Case Studies

Rochelle Community Hospital Redefines Disaster Recovery

“The survival of our hospital depends on our ability to recover quickly during a disaster. Veeam and ComportSecure help us rebound almost instantly, and for $250,000 less than other solutions. That’s a substantial savings for us—our IT budget is under $1 million.”

Scott Stewart, CIO, Rochelle Community Hospital

Rochelle Community Hospital is a not-for-profit hospital serving more than 20,000 patients each year in northern Illinois. Founded in the city of Rochelle, the hospital has become a cornerstone of the community. It’s the fourth largest employer in the city and the only critical-care hospital for 30 miles. Rochelle Community Hospital has been named Illinois’ #1 critical-access hospital and a Most Wired hospital since 2014.

The Business Challenge

Rochelle Community Hospital (RCH) has been a cornerstone of the Rochelle community for more than a century. It was founded in 1913 as a cooperative community project and continues that way today. For an annual association membership of $25 or more, members of the community can become owners of the hospital.

RCH is a not subsidized by tax dollars or funded by a parent company with deep pockets. It’s a small, independent hospital operating on a modest budget. When RCH sought to modernize its disaster recovery (DR) plan following a tornado, finding a reliable, cost-effective solution became a challenge.

Like most hospitals, RCH follows the 3-2-1 backup rule for DR: 3 copies of data, 2 different media, 1 copy offsite. After the tornado tore through communities surrounding Rochelle and missed the hospital by just two miles, 1 copy offsite took on new meaning.

“Our offsite copy was in a data center a short distance from the hospital,” said Scott Stewart, CIO at RCH. “If the tornado had wiped out the hospital, it would have wiped out the data center too. While we would have been able to provide some medical services, most of the hospital’s capabilities would cease to exist. The nearest hospital is 30 miles, so our community would be in an awful situation.”

That’s when RCH decided to modernize its DR plan. “We knew the most secure place for an offsite copy was in the cloud, but we had to make sure our data would be hyper-available,” he said.

Hyper-available data is vital for hospitals, especially with electronic health records (EHRs). “If our EHR system isn’t hyper-available, it could be a matter of life or death, particularly during a disaster like a tornado,” Stewart said. “Our health care professionals need instant access to critical information before treating anyone, including medical history, drug allergies and lab results, otherwise treatment could do more harm than good.”

RCH’s EHR system was developed by MEDITECH, which recommended solutions to keep data secure during an emergency. “The solutions MEDITECH recommended were too expensive for our hospital, and they didn’t meet our hyper-availability needs,” Stewart said. “It’s not only tornados we’re concerned about. Like most health care organizations, we worry about cyber attacks too. We have to be confident our data is always accessible.”

ComportSecure and Veeam Solution

RCH modernized its DR strategy with Veeam Backup & Replication. They also chose ComportSecure for Backup as a Service (BaaS), Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Their EHR data is now hyper-available and the hospital saves $250,000 annually.

“Veeam and ComportSecure provide the power of protection,” Stewart said. “We’re confident our MEDITECH EHR data will be protected and accessible in a disaster like a tornado or cyber attack.”

The health care industry was the victim of 88 percent of all malware and ransomware attacks among U.S. industries in 2016, according to a report from Solutionary, a security company. Approximately 89 percent of those health care organizations experienced a data breach in their EHRs.

“This is where we can make a difference,” said Hannah Coney, Business Development Manager at Comport. “We’ve been helping health care organizations and commercial enterprises manage and secure their critical data since 1982. As a Veeam Gold Partner, we’ve had years of experience architecting and installing Veeam solutions. Together, Veeam and ComportSecure—our cloud service—make data hyper-available.”

Hyper-available data is the new normal. Data must automatically anticipate need, meet demand and move securely across cloud infrastructures. This strategy is called intelligent data management, and Veeam and ComportSecure have changed the 3-2-1 backup paradigm helping Rochelle master their data challenges.

Veeam makes three copies of the hospital’s data on Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) ProLiant Servers and stores copies on site on two different media, one being HPE 3PAR StoreServ. Veeam sends the third copy off site to ComportSecure, enabling Comport technicians to provide backup as a service (BaaS) and DR as a service (DRaaS) if necessary.

“The survival of our hospital depends on our ability to recover quickly during a disaster,” Stewart said. “Veeam and ComportSecure help us rebound almost instantly, and for $250,000 less than other solutions. That’s a substantial savings for us. Our IT budget is under $1 million.”

Stewart said RCH applies the savings to improvements that enhance patient care, such as updating patient rooms and purchasing medical equipment, including their first MRI machine.

“Patients had to drive 30 miles for an MRI scan before we purchased our machine,” Stewart said. “It was inconvenient for them and prevented us from providing the full continuum of care. “We wouldn’t have been able to purchase our previously leased MRI without the savings provided by Veeam and ComportSecure.” Stewart said.

The Results

Modernizes the hospital’s DR plan to support patient care in the digital world
“Efficient communication and collaboration within a hospital is just as important as the equipment and medications used to treat patients,” Stewart said. “By modernizing our DR plan, we give our health care professionals instant access to patient data so they can diagnose and treat people quickly.”

Protects hospital data against disasters including tornadoes and cyber attacks
“If a tornado hit our hospital or we were the victim of a cyber attack, Veeam and ComportSecure would help us recover our EHR system fast so we can continue providing medical services to the community,” Stewart said.

Saves $250,000 each year, affording the purchase of the first MRI machine
“Hospitals seeking to modernize their DR plans should take a look at Veeam and ComportSecure,” Stewart said. “They’ll be on their way to intelligent data management, and they might save money like we did. We wouldn’t have been able to purchase our MRI machine as quickly without the $250,000 savings.”

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