Forging Meaningful Relationships In Healthcare


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Alegent Creighton Health is using technology from Cisco and Intel® to become more proactive in an inherently reactive industry.

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Forging Meaningful Relationships In Healthcare

  1. 1. Unleashing IT Forging meaningful relationships in healthcare Take your car for a routine oil change and you expect the mechanic to know its full history, make recommendations for preventive maintenance, and tell you when to rotate the tires. What if health checkups were similar? What if your physician followed an optimal healthcare plan designed specifically for you and was maintaining your health in order to avoid future problems? Alegent Creighton Health, the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare ministry in Nebraska and southwest Iowa, isn’t asking: “What if?” It’s already moving forward with preventive healthcare initiatives as part of its mission to “transform lives through meaningful relationships.” “Historically, healthcare has been focused on treating patients after they’ve become sick,” says Duane Carbullido, director of enterprise intelligence at Alegent Creighton Health, part of Catholic Health Initiatives. “What we haven’t done is take care of you when you’re not with us.” Consisting of 11 hospitals and more than 100 clinic locations, Alegent Creighton Health is changing that approach by taking a more holistic view of patient care, he says. One example is the Care Opportunity Report, an online report that leverages patient and clinical data stored in the organization’s data warehouse to devise individualized care plans for more than two million patients. Optimizing technology for optimal care When treating a single complaint such as a knee injury or sore throat, clinicians access the report to review all information pertaining to that patient, including existing conditions, prior treatments, and Cisco and Intel® partnering in innovation opportunities to provide additional care while the patient is in front of them. “It’s driving better health outcomes for our patients,” says Carbullido, explaining that the intelligent system applies proven best practices and guidelines to determine optimal care plans. Supported by the underlying speed and flexibility of the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®), the Care Opportunity Report is just one example of Alegent Creighton Health’s strong commitment to technology. Originally, the organization looked at implementing Cisco® UCS as a platform to support Cisco Unified Communications Manager when moving to a brand new data center in 2010. As IT leaders became more familiar with the benefits of the technology, they decided to standardize on Cisco UCS for all systems moving forward, says Mark Howard, Alegent Creighton Health operations director, networks and system management. “We had just built a state-of-the-art data center and if we kept going with rackmount servers, we were going to have to build out another suite much sooner than planned,” says Howard. “Cisco UCS gives us the flexibility to have not only speed, but also redundancy and uptime so that we don’t have to worry about systems going down. At the same time, we’re benefitting from connectivity, heating, cooling, and space savings, as well as the ease with which server profiles can move between blades .”
  2. 2. Unleashing IT Enabling a healthcare “easy button” Five years ago, prior to consolidating five separate data centers into one, the organization had very little bandwidth between servers and was prone to downtime. Today, the new, 5,000 square foot data center operates on 10 GB connections supported by Cisco Nexus® 7000 Series Switches with dark fibre running to each location it serves. Its large Epic healthcare information system is 100 percent virtualized using VMware. By standardizing on Cisco UCS and VMware, Alegent Creighton Health reduced the amount of cabling required in its data center, dramatically decreased the footprint per server, and instead of 38 connectivity ports per server is using just two ports per Cisco UCS blade. In the event of a server failure, the IT support team assigns the failed server profile to another server blade remotely, booting from the storage area network (SAN) and removing the need to drive to the data center. The ease of provisioning new servers combined with the reliability of the data network is enabling forward-thinking healthcare plans that can be leveraged by the wider Catholic Health Initiatives system, says Howard. In addition to the Care Opportunity Report, for example, Alegent Creighton Health’s Enterprise Intelligence group is looking at ways to prevent hospital readmissions, using a robust predictive indicator to determine a patient’s readmission risk and alert clinicians so they can address concerns before they become problematic. “We want the technology environments we invest in to be reliable for clinicians and as accessible as the Staples® Easy Button for consumers,” says Howard. “It’s important to bring in systems that meet government regulations and create strong brand identity because in the future we aren’t necessarily going to be reimbursed for treating patients when they’re sick. We’re going to be reimbursed for demonstrating that we are keeping them healthy in the first place.” Speak to a Cisco subject matter expert You have questions, we have answers. For a complimentary consultation with a Cisco subject matter expert about your challenges and opportunities, request a meeting at: This article first appeared online at, available after subscribing at © 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Cisco, the Cisco logo, Cisco Unified Computing System, Cisco UCS, and Cisco Nexus are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. To view a list of Cisco trademarks, go to this URL: Third party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company. (1309) Intel, the Intel logo, Xeon, and Xeon Inside are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.