By Tim Kaschinske
Last month, BridgeHead successfully completed on-site installation and testing of its VNA solution with the Amicas radiology PACS available from Merge at a community hospital in Wisconsin.  This customer was already using BridgeHead as their primary backup and recovery solution, and chose to use BridgeHead for all of their archive needs, as well.  This installation is the first of a three-part project to archive (store) and protect data at the hospital.
The three parts of the project are to store and protect data from three different applications:

  1. PACS (DICOM) Data
  2. Email (Exchange)
  3. MEDITECH Scanning & Archive Data

In this first phase, BridgeHead worked with Merge to use the PACS archive process to send DICOM images to its VNA repository.  The Merge archive process uses the DICOM protocol to archive DICOM images for long-term storage.  Upon receipt of the DICOM images, BridgeHead stores the images in DICOM Part 10 format.  Once stored, it then protects the data by making multiple copies on other media.  In this case, one copy is made on disk, while the other copy is made on tape.

Using this approach the hospital is assured that their DICOM data is protected against inadvertent corruption and loss.  Should the primary DICOM Part 10 files become deleted or corrupted, BridgeHead has the capability to automatically restore them when they are accessed from a secondary location.  The disk is the primary restore source for performance reasons, and the tape copy is a copy of last resort, should that be necessary.

In the case of needing to retrieve the file from disk, the performance of BridgeHead’s VNA solution is fast enough that clinical workflow remains undisrupted. This is a key difference between BridgeHead’s solution and other offerings, which either do not include a secondary copy of DICOM images or which do not perform fast enough to meet clinical requirements.

In on-going operation, as BridgeHead acknowledges receipt of data into the VNA repository the hospital will have Merge purge the DICOM data allowing it to reclaim space for newer imaging studies.  Merge will use DICOM to query and retrieve the images from the VNA repository should they be needed again in the future.
The BridgeHead VNA solution provides the following benefits to this hospital:

  • PACS storage is used primarily for “in-process” radiology studies
  • BridgeHead manages storage for long-term DICOM archiving

o Support for hardware from any vendor, any media

o Ability to migrate data to newer storage in the future

o Provide multiple copies on multiple media for protection of data

o Provide multiple copies at multiple sites for disaster recovery

  • BridgeHead provides a common archive platform for all of their data

When all three phases of the project are complete, BridgeHead will provide this hospital with a complete solution for all of their archive and backup needs, across multiple types of data which are important to the hospital.  Also, administrators will have only one application to learn for both backup and archive.  This integrated approach greatly reduces costs as administrators are able to focus on other applications, rather than having to learn (and re-learn) multiple different backup and archive solutions.

Stay tuned for news of the other project phases as they are implemented at this hospital location.