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UK data centre outage disrupts central healthcare system

Date: 18th October 2010

A centralised healthcare system that provides doctor’s practices in the UK with access to patient records was disrupted this week following a data centre outage. Healthcare IT provider EMIS’s hosted system provides GPs and other staff with a central database of medical records, appointments and prescription details.

According to EMIS, approximately 200 UK practices were affected “for a number of hours” after technical problems occurred at the provider’s data centre. “We had an outage in our data centre on the morning of Wednesday 6 October 2010 for a number of hours,” Sean Riddell, CEO of EMIS, said in a statement emailed to Information Age. “This unfortunately affected around 200 EMIS practices using our PCS hosted system – out of a total of 5,500 EMIS practices using all our systems – in certain areas of the country. A significant number of affected practice systems were restored by around 1pm on the same day, the remainder by 3pm that day.”

Keysource says: Possessing an appropriate UPS system and standby generator is critical to overcome any unexpected power outage. However, many data centre operators may not think they have the appropriate infrastructure, space or budget available to adapt or upgrade an existing facility to ensure it meets their precise needs. Any company that has concerns about a back-up power solution should consider having an audit to better understand requirements and what options are available to them.

It is vitally important to measure the level of risk that an outage would pose. From there, it is possible to identify the most appropriate solution based on exact business and operational circumstances by conducting a thorough assessment of the facility in question. If there is no obvious room for expansion then it may be possible to reconfigure the layout using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics), whilst performance feedback from the audit may identify potential cost savings that could even pay for any necessary changes or upgrades to the back-up system. Keysource’s Data Centre Audits offer an effective means of ensuring that a data centre meets the exact needs of a business in the most cost efficient manner.


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