Case Study: Indiana Health Information Exchange - VAX Emulation

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Case Study: Indiana Health Information Exchange - VAX Emulation

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A customized project plan propels big updates for Indiana health systems

About the Indiana Health Information Exchange

The Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE) was launched to help lower Indiana's staggering healthcare expenses and improve the state's consistent poor rankings in leading health indicators, including obesity, smoking, diabetes and heart disease. IHIE partners with the Regenstrief Institute to leverage its cutting-edge, internationally recognized health information technology infrastructure, providing solutions that address short-and long-term healthcare issues and improve the health of Hoosiers through better care coordination.

In 2010, an IHIE-led coalition was selected as a United States Health & Human Services Health IT Beacon Community. This effort showcases how IHIE's robust health IT network can enhance patient care and improve outcomes while promoting a better, safer and more efficient healthcare system. Part of this recognition stems from IHIE's role in bringing the healthcare industry together in Indiana by supporting the needs of all key healthcare stakeholders, including patients, hospitals, physicians, payers, employers and public health.

Key Challenges for IHIE

The following health systems represent several million patients in the greater Indianapolis area: St. Vincent Health, Community Health Network, Indiana University Health, Wishard Hospital (Now Eskenazi Health), and Franciscan Alliance. For many years since joining IHIE, these major health systems stored all patient record data within a legacy VAX server in a data center on the Wishard Hospital campus. The challenges of this included:

  • The legacy server was quickly becoming outdated and support for the millions of records was becoming costly and difficult to obtain.
  • The data center in the Wishard Hospital system was being closed down due to the move into a new facility.
  • It was unlikely that once this server was shut down, the data stored could be retrieved again. Because of this, it was determined the server needed to be emulated and moved to another data center.

After recognizing these issues, IHIE contracted an IT provider to build an identical server in Chicago, IL. The project became known as VAX Emulation and CoreTech Revolution was used to provide the needed local support system to manage the process of moving this legacy system to the virtual server out of state.

Building a Customized Process

CoreTech Revolution, with owner Michelle Burton at the helm, is a high-end technology development company that focuses primarily on IT Integration and Custom Application Development in the Health Care and Life Sciences industries. With a deep understanding of healthcare and information systems, Michelle and her team appealed to IHIE with their ability to streamline and manage this complex project and serve as a liaison within IHIE and the other vendors involved in the project implementation.

CoreTech’s first priority was to create and communicate the project plan. This task itself required excellent relational and technological skills. Michelle worked not only with IHIE, but other technical vendors immersed in this implementation and developed a very strong project plan to keep everyone involved moving in the right direction. They also engaged the health systems to determine what VPN connections needed to be modified to direct to the new virtual system.

“Michelle Burton with CoreTech played many leadership roles, both in discerning complex technical details and managing a large group of different personalities. Were it not for her exceptional project management skills, we would not have completed this project in the timeframe demanded by our customers.”

-Jane Niederberger, Former COO Indiana Health Information Exchange

Additionally, they assisted in the data preparation, getting communication protocols established, and setting the testing scenarios so no data would be lost. Furthermore, ongoing discussions with American Digital, the vendor chosen to build the virtual server, were critical to ensure the new system was built to emulate the old in its exact form. To review the case study with IHIE and American Digital specifically, please click here.

Once the data was backed up to a high volume library, it was then downloaded in Chicago and an incremental backup was completed.

“A migration like this would have taken many vendors several weeks to complete. With CoreTech at the helm, our project team completed this mission over a weekend.”

- Former Jane Niederberger, COO Indiana Health Information Exchange

At that point CoreTech then developed several new testing scenarios to ensure that the HL7 processors were open and all of the health system providers could send and retrieve their data as they had before. In addition, CoreTech conducted a VPN migration and connectivity validation. They utilized St. Vincent Health System as their testing forum.

Providing significant updates in Technology with minimal Business impact

IHIE was seeking a partner to streamline and manage this large scale project smoothly and efficiently with little to no disruption to their customers. Michelle Burton and her CoreTech team delivered on this expectation and today, IHIE runs its legacy system on modernized equipment in a new location that has proven to be much more secure and reliable than its previous environment. CoreTech currently maintains this legacy system. This includes maintenance of Data Integrity and Database Replication, HL7 Processing, and Application Support. In addition, they have entrusted CoreTech to continue its work in a related large scope project that will complete at the end of 2014.