UPMC and IBM keep focus on big data for personalized medicine

UPMC worked with IBM to design a virtualized IT infrastructure that shortened information backup times

UPMC has renewed an agreement with IBM, investing $120 million over the next four years in technology that will help spur changes in the way treatments are designed for individual patients by more effectively analyzing massive volumes of patient and research data. 

Under its initial agreement with IBM, signed in 2005, UPMC saved more than $191 million over six years, eliminating the need to create a new data center and supporting UPMC's growth, officials say.

[See also: IBM agreement with UPMC is latest move in healthcare IT push.]

With this new agreement, IBM and UPMC will continue to collaborate on the development of  personalized medicine technologies that improve care and the patient experience and remain among the founding partners in the Center for Connected Medicine, a showcase for how technology can transform healthcare.

UPMC worked with IBM to design a virtualized IT infrastructure that shortened information backup times by 20 percent and recovery times by 50 percent, officials say. IBM's storage and server virtualization technology allowed the re-engineered network to become more adaptable and flexible to meet expanding patient volume and data growth for more than 20 hospitals and 400 outpatient locations in the UPMC network.

The infrastructure supports an EMR system in which UPMC patient information – tests, radiology images, allergies, medication lists – is always available to the medical team; a private cloud system supports all mission-critical applications for UPMC.

[See also: UPMC adds two more hospitals to Stage 6 status.]

"UPMC is keenly focused on creating new models of effective and affordable care, supported by good science and smart technology," said UPMC CIO Daniel Drawbaugh. "Extending our long partnership with IBM is a key part of that strategy."

IBM Global Technology Services will provide support and services over the term of the contract. UPMC's virtualized infrastructure is built on IBM BladeCenter and Power System servers, and IBM XIV storage systems. 

"UPMC has pioneered a new model for ensuring its information technology keeps pace with the challenging demands of healthcare," said Dan Pelino, general manager, IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences. "With a focus on flexibility to meet the constantly changing demands of this progressive integrated healthcare delivery and financing system, UPMC's technology infrastructure plays an important role in delivering the highest quality of care, safety and efficiency."