Expanding Health System Evaluates Best Data Center Locations

According to Fortune, healthcare was one of three industries with the most mergers and acquisitions in 2019. Deal-making in the healthcare sector hit $533 billion in 2019, up 26 percent from 2018. Mergers continue to be enticing for healthcare systems aiming to meet the quadruple aim – reduce costs, improve care quality and patient satisfaction, and expand care access.  

Organizational growth and facility expansion also create challenges for information technology (IT) and data center leaders as they develop a technology infrastructure strategy that solves the industry’s complex demands.  From seamlessly integrating foundational business and clinical systems such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) to the integration of telehealth initiatives and digital health devices, careful evaluation of all technologies and stakeholders is essential to developing a high-performance data center strategy.  

A rapidly growing mid-Atlantic healthcare system, and one of the region’s largest employers, needed to improve the redundancy and resiliency of their data center operations. The information systems and technology department provides the network infrastructure and technology platforms to support the daily mission-critical operations of the medical and administrative staff of the entire hospital network using two off-site co-location data centers. To ensure continuous and reliable access to critical technology and network systems, the healthcare system determined that a third primary data center location was required.  The objective of adding the third data center is to operate each of the three facilities at 33.333% capacity, with each site having the capability of supporting the full technology system load in the event of a site failure.  This multi-site redundancy strategy would ensure continuous and reliable operations for the entire health network. 

The hospital chose Leading Edge Design Group (LEDG) to assist in the development of recommendations and a strategic plan for the optimum location of the new data center.  

The engagement included: 

  • An assessment of the hospital’s current data center portfolio, it’s segregation and utilization. 
  • Review of current data center drawings, equipment profiles, growth calculations, reports, and policies. 
  • Collaboration with key stakeholders to develop requirements for the 3rd data center that represented the high-density computing profile, growth expectations, risk tolerance, geolocation, sustainability, and more. 
  • Site selection work though the onsite evaluation of the sites proposed for the 3rd data center, including architectural for architectural, mechanical, electrical, fire protection, and telecommunications, infrastructure, and equipment. 
  • Development of a data center strategic plan including a recommended site, conceptual design drawings, and growth projections, anticipated construction schedule, and cost projections. 

Once the assessment was complete, LEDG presented the findings to the hospital’s leadership to review the project approach and assumptions, relevant data, and recommendations for the 3rd data center location with a detailed budget.  

LEDG provided the health system with a final report summarizing the process, analysis, and final recommendations for the overall data center strategy. LEDG also delivered conceptual drawings enabling the health system to present the report and recommendations to the board for final approval to move forward with data center planning, design, and build.