The Unmatched Benefits of HPE Superdome Flex for Epic EHR

The continued increase in clinical applications by U.S health systems has accelerated the rate at which the medical industry acquires data. From patient demographics to medical imaging to specialized study information, enormous amounts of data are slowing Epic EHR’s.

Larger and more frequent infrastructure upgrades are required to maintain Epic’s performance requirements and to respond to their report cards and alerts. Organizations should strongly consider the benefits HPE Superdome Flex High Performance Compute systems to best address the inevitable current and future data growth and Epic performance realities.

3 Top Benefits of HPE Superdome Flex

HPE Superdome Flex was purpose-built to provide fast, reliable, cost-effective high-performance compute for mission-critical applications.  It is important to note that HPE and Epic have decades of experience working together, with teams that test and coordinate to ensure the best outcomes. Three main benefits of HPE Superdome Flex for Epic:

  1. Epic on Superdome Flex infrastructure provides the best Epic compute performance available in the market today.
  2. An investment in Superdome Flex avoids buying whole new sets of servers and migrations to accommodate growth. Instead, the SDX architecture scales by adding blocks of compute as needed.
  3. HPE Superdome Flex is Epic validated

Let’s explore why HPE Superdome Flex is the best option to support your Epic Environment.

High Performance Compute:  Infrastructure Matters

HPE Superdome Flex is architected to handle healthcare’s most demanding mission-critical workloads for environments of any size, including Epic. Both planned incremental growth and unplanned growth from acquisitions, etc. are accommodated.

There are two different Superdome Flex solutions for sizing, the Superdome Flex, and the Superdome Flex 280. We won’t go into those here, but make sure you take that into account when sizing for your environment.

Gain Flexibility to Grow When You Need It!

With a unique modular-building-block architecture designed for efficiency and cost effectiveness, the HPE Superdome Flex Platform can scale from 4 to 32 sockets and from 768 GB to 48TB of shared memory. What this means for your Epic environment is that you can scale systems several ways to accommodate data growth.

The first is scaling quickly to accommodate vast amounts of data from “unplanned” growth, especially if your hospital takes on Epic Community Connect Partners or to integrate mergers and acquisitions. Blocks of compute are added non-disruptively, as needed.  In the case of normal day-to-day “expected” growth you can choose an auto-scale option that allows you to pay-as-you-go, adding compute when you need it.

Our engineering team recently experienced first-hand a comparison of HPE Superdome Flex head-to-head with a major competitive product. In this case, a New England healthcare system had received notification from Epic that it needed additional compute capacity very quickly, to handle its compounded data growth.

The competitive product, an upgraded model of its existing infrastructure, simply couldn’t accommodate growth beyond two years without a rip and replace upgrade. Superdome Flex on the other hand was so efficient that it easily accommodated the expected Epic growth.  As a bonus, the Epic implementation ended up at only 37% capacity performance versus the paper estimate of 57%.

An Aside on Superdome Flex for Research

Certain types of complex data sets are challenging to run across multiple nodes and are better processed within a single node. This tends to apply to processing sets of data for drug and/or disease analysis. With SDX you have a single node with a large amount of single-system compute to share memory for these types of data sets. This prevents the need to handle these data sets as smaller simulations or limited models. Instead, you can look at the task as a whole, providing greater insight and productivity. Take a look at how HPC is accelerating drug development.

Validation for Epic Infrastructure: Compliance with Epic Honor Roll

First let’s talk about Epic requirements for your infrastructure. With SDX (HPE Superdome Flex) you don’t have to! One of the key benefits of the HPE Superdome Flex platform is that it has been validated to meet Epic’s preferred Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) scale-up architecture and meets Epic’s Honor Roll Requirements. HPE and Comport, at no charge, also have experts on hand to help with your system requirements and to ensure your Epic stays compliant.

Supports SMP Architecture

As you are surely aware, continuing with the SMP architecture avoids the need to move to Enterprise Cache Protocol (ECP or scale-out). Superdome Flex allows you to do so by maintaining the IRIS database within the SMP architecture. This avoids increased licensing costs and added system complexities.

Automated Reliability

Another one of the benefits of HPE Superdome Flex was that the platform was designed specifically with mission-critical in mind, it employs a strategy called RAS to keep workloads up and running and for data availability. RAS allows the system to automatically detect, log, analyze and repair errors. This process minimizes down time by diagnosing issues rapidly and then self-healing. A system with this type of attention to fault tolerance at the infrastructure level ensures that performance, continuity, and reliability of your Epic EHR will be at peak levels. For more information on the RAS features take a look at this article.

User Experience & TCO with High Performance Compute

When it comes to calculating the costs of a High-Performance Compute system like the HPE Superdome Flex, it comes down to what legacy equipment simply can’t provide:

  • Productivity/Time to Results: When it comes to productivity, the SDX HPC system is simply faster – faster processing, faster analytics, faster speed of business. With today’s healthcare organizations competing, a faster system means better patient care, increased positive outcomes, clinician satisfaction, and IT efficiency.
  • A Much Better Investment: With Superdome Flex you remove your organization from future migrations and the need to purchase sets of servers to keep up with data growth.  Adding just blocks of compute as you need them is a huge difference maker and cost saver.
  • Technical Resource Efficiency: Aging equipment not only causes frustration on the part of your executive and care teams, but it also frustrates your technical staff. In today’s employment world, hiring and retaining good talent on your IT teams means access to technologies they want to learn about and advancing their responsibilities.

Superdome Flex’s high-performance compute for your Epic Infrastructure simply leads to better healthcare. Excellent performance and reliability benefits patients and clinicians. From a business perspective, SDX provides better scaling for the future and its modular growth architecture ensures cost savings over time.

With over 40 years of experience and a specialization in healthcare IT, Comport Healthcare Solutions has for decades supported healthcare clients with architectures and services that fit the needs of their customers. Reach out to discuss HPE Superdome Flex for your Epic environment (including Epic as a Service) with our Healthcare CTO, Bill Flatley.

“Epic, “Cogito”, and “Hyperspace” are registered trademarks of Epic Systems Corporation.
“IRIS” is a registered trademark of InterSystems Corporation.

Author:Bill Flatley, Field CTO for Healthcare

Bill is responsible for technical strategies and recommendations for Comport’s Healthcare clients. His extensive experience includes four healthcare systems in leadership roles supporting Clinical Applications, Digital Health, and Office of the CIO as the primary liaison between IT and the business.

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