Technology is now a fundamental tenet of every modern hospital. From the operating theatre to the consultant’s office a functioning ICT system is key to providing effective patient care. This is especially true for Tallaght University Hospital (TUH) where there were over 420,000 patient episodes of care delivered in 2018. Behind the curtain of this technology is the TUH ICT Data Centre where 430 servers and cloud services support the Hospital’s clinical and business services. In August 2017, due to the risk of major disruption to hospital services from a large construction project, it was decided to migrate the data centre to a HSE Tallaght Data Centre off campus.
The HSE Tallaght Data Centre, managed by the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OoCIO), is a state of the art Tier 4 facility. National Data Centre manager (NDC), Darren Finn, describes the facility as ‘having industry best infrastructure, ultra-fast connectivity as well as having the highest standards in equipment performance.’ Darren went on to say that 'this marks a hugely successful year since the migration was complete and all server operations for TUH were hosted in the new data centre which has had zero unplanned downtime since the move.’
In normal circumstances, when an ICT project like this is undertaken, it can be carried out during a downtime period, at night or during holidays. However, this was simply not possible to do for TUH which provide care for patients all day, every day.
The Data Centre Migration had to be completed with minimal impact to TUH services and patients. To accomplish this, the TUH ICT Team conducted a comprehensive review of all it existing data centre assets to establish a baseline enabling decisions about which applications needed to be migrated. Partnering with teams from the HSE’s Office of the CIO and some third party suppliers a series of plan and design workshops were commenced under the headings of Network Connectivity, Networking, Server, Storage and Backup architectures. Once finalised, in January 2018, a migration strategy was adopted and a timeframe agreed upon to complete the move.
TUH ICT Infrastructure Services Manager Ricky McKenna said “the successful migration was due to the level of planning, preparation and team work with 90% of the entire projects time spent on planning and preparation followed by migration over a four week period in June and July 2018”. The entire operation was completed seamlessly with no disruption to patient care.
Benefits to the Patient
The benefits to the patient are already being felt. Having TUH located in the HSE Tallaght Data Centre has a direct impact on patient care by allowing expansion of current ICT services and supporting newer applications and equipment when they become available. The reduction in hardware failure is essential to ensure continuity of patient care in an ever evolving healthcare environment. A key strategic action of the Sláintecare implementation plan is to put in place a modern eHealth infrastructure.
What is a Tier 4 Data Centre?
The Tallaght Data centre is built to a Tier 4 or level 4 industry standard. This means that it meets the strictest requirements for power, data, environmental and security controls.
David Wall, Director of ICT TUH commented
“Each step of this migration had to be executed flawlessly, its success is due to the incredible hard work and dedication of all involved.”
Fran Thompson, Interim Chief Information Officer of the HSE
“This is a really positive example of collaboration between TUH and the OoCIO. This new, state of the art, Data Centre will provide increased efficiency to TUH which will give a greater certainty to patient care”.
Published October 2019