Business challenge

Sisters of Charity’s infrastructure could not ensure rapid delivery of information which threatened to impact quality of care. How could the organization gain fast data access to optimize patient care?


Sisters of Charity deployed two IBM Storwize V7000F all flash arrays with IBM Spectrum Virtualize™, accelerating performance of its MEDITECH electronic records and supporting real-time analysis. 



reduction in time taken to run reports enables faster decision-making


cut in month-end reporting time, saving valuable employee time


storage performance and availability, resulting in faster response to patient needs

Business challenge story

Necessary modernization

Running operations for both the St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center in Cleveland and Canton, Ohio respectively, The Sisters of Charity Health System assumes responsibility for large numbers of patients. In addition to this, the organization manages several elder care facilities and outreach organizations across Ohio and North Carolina, meaning tens of thousands of patients rely on the Sisters of Charity for care.

Delivering medical care and handling the associated administrative and financial processes means that Sisters of Charity generates and stores enormous amounts of data. Its existing EMC and HP storage devices had reached end-of-life and were struggling to cope with the workload. This meant the organization could not gain quick access to its electronic healthcare record application MEDITECH, and had to wait a long time for reports to generate.

Paul Jones, CTO at the Sisters of Charity, elaborates: “Our old storage environment just could not provide enough capacity or performance to ensure rapid delivery of information in both clinical and administrative settings, and our reports were taking far too long to generate.”

Realizing that it needed to refresh its data-storage environment, Sisters of Charity issued a request for proposals (RFP) to solicit potential solutions from qualified, experienced and responsible firms to identify the best partner for the road ahead. In particular, the organization sought a partner able to handle installation, migration and ongoing support, backed by a financing deal that would enable it to preserve cash flow for other development initiatives.

As a direct result of upgrading to IBM Storwize V7000F, we were able to cut our regular report generation time by 92 percent, and our end-of-month report generation by 73 percent.

Paul Jones, CTO, Sisters of Charity Health System

Transformation story

State-of-the-art storage

After reviewing multiple proposals, the Sisters of Charity engaged IBM Business Partner Mainline Information Systems to renew its storage environment. The Sisters of Charity’s evaluation matrix put the IBM solution well ahead of its competitors, being more cost-effective in terms of both hardware and maintenance. The organization worked with IBM and Mainline to implement two IBM Storwize V7000F devices featuring IBM Spectrum Virtualize software.

“A major factor in our decision was access to services from IBM Global Financing,” says Paul Jones. “We were able to finance the solution with a 36-month fair market value lease to reduce the immediate impact on our cashflow. Another critical element was IBM’s certification around our MEDITECH application.”

The organization installed one IBM Storwize V7000F at its Mercy Medical Center and the other at its St Vincent Charity Medical Center, using native V7000 IP Replication to store each site’s data also on the V7000 in the other site.

In addition to increasing protection against disaster, this greatly increased the storage capacity, while the introduction of Spectrum Virtualize enabled the organization to streamline storage administration. This streamlined administration was part of the generally simplified infrastructure the IBM solution offered, along with easy, reliable support from IBM and Mainline which would help improve the organization’s IT maintenance processes more generally. 

Mainline was instrumental in the implementation process for the Sisters of Charity, and carried out the integration of the new storage solutions with the organization’s existing infrastructure, as well as migrating its data and applications. The Sisters of Charity also benefitted from the IBM SVC technology, which helped enable a smooth migration from its old array to the new.

Paul Jones explains: “Mainline’s support in getting our IBM solutions up and running was exactly what we wanted from our tech partner. We were able to retire our legacy systems and implement IBM Storwize without any downtime or business interruption – we never knew it could be such an easy process.”

For all storage volumes related to the organization’s VMware landscape, Mainline used VMware vMotion technology to migrate the live systems to the new Storwize V7000F systems. For a handful of physical servers, the team used Spectrum Virtualize to move the data, and then simply rebooted the servers and pointed them at the new storage volumes on the V7000Fs. Finally, for the MEDITECH environment, the team set up a mirrored copy of application data on the V7000Fs and rebooted the servers.

Results story

Unprecedented time-savings

By adopting IBM Storwize with Spectrum Virtualize, the Sisters of Charity significantly boosted its storage performance and data availability, enabling much faster interaction with patient records and administrative data.  The organization was able to improve the scalability and business continuity of its systems, ensuring it could continue providing excellent patient care by delivering significant improvements in application performance and response times.

Paul Jones highlights: “As a direct result of upgrading to IBM Storwize V7000F, we were able to cut our regular report generation time by 92 percent, and our end-of-month report generation by 73 percent. The numbers we have seen are extraordinary; reports that used to take us two hours are now completed in ten minutes.”

Faster access to data and the MEDITECH application translates into better, faster and more efficient support for patients. The organization’s ability to provide care has improved, and faster reporting helps streamline operations and planning.

Sisters of Charity has also seen other benefits from the IBM storage solutions, including the ability to eliminate tape backups now that all data is replicated across two sites.

Paul Jones concludes: “The Storwize V7000F also complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) encryption requirement for data at rest, ensuring we keep up with industry regulation around data protection.

“IBM and Mainline were able to provide everything we were looking for in a modern storage solution, and we look forward to a long partnership to keep improving our service to our patients.”

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About Sisters of Charity Health System

The Sisters of Charity Health System is a health and human services organization established in 1982 and headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. It offers cardiovascular care, orthopedics and other healthcare services through two Catholic hospitals: St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio.

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