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Mohawk Valley Health System protects Epic with Veeam

The business challenges

MVHS is rich in history and tradition. Medical professionals have served the residents of central New York for nearly 200 years. MVHS provides excellent service, compassionate care and operational efficiency.

Operational efficiency is a moving target in the healthcare industry, so over time, an increasing number of organizations have implemented electronic health record (EHR) systems. In 2009, 12% of healthcare organizations used EHR systems, but by 2020 that number had grown to 89% according to Definitive Healthcare, a leading provider of healthcare data, analytics and intelligence. 

MVHS chose Epic, an EHR system used by many of the top-ranked hospitals in the United States. Before Epic was deployed, MVHS used five different EHR systems, so coordinating patient care was time-consuming. Epic makes coordination among clinicians inside and outside of MVHS more efficient. 

“Moving to Epic was a significant step in closing care gaps and reducing duplication,” said Tom Gelfuso, System Engineer III at MVHS. “But first we had to replace legacy backup.”

Legacy backup presented several challenges. It wasn’t scalable, yet the number of virtual machines (VMs) would nearly double once Epic was deployed. One critical VM in particular couldn’t be updated past 2003, but legacy backup stopped supporting proxy agents before 2003, so the team couldn’t see what files had or had not been backed up. That was bad enough, but legacy backup also didn’t offer application-aware backup or granular recovery, so recovery was slow. Monitoring and reporting were a challenge too. Both were rudimentary at best and didn’t provide the team with enough information to resolve issues proactively. 

“We were limping along with legacy backup, but if we didn’t replace it, we were sure to experience one nightmare scenario after another,” Gelfuso said. “Imagine telling clinicians they’ll have to wait an hour before logging into Epic to access patient records because Microsoft Active Directory hadn’t been backed up properly. That’s totally unacceptable.”

The team turned to Advizex, a leading technology provider of infrastructure and enterprise application solutions, for help and advice. Advizex recommended Veeam® Availability Suite™.

The Veeam solution 

Veeam protects Epic so MVHS can focus on what it does best: caring for the communities it serves. Veeam delivers the scalability required to protect a growing IT infrastructure and recovers 96% faster. Veeam also provides advanced monitoring and reporting to resolve issues proactively before they escalate into problems.

“Veeam supports our effort to improve coordination and efficiency of patient care,” Gelfuso said. “Epic makes it easier for clinicians to communicate inside and outside of our healthcare system, so by protecting Epic, Veeam helps us close the care gap and decrease duplication.”

Gelfuso said protecting Epic is relatively stress-free because Veeam offers what legacy backup lacked: application-aware backup, granular recovery and capacity planning. 

“Veeam has saved us several times from a nightmare situation by ensuring the critical applications supporting Epic are always available. Active Directory is a good example. It must be available so clinicians can log into Epic and access the information they need to treat patients including their medication history and drug allergies.”

Veeam Explorer™ for Microsoft Active Directory provides granular recovery so the IT team can restore a clinician’s permission to access Active Directory in minutes. Veeam monitoring and reporting alert the team when a VM supporting Active Directory is approaching capacity.

Veeam also integrates with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Storage, which MVHS deployed because it’s easier to manage than legacy storage. Veeam backs up and replicates 200 TB across 700 VMs from HPE 3PAR StoreServ snapshots to HPE StoreOnce. Veeam also backs up to Quantum Scaler i3 each month, enabling MVHS to follow the 3-2-1 Rule. 

“Ease of use, scalability and reliability — that’s how I describe Veeam to anyone who asks,” Gelfuso said. “Veeam helps MVHS remain the trusted healthcare system of choice.” 

The results

Delivers the scalability required to safeguard a growing IT infrastructure
Protecting EHR systems is a top priority for healthcare organizations. Veeam provides enterprise scalability, so backing up and recovering systems such as Epic is fast and easy. 

Integrates with HPE storage snapshots to recover critical systems 96% faster
“Veeam integration with HPE is the reason backup and recovery are so fast and easy,” Gelfuso said. “In the past when users accidentally deleted something, I told them I’d restore their items within the next day and a half. Now I tell them they’ll have their items in less than hour, and that’s only because I’m multitasking on several projects at once. Recovery actually takes minutes.”

Provides advanced monitoring and reporting to resolves issues proactively
“Veeam is great for capacity planning, but it’s also great about alerting us when someone creates a VM but forgets to configure it for backup,” Gelfuso said. “Deploying Veeam is a win-win across the board.”

Mohawk Valley Health System
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Company:

Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) serves the residents of Mohawk Valley in Utica, New York. With roots going back to 1830, the not-for-profit organization provides healthcare services for more than 300,000 patients in 25 locations each year. MVHS employs approximately 4,200 people.

Challenge:

MVHS is known for clinical quality and collaboration. In an effort to improve coordination of patient care, MVHS decided to implement Epic, a leading electronic health record system. Before deploying Epic, the IT team needed to replace legacy backup. It lacked the scalability, recovery speed, monitoring and reporting required to protect Epic. 

Results:

  • Delivers the scalability required to safeguard a growing IT infrastructure
  •  Integrates with HPE storage snapshots to recover critical systems 96% faster
  • Provides advanced monitoring and reporting to resolve issues proactively
Mohawk Valley Health System
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