Advantages to Epic EMR and IBM Power 8

Driving better performance, availability, and reliability for the Epic EMR solution is a key objective for many healthcare IT teams.  G/S Solutions has the expertise in providing robust IBM Power solutions to the healthcare sector to make that objective a cost-effective reality.

Epic electronic medical record implementations range from small hospitals to fully integrated regional healthcare networks that serve millions of patients. As integrated healthcare networks continue to grow larger, scalability, in the amount of data stored and the number of concurrent users that can be served becomes a top priority. Our experience in providing IBM Flash storage is a key performance driver for Epic EMR implementations and upgrades. With our platform experience in both IBM Flash and Power, we can help design an optimal architecture that provides the flexibility you need for growth, while maintaining performance and reliability in your day to day operations.

POWER8 architecture is optimized for Epic

IBM Power 8 ServersIBM POWER8 engineers worked with Epic, as well as InterSystems, the developer of Caché, the Epic operational database, to develop enhancements to the POWER8 architecture specifically designed to optimize Epic workloads. The result, POWER8 platforms offer superb scalability for Epic deployments, and provide configuration flexibility and system growth potential.

Some examples of specific enhancements the IBM team developed to handle Epic workloads better:

  • Balanced processor speed and inter-processor communications bandwidth
  • Reduced the maximum number of “hops” required for communication between any two processors
  • Increased both memory capacity and memory bandwidth
  • Collaborated with InterSystems to enhance the design of Caché for faster processing

The POWER8 advantage is more than just great benchmark results. These high scalability numbers can translate to concrete business advantages for healthcare organizations. With the higher levels of scalability offered by POWER8, large healthcare organizations may now be able to cut down on complexity by deploying a more straightforward, cost-effective Epic implementation.

The Epic application itself can be deployed using one of two different topologies:

SMP: Symmetric multiprocessing, where users access the database directly, without any intermediary processes.

ECP: Enterprise Caché Protocol, where an application server acts as an intermediary, offloading some of the processing from the main production database. ECP is used for environments that have a very large number of concurrent Epic users, and therefore need very high levels of scalability. Offloading processing to application servers allows these environments to achieve the level of scalability needed to serve many Epic users at once.

Although ECP is an effective method of serving many concurrent Epic users, it also creates more complexity and cost, due to the need for additional servers and the increased licensing costs those servers bring.

POWER8’s increased scalability helps healthcare organizations avoid complex ECP arrangements, allowing them to operate a simpler SMP configuration. This added simplicity will leave them well positioned to succeed in the era of demanding Epic workloads.

IBM POWER8 servers are designed with reliability, availability and serviceability in mind. POWER8 systems incorporate more cores, as well as threading and cache capacity enhancements. This increased capacity can improve overall server reliability by doing more work per processor socket.

For more information, please contact us, we'd be happy to discuss your EMR and data center needs in more detail.

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