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Middle Tennessee Ear, Nose and Throat Diagnoses I/O Latency and Administers FlashSoft Software for the Cure

FlashSoft software enables Middle Tennessee Ear, Nose and Throat to fully utilize their existing IT infrastructure to deliver the performance improvements necessary to provide a better patient experience and continue to grow their business.

Infrastructure with FlashSoft

The infrastructure with FlashSoft software deployed includes:

  • Physical server(s): Intel® Xeon® E3-1240, 16GB RAM
  • OS(s): Windows Server® 2008 R2
  • Storage: Direct Attach 500GB RAID10 Array on Adaptec RAID 6405 card with 4GB Cache
  • SSD: Intel X25-E 32GB
  • Application: EMR System running on MySQL DB

Challenge

Middle Tennessee Ear, Nose & Throat (MTENT) is a full-service medical, surgical, and audiological practice. The clinic serves thousands of patients annually, and maintains medical records for tens of thousands of patients treated at the clinic over the past twenty years. Head of IT Support, Christopher Williams manages the team responsible for the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure for the clinic, including servers, storage, and applications for business operations, medical records management, and digital images.

To provide faster, more comprehensive service to their patients, the practice chose to migrate to a paperless records system. This presented a significant concern for Christopher and his team, because even with traditional paper records the servers and storage systems for the clinic’s electronic medical records was already under-performing.

“The performance and responsiveness of the systems was inconsistent depending on what else the server might be processing at the time of the requests. Doctors and staff regularly endured delays when retrieving patient information and often experienced the ‘white screen of death,’” said Christopher. This “white screen of death” occurred whenever the medical records application server was forced to wait for information to be retrieved from storage. The delay would take so long that the application would display a blank white screen until the record appeared. Sometimes the data would eventually be retrieved and displayed, but many times doctors and staff simply had to cancel the request and try again. This kind of application behavior is a typical symptom of I/O latency between the storage system and the application on the server.

Christopher knew that unless he resolved the I/O latency bottleneck for the medical records system, the delays would continue, and the clinic’s systems would not support the growth of the practice or the transition to a paperless electronic medical record system. Christopher was familiar with the low- latency performance capabilities of flash memory, but the clinic’s budget required an economical approach to deploying flash that could leverage its existing servers and storage.

 

Solution

Christopher began looking for a solution for his Windows servers running the medical records application. His research led him to an article about FlashSoft server-side caching software. He requested an evaluation copy and began testing. He was not only pleased with the dramatic performance improvement the testing revealed, but also with the non-disruptive nature of the software. As Chris explains, “The implementation of FlashSoft for Windows was so easy and it didn’t require that I change any of my existing data management or data protection policies. For such an unobtrusive piece of software, it sure makes a big difference.”

“The implementation of FlashSoft for Windows was so easy and it didn’t require that I change any of my existing data management or data protection policies. For such an unobtrusive piece of software, it sure makes a big difference.”

Christopher Williams Head of IT Support, Middle Tennessee Ear, Nose, Throat Clinic

Results

Since deploying FlashSoft software, the “white screen of death” is gone and the clinic’s staff no longer complain about record queries timing out on slow systems. For Chris and his team the greatest impact is that FlashSoft enables him to realize his goals with his existing infrastructure. The clinic has been able to achieve the goal of going paperless, and even though this has more than doubled the size of the data on the systems, the performance and responsiveness have never been better. Additionally, the clinic has also doubled the size of its medical staff. Chris believes that without FlashSoft, this would not have been possible without a significant investment in additional IT infrastructure. Based on his current experience with FlashSoft, Chris is considering it for his next big project involving systems processing images from CT scans.

Conclusion

Middle Tennessee Ear, Nose & Throat is a thriving medical practice. FlashSoft software enables them to fully utilize their existing IT infrastructure to deliver performance improvements necessary to provide a better patient experience and continue to grow their business.

Why This Matters

Organizations large and small may suffer from storage I/O latency, and flash memory offers the promise of reducing or eliminating latency-related bottlenecks. The advantage of FlashSoft is that it enables organizations to utilize solid-state devices in servers as a complement to existing storage and server systems, to meet performance objectives by reducing latency, while maximizing the productivity and financial return on their existing infrastructure.

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