Case Study

Kyoto Okamoto Memorial Hospital

Flagship hospital uses Stratus® everRun® to achieve high availability of its laboratory testing system while reducing operational burden

Kyoto Okamoto Memorial Hospital is a prominent healthcare facility that serves citizens in the Northern Yamashiro region of Kyoto in Honshu, Japan through comprehensive outpatient care, inpatient treatment, emergency care, disaster support, disaster care, rehabilitation, and other medical services. This community-based flagship hospital, which offers specialized and advanced care for both acute and chronic patients, maintains strong ties with other regional healthcare facilities to reinforce its medical care functions. Kyoto Okamoto Memorial Hospital is also designated as a disaster-base hospital with the capability to receive approximately 500 victims in the event of a catastrophe.

The challenge

As Kyoto Okamoto Memorial Hospital planned its move to a newly constructed building in 2016, the Information Systems (IS) Department decided to upgrade the in-house laboratory testing system to better meet the medical care needs of the region’s citizens. The hospital updated the CLINILAN GL-2 laboratory application testing system to run in a comprehensive, integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure with other mission-critical applications including electronic medical records (EMR).

When preparing to implement the CLINILAN system, reliability was a key concern. The hospital had previously experienced a malfunction in the main server of its high-availability cluster, which required the IS staff to manually switch to the standby equipment. This manual recovery process resulted in three to four hours of system downtime during which time the hospital’s electronic medical records were unavailable.

“At that time, we were able to keep our medical care going by manually filling out medical charts,” said Mr. Hidemasa Konishi, Head of the Healthcare Information & Information Systems Division at Kyoto Okamoto Memorial Hospital. “Today, however, many of our newer staff simply don’t have experience with doing that work manually, so we needed a highly reliable solution for preventing laboratory testing system downtime in the new facility.”

With this focus on reliability, the hospital’s IS staff set out to eliminate any single point of failure in the system infrastructure while minimizing costs, reducing operational burden, and ensuring high levels of availability.

“It was essential for the hospital to implement a solution that would prevent unplanned downtime—even if a hardware malfunction occurs—in order to maintain the service level of the linked testing systems including EMR, ordering, and health insurance claims,” added Mr. Konishi. “At the same time, we wanted an availability solution that would be quick and easy to install, manage, and support.”

“As a health partner for local citizens, Kyoto Okamoto Memorial Hospital is committed to continually enhancing its services to deliver advanced, high-quality care. By installing Stratus everRun, the hospital has improved system reliability and reduced operations management hours. The everRun solution allows us to operate and manage our laboratory testing system with peace of mind that it will always be available to support our dedicated staff and valued patients.”
Mr. Hidemasa Konishi
Head of the Healthcare Information & Information Systems Division
Kyoto Okamoto Memorial Hospital

The solution

When searching for the optimal downtime prevention solution, Mr. Konishi turned to SCSK Corporation, a systems integration firm that had been helping the hospital implement its ICT infrastructure and network. SCSK proposed Stratus® everRun®, a versatile, yet affordable high availability solution that combines with industry-standard x86 systems to protect virtualized applications and data. After conducting a thorough evaluation, the hospital determined that the everRun solution met its stringent requirements for availability, affordability, and operational simplicity.

The software-based everRun solution, which is installed quickly and easily via Ethernet, links two servers via a virtualization platform that pairs protected virtual machines to create one unified operating environment and eliminate single points of failure. The entire application environment, including data in memory, is constantly replicated by everRun, ensuring the hospital’s laboratory testing system stays up and running—without interruption or data loss. Even if a hardware malfunction occurs, the other server continues processing to prevent application downtime.

“High-availability mode allows everRun to restart automatically through failover, so hospital operations continue without work stoppages or data loss that could affect patient care,” explains Mr. Konishi. “everRun provides the reliability we need for our mission-critical applications.”

The results

SCSK delivered everRun-installed x86 servers for testing and preparation prior to the May 2016 go-live of the CLINILAN system in the new facility. The hospital’s IS staff performed verification tests on everRun with SCSK’s support and were impressed by the results.

“In a simulated malfunction test, the main system switched to the backup system and everything continued running without any indication that a malfunction had occurred,” said Mr. Konishi. “More importantly, everRun has delivered the same seamless reliability since our new laboratory testing system has been in live production.”

The hospital has been equally pleased with everRun’s cost and operational advantages. Since the everRun configuration does not require an external shared disk, there was no need to alter existing applications. In addition, the hospital’s IS staff can easily manage the entire everRun environment from a single, web-based interface.

“Because the everRun environment operates as a single system, it has significantly reduced our operation and support requirements,” concludes Mr. Konishi. “As a result, we can focus more time and effort on other strategic priorities that will benefit our patients and staff.”

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