Seattle Children’s migrates Epic EHR application to Virtustream Healthcare Cloud - Intelligent CIO North America
Seattle Children’s migrates Epic EHR application to Virtustream Healthcare Cloud

Seattle Children’s migrates Epic EHR application to Virtustream Healthcare Cloud

Seattle Children’s leverages Virtustream’s expertise to successfully migrate EHR application to the cloud while working completely remotely due to pandemic-related restrictions.

Virtustream, an enterprise-class cloud company and Dell Technologies business, has announced that Seattle Children’s successfully unified two distinct electronic health record (EHR) platforms into a single Epic system on the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud.

With expert support provided by Virtustream’s xStreamCare Services for EHR Platform, the newly unified system provides secure and easy access to patient data across the Epic platform for thousands of clinicians and staff members with increased efficiency and more predictable lower costs.

Seattle Children’s specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. It is one of the largest children’s hospitals in the US and provides services throughout 46 locations in Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.

Dr Zafar Chaudry, Senior Vice President and CIO, Seattle Children’s

Dr Zafar Chaudry, Senior Vice President and CIO, Seattle Children’s, said: “Now is the time for clinical systems to securely and efficiently run in the cloud. The Virtustream Healthcare Cloud enables Seattle Children’s to focus on our rapidly changing business needs and, most importantly, on our patient care priorities.

“Virtustream’s expertise and mission-critical cloud platform allow us to be more agile and scale faster in ways that traditionally took too long and were too expensive. Virtustream played a key role in our successful migration to Epic during a very hectic time for our healthcare system as we dealt with work-from-home requirements and more pressing issues related to the pandemic, and I’ve come to greatly value our trusted partnership.”

Completed late last year, the EHR consolidation and migration project included a Cerner EHR application running in the Cerner cloud and the Epic Revenue Cycle application running on-premises.

The move provides all of Seattle Children’s physical and remote locations with secure and efficient unified access to health records. About 3,500 clinicians and staff members are using the Epic system concurrently today on the highly secure Virtustream Healthcare Cloud to view patient health information and refer patients.

With this number expected to grow to 5,000 and beyond, Virtustream’s cloud solution has been designed to enable easy agility and scalability based on the health system’s plans for future growth.

While working completely remotely, Virtustream’s Xstreamcare services drive successful cloud migration of Cerner and Epic EHR applications to single, unified Epic system

Due to the on-going requirements of the pandemic, Virtustream’s consultants and Seattle Children’s IT staff migrated the health system’s data completely virtually from multiple remote locations.

Merging two separate EHR systems can be a complex project, especially when they are running in two different operating environments. In this case, it was also imperative that staff continue to have uninterrupted access to critical patient and business records during the migration.

Unifying Seattle Children’s two distinct platforms on the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud helped the health system achieve more predictable costs and reduce capital expenditures by consuming infrastructure as a service on an as-needed basis.

The hospital selected Virtustream, which works with several leading healthcare organizations, because its healthcare cloud is designed to help healthcare organizations address HIPAA/HITECH and SOC2+HITRUST compliance.

Furthermore, Virtustream’s security management and monitoring services provide an additional layer of enterprise-level protection for Seattle Children’s data and applications. And, finally, the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud provides availability service-level agreements up to 99.999% at the infrastructure level, or less than six minutes of unplanned downtime a year.

With xStreamCare Services, Virtustream operates and manages the infrastructure for the hospital’s Epic EHR system as well as many other ancillary and supporting applications. This empowers the hospital’s internal IT staff to focus on other strategic projects, including patient care initiatives.

For example, with Virtustream managing the cloud, the internal IT team is able to focus on more patient-centric priorities, including real-time analytics to help manage the business, track infection rates, view patient queues and provide secure access across the health system.

Dr Tim Calahan, Director of Healthcare Product Strategy and Management, Virtustream, said: “Our goal is always to be our customers’ most strategic IT partner. With Seattle Children’s, Virtustream has stepped in to provide a highly efficient, agile and scalable cloud solution supported by our enterprise-class security, compliance and expert managed services that every healthcare organization should demand in these times.”

We asked Dr Zafar Chaudry, Senior Vice President and CIO, Seattle Children’s, further questions to find out more.

Why was it so important for Seattle Children’s to successfully unify two distinct EHR platforms into a single Epic system on the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud?

Our key drivers were the simplification and standardization of our EHR to a single system with a single version of the truth for our clinicians for decision making. Our drivers to partner with Virtustream were that we didn’t want to be in the EHR hosting business anymore; we wanted to partner with a vendor that had the scale and skillsets backing them. We wanted a fixed pricing strategy per year, a guaranteed SLA and the ability to ramp up at any time in an agile way. We also wanted to keep our EHR data out of our data centers for added security and resilience.

What are the advantages of having a unified system that provides secure and easy access to patient data?

The advantages are better system performance; managed service so we don’t get involved; fixed costs per year; ability to grow the system on the fly; no hardware to buy; no need to hire skilled Epic resources in-house.

How has Virtustream Healthcare Cloud enabled Seattle Children’s to focus on its changing business needs?

We no longer have to think about the Epic system. From hardware to maintenance to upgrades, we no longer worry about these issues. We now focus our SMEs on the software configuration and utilization itself.

Can you explain how Virtustream has allowed Seattle Children’s to become more agile and to scale faster?

Virtustream handles all technical upgrades, hardware, support and maintenance. They can grow our system almost immediately. We can now focus on the clinical side of the system. Prior to using Virtustream It would take months to add capacity, storage, CPU and we were only able to do a single upgrade per year with four hours of downtime. Now we can do four a year with one hour of downtime per upgrade.

How secure do you find the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud?

Virtustream complies with our required healthcare security protocols and are fully signed off by our internal security team. We can actively test Disaster Recovery (DR). They stay up-to-date and train their staff accordingly. We no longer have to do these things.

How did you overcome some of the challenges faced over the migration process?

Migration was a multidisciplinary collaborative effort between Virtustream and ourselves. Virtustream’s project management and communication was excellent and good communication helped to overcome any teething pains.

How has unifying two distinct platforms on the Virtustream Healthcare Cloud helped achieve more predictable costs?

We now have a clear fixed annual pricing model, predictable for the next five years.

How has the solution fulfilled the needs of your IT team, medical staff and patients?

Our partnership with Virtustream to date has been fruitful. We now focus on driving the benefits of the software without worrying about the uptime. We’ve achieved 99.999% uptime in the first year – high availability means less clinical risk and better access for clinical staff to practice safely.

How has the solution coped with the compliance and healthcare regulations that you have to manage?

The Virtustream solution has been in full compliance to date. We’ve been live for 12 months and it has remained stable and available.

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