What can transfer the entire contents of the Library of Congress in 6.5 seconds and withstand a F2 tornado? These are just a few of the innovative features of the new data center built by the Sisters of Mercy Health System in Washington, MO. The $60 million, 42,500-square-foot center, designed and built specifically to support Mercy’s 26 hospitals, physician offices and other services, was previewed Thursday by community board members, physicians and leaders from across the health system’s four-state region. The center is in its final stages of construction and will open this summer.
“The Mercy Data Center is like the Fort Knox of data,” said Will Showalter, Mercy chief information officer. “In a world where identity theft is common, it’s critical that our patients’ medical information is safely protected from outsiders or natural disasters, and yet completely accessible to their healthcare teams.”
Because healthcare today depends on 24/7 availability of technology and information, the Mercy Data Center was designed with fail-safe features to withstand a variety of natural events, power or water interruptions and even failures within the building itself. Every support system that protects data in the center is fully duplicated – with backups for power, cooling and network connectivity – and the facility can operate up to 72 hours in the case of an electrical power outage. Network bandwidth and computer processing power can also be added as needs arise.
“Today, almost every way that Mercy serves and communicates with patients is supported by technology. As one of only two percent of healthcare organizations using a comprehensive electronic health record system to connect our hospitals and physician offices, the data center will ensure our ability to keep this system and other clinical technology available around-the-clock,” said Lynn Britton, Mercy president and CEO.
Other unique aspects of the data center design include:
Mercy’s data needs are growing as Mercy’s dependence on technology has grown: