Silver Cross Hospital's recently opened data center puts it at the forefront of an emerging healthcare trend: Combining construction of new hospitals with new data centers to offer the latest in technology and accommodate an explosion in applications and patient data--not just documents, but images and videos.
With the February, 2012 opening of its 600,000-sf, $370 million medical complex with outpatient center, medical service building and hospital, the New Lenox Ill. community hospital needed to update and expand its aging data resources, which were already operating at capacity. With its new 2,450-sf data center, 50% larger than its existing one, patients and staff are already enjoying the benefits of new technology.
Silver Cross became one of the first hospitals to install patient tracking software so families know where a patient is at all times. New communication equipment supports wireless voice and data networks throughout the hospital, providing access to patients and their families while freeing clinicians to use phones and computers where needed instead of based on location. Also, medical telemetry enables remote monitoring of patient vital signs.
Other leaders, including OSF's new Children's Hospital of Illinois in Peoria and the soon-to-open Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, have combined new data centers with new medical facilities. Together, they are laying a technology foundation for the emerging era in healthcare that will be dominated by electronic patient records and new care delivery approaches that require real-time coordination and information exchange among multiple providers, payers, patients, and locations.
Given the escalating IT demands, growth of bigger and better healthcare data centers is only likely to strengthen. In a fall, 2011 survey by Mortenson of 90 data center and facilities experts at the 7x24 Exchange Conference, 92% of respondents ranked healthcare as the industry with the greatest need for new data centers in the next five years. +