data Volumes Increasing This Year

Ashtead, UK – 25th May 2010 – Research from a global survey by BridgeHead Software, the Healthcare Storage Virtualization (HSV) company, has revealed that medical images, scanned documents, email and advances towards the Electronic Patient Record (EPR – also known as the Electronic Health Record (EHR)) are the likely causes for the upsurge in healthcare data that is already challenging hospitals and set to grow further in the foreseeable future.

BridgeHead Software logo
BridgeHead Software logo

Results from the Data Management Healthcheck 2010 – a global survey into the healthcare industry’s ongoing strategies for managing their IT systems – found that over two-thirds (69 percent) of healthcare organisations expected their data volumes to increase this year. Less than six percent expected data volumes to stay constant and one percent expected data volumes to decrease.

The majority (65 percent) of respondents who expected their data volumes to increase said PACS imaging files were the main culprits, followed by EPR files (45.5 percent) and scanned documents, e.g. proof of insurance and healthcare proxy (43 percent).

Significantly, 84 percent of respondents said over half their healthcare organisations’ data was over six months old. Yet only 26 percent claimed to have a full archiving capability that migrated content to the appropriate storage tiers as dictated by their pre-defined policies.

The research also discovered that over 44 percent of hospitals were managing over 5TB on a primary store. Only 12 percent said they were managing less than 1TB on a primary store.

“The evidence speaks for itself,” said John McCann, Director of Marketing at BridgeHead Software. “Data volumes are increasing as the world of healthcare continues to embrace the digital age. A troubling trend we’ve noticed, however, is that some healthcare organisations are not paying due attention to their data management and storage solution strategies. Many of the hospitals’ IT infrastructures are not geared up to handle the rise in data resulting from the increased use of medical images, the continued move towards the Electronic Health Record (including historical document scanning) and the massive upsurge in office-based computing e.g. emails, spreadsheets, word processing documents. Many are ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away, while others are implementing quick fixes that resolve the issue for now, but are not future-proof. As data volumes continue to grow, some organisations will find their challenges gradually become harder—not easier—to resolve.”   

McCann added, “However, savvy healthcare IT professionals recognise that underpinning their digital environments with a robust data management and storage strategy can not only help maximise the full value of their clinical information, but can also help them save time, reduce costs, lower carbon emissions from their IT infrastructures, and, ultimately, improve patient care.

“BridgeHead Software’s Healthcare Storage Virtualization (HSV is a technology platform that decouples applications from the storage device and creates common pools of shareable storage hardware that can be accessed as needed, regardless of the application or data type. HSV is a vendor-agnostic platform that underpins the EPR, allowing healthcare organisations to take full control and ownership of their clinical data regardless of supposed obligations to other storage and imaging vendors.”

BridgeHead Software first introduced Healthcare Storage Virtualization to UK audiences at Health Informatics Congress (HC2010) in Birmingham this April. “Healthcare Storage Virtualization embodies our ethos of supporting and underpinning the electronic patient record and empowering IT at hospitals of all sizes to meet growing storage needs without compromising on current hardware brand or media type,” explained BridgeHead Software’s CEO, Tony Cotterill. “HSV provides the essential foundation for intelligent storage supporting all applications across the entire hospital – from archiving DICOM images from the PACS system to scanning documents for the EPR system.”

At HC2010, BridgeHead Software also released results from the Data Management Healthcheck’s section devoted to green IT.  The survey found that less than a quarter of respondents’ hospitals had a specific CO2 reduction target. Just 16 percent monitored energy consumption across their IT infrastructures on a regular basis, and less than three percent claimed to use a carbon-offset scheme to target data centre carbon emissions.


Data Management Healthcheck 2010
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Media Contacts

Rose Ross
+44 208 255 5225
+44 7976 154597

Elizabeth S. Glaser
Dodge Communications

About BridgeHead Software
BridgeHead Software, the Healthcare Storage Virtualization (HSV) company, offers a scalable, future-proof platform to overcome rising data volumes and increasing storage costs while delivering peace of mind around the access, availability and protection of critical electronic patient data.

Trusted by more than 1,000 hospitals worldwide, BridgeHead Software solves healthcare organisations’ backup, recovery and archiving challenges. BridgeHead’s HSV solutions are designed to operate with any hospital’s chosen software applications and storage hardware, regardless of vendor. This presents healthcare organisations with more choice, flexibility and control over the way data is accessed, protected and managed. The net effect – better utilisation of hardware resources and, more importantly, the efficient distribution, availability and use of vital healthcare data.

To learn more about BridgeHead Software, visit 

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About Healthcare Storage Virtualization (HSV)
Healthcare Storage Virtualization is a technology platform that decouples software applications from the physical storage hardware on which the application data resides. By separating these applications from the storage device/s, healthcare organisations have a lot more choice, flexibility and control over the way data is accessed, protected and managed. The net effect – better utilisation of hardware resources and, more importantly, the efficient access and use of critical electronic patient data.

HSV allows healthcare organisations to take ownership of their data even though it may reside on disparate software and hardware systems. Being vendor-agnostic, BridgeHead HSV has the ability to interface with any storage platform intelligently, creating better and broader availability of content as well as prohibiting unwanted access and providing comprehensive disaster recovery capability.

In addition, BridgeHead HSV technology offers powerful connectivity to all storage media types. As part of its advanced data protection and archiving features, HSV allows files to be transformed (e.g. compressed and de-duplicated) invisibly in the background, irrespective of media type and functionality, vastly reducing the capacity required across the storage real estate and often delaying the need for hardware upgrades.

Finally, BridgeHead’s focus on healthcare lies at the heart of HSV. Consequently, all of the common native standards found within healthcare IT are supported e.g. HL7, DICOM XDS style interfaces etc. This support allows speedy integration of the HSV solution resulting in a more rapid return on investment.