Massena Memorial Hospital has plans to spend more than $1 million on upgrades to its information technology systems.
The hospital’s board of managers last week approved the five-year spending plan, which CEO Robert G. Wolleben said will improve security, patient care and the hospital’s ability to collaborate with neighboring medical facilities.
“We are making major investments in IT improvements to improve the care of patients and improve security,” he said. “We view this as a really important part of making sure our patient care is advanced.”
Of the approximately $1.5 million approved by the board, about $380,000 will be used
to upgrade the hospital’s medical imaging software.
Moving away from traditional film imaging, the hospital will begin using software from Fuji and VidiStar to bring all medical images onto digital platforms, allowing physicians to access X-rays, mammograms, ultrasounds and other images securely.
The rest of the money will be used to enter a five-year contract with CloudWave, a health care IT company that provides hospitals and other medical facilities with server space in the cloud.
Not only will moving to the cloud allow Massena Memorial to communicate better internally, but it will also prime the hospital for better region wide collaboration, Wolleben said.
“We’re working very hard on converting from a municipal facility to a 501(c)(3), and as part of that we’re also looking at affiliation possibilities,” he said. “We want to make sure we’re in the best position possible for that.”
Switching from an in-house server to a cloud-based one will upgrade the hospital’s server to a Windows 2012 operating system, which Chief Information Officer Jana M. Grose said is one of the latest systems available.
“Health care software versions typically run a couple years behind,” she said. “Now that the technology is catching up with where the operating systems need to be, this is just going to move us into the future faster.”
As part of the hospital’s deal with CloudWave, all future software upgrades will be performed automatically, saving the hospital time and money.
“It makes it a lot easier for us to manage,” Wolleben said. “When you manage IT at your local site, you’re always questioning whether you should upgrade. That decision will now be in the hands of CloudWave, so we don’t have to worry about it all that much.”
Wolleben estimates that outsourcing this process will save the hospital about $350,000 over five years.
Medical data will also be more secure with CloudWave than it would be in-house, he said. CloudWave has redundant backup drives based in Boston, Mass., and Austin, Texas.
“Our systems are going to be monitored and managed by a company that is an expert,”
Wolleben said. “By moving everything into the cloud, it really prevents the loss of information in the event of a power outage or other event.”
Some of the hospital’s systems, such as its employee email, are already on the cloud. Network administrator Abe E. Bejjani said this works well, and he is looking forward to moving completely into the cloud.
“We’ve had great success with it,” he said. “Our storage and email is on the cloud and it’s more secure than it ever could be here. All of this investment is going to put us ahead of everyone else around us.”
Wolleben said the hospital plans to renegotiate its contract with Cloud Wave in year four of the agreement.