Mission Critical IT and Hospitals: Why Compete for Campus Resources?

Today’s hospital campuses have evolved over the last several decades to adapt to emerging requirements of innovative patient care services and tools. In particular, primary and emergency power resources on a hospital campus have to serve many missions, including basic life safety in the building (such as emergency lighting and fire protection) as well as patient care systems that are both mechanical and IT related.

Hospitals have a greater risk profile in the event of an outage and have a wide variety of additional risk factors to manage in the event of power loss, including building systems, medical devices and IT applications, and monitoring capabilities that maintain the lives of many patients in residence, not to mention data backup and disaster recovery.

While utility power has proven to be highly scalable and reliable throughout most parts of the United States, backup on-site generators have had a more mixed record. These assets require large fixed-cost investments, have limited capacity, and in the event of insufficient power or loss of service may be subject to aggressive surge pricing from suppliers.

These drawbacks associated with on-site backup power might be sustainable in a static demand environment within the hospital organization. In fact, these facilities have faced an overall accelerating competition for mission-critical power resources within the organization, particularly with regard to the rapid-scale growth of IT power requirements.

The hospital IT environment involves traditional business facility needs (such as employee email, files, operating systems and workflow management systems, administrative and financial back office systems, communications/telecoms, building operations, security systems) and electronically controlled access points (such as elevators, power assisted doors and other items). These assets are often defined as mission critical in any medium-to-large enterprise, so they are supported by backup generator power that can maintain operations for several days at a time until fuel to replenish generators arrives or power is restored.

Both facility and patient elements of mission critical areas have experienced significant growth, as patient care and the IT storage and processing demands associated with this care and operation of the hospital environment have advanced. This has in turn placed significantly greater demands on campus-based power backup, which has finite capacity. In the event of a crisis, any requirement not explicitly tied to the preservation of human life must yield, resulting in loss of power to a variety of mission-critical IT resources and capabilities.

This tradeoff is unnecessary. Hospitals can manage all their mission-critical requirements by allocating on-campus resources to only those operations directly tied to patient care that must be co-located with patients, whether IT or mechanical. All other IT resources and capabilities can locate in off-site data infrastructure, with appropriate power backup and support that do not compete with finite campus resources and which do not require large capital expenses on behalf of the hospital organization itself. Using off-site data infrastructure facilitates backup disaster recovery, frees up on-campus real estate and redundant power capacity, and enhances the hospital’s ability to meet all the demands on the organization without unnecessary, risky, high-cost tradeoffs.

DP Facilities, Inc. is 100% U.S.-citizen-owned and operated. Our flagship data center, Mineral Gap — located in Wise, Virginia (also known as “The Safest Place on Earth”) — is HITRUST CSF® certified, demonstrating that Mineral Gap’s BMS, EPMS, SOC, and NOC systems have met key regulations and industry-defined requirements in colocation, including hybrid cloud, for healthcare and is appropriately managing risk, including HIPAA compliance. Mineral Gap is the first concurrently maintainable designed and constructed Tier III data center in Virginia, certified by Uptime Institute for 99.98-percent availability. Mineral Gap is simply one of the best data centers in the US.