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Healthcare data storage options

A patient's medical history can include charts, images and physicians' notes. Finding the most efficient way to store these different types of data is a unique challenge for hospitals.

Introduction

Healthcare organizations are increasingly becoming inundated with data.

According to a 2014 IDC report, the volume of healthcare data in 2013 was 153 exabytes -- one exabyte equals a billion gigabytes. That number is projected to skyrocket to 2,314 exabytes by 2020.

When faced with this mountain of data -- 80% of which is unstructured -- one of the most pressing questions healthcare organizations must ask is how to store it all. While traditional disk-based healthcare data storage may be a viable option for smaller organizations, larger hospitals or health systems will need options that can handle data in the terabytes or petabytes.

Fortunately, there are options available for organizations that need to store large amounts of data. The cloud is still a popular choice, but flash is also beginning to gain ground as a storage option. Emerging blockchain technology is also being considered as a healthcare data storage option, although there may be hurdles to overcome first.

1Healthcare data storage tips-

Data storage advice for healthcare organizations

Different healthcare organizations will have different storage needs depending on the amount and kind of data to be stored. However, healthcare executives can look to other industries, such as retail, for tips on how to handle data storage. Executives should also keep regulatory requirements like HIPAA in mind when deciding on a healthcare data storage option.

Tip

Retail industry offers lessons for healthcare data storage

The retail industry uses data analytics and storage to learn more about their customers; with the proper storage method, the healthcare industry could do the same and improve patient outcomes. Continue Reading

Tip

Choose the right storage tech to remain agile

Tiered storage may have worked for healthcare organizations in the past, but one CTO explains why the technology makes it difficult for physicians to access patient information efficiently. Continue Reading

Feature

Consider organizational needs for data storage

Healthcare data storage needs vary from organization to organization, but health IT executives should take regulatory requirements and stakeholder needs into consideration before choosing a storage option. Continue Reading

Feature

Disaster recovery critical for keeping healthcare organizations online

One health system uses a mix of storage options for disaster recovery, such as cloud and data centers, to retain access to health data in case of a cyberattack or network outage. Continue Reading

Tip

Form a health data storage plan before choosing technology

Health data storage is moving away from spinning disks to newer technology like flash and the cloud, but organizations should define the problem they want to solve -- such as speed of access or maintenance -- before choosing a storage option. Continue Reading

2Flash forward to the future-

Flash storage technology gains popularity

Flash is quickly becoming a viable alternative to disk- and cloud-based storage options. While the technology is fairly new in healthcare, it offers several benefits, such as low latency and instant access to data. Flash also offers nearly 100% uptime, so healthcare organizations don't have to worry about losing access to data in an outage.

Feature

Flash storage gains steam as cloud alternative

As the amount of healthcare data continues to grow, flash is outpacing the cloud as a storage option. Flash technology can provide faster access to information at a lower cost. Continue Reading

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Imaging innovations require new storage methods

The CTO of a storage company predicts that innovations and regulations will change the way imaging data is stored -- and flash is the likely replacement for traditional storage methods. Continue Reading

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Storage tech can improve speed and quality of patient care

Flash allows healthcare organizations to gain access to information much more quickly than disk-based storage. That can also help providers deliver better care for patients. Continue Reading

3Blockchain for storage-

Blockchain as a healthcare data storage option

Blockchain has recently become one of the buzziest buzzwords in health IT; the technology is being touted as a possible solution for some of the biggest challenges in healthcare, such as interoperability and data exchange. However, some in health IT are considering the feasibility of blockchain as a healthcare data storage option as well.

Answer

How does blockchain affect health data storage?

Healthcare is still exploring the potential uses of blockchain, but one analyst said the emerging technology may not be suitable for storing large image files like X-rays or other scans. Continue Reading

Podcast

Government conference debates merits of blockchain

At a joint NIST-ONC conference, health IT experts discussed the pros and cons of blockchain in healthcare. One possible use for the technology that was up for discussion was blockchain for health data storage. Continue Reading

Tip

How blockchain could aid in PHI exchange

Since healthcare data comes in a variety of formats, it could be difficult to use blockchain to store it. But ONC posited that blockchain could be used to maintain the links to medical records without actually storing the data on the network. Continue Reading

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