Rural Hospitals in Danger of Closing Across U.S.; Condusiv Technologies

August 13, 2019

More than twenty percent of rural hospitals in the United States are in such poor financial condition as to be in danger of closing, according to a study of publicly available data by business consulting firm Navigant.
 
Causes cited for the hospitals’ precarious financial condition include the inability to leverage technology due to a lack of capital.1 James D’Arezzo, CEO of Condusiv Technologies, said that this intense budgetary pressure occurs at a time when the data processing volumes required in healthcare are at an all-time high—and climbing.

Closure of 275 of the endangered hospitals—64 percent of the at-risk total—would represent a significant detriment to the health and economic well-being of the communities those hospitals serve, the Navigant study found.

“Given the financial infeasibility of major system upgrades, it is essential that cash-strapped healthcare organizations find ways of maximizing the performance of their existing IT infrastructure,” said D’Arezzo, whose company is the world leader in I/O reduction and SQL database performance.

One healthcare provider that has done just that is Indiana’s Hancock Regional Hospital, D’Arezzo said. When Hancock Regional’s IT center, which supports a large user base accessing MEDITECH software, experienced an unacceptable level of data loading delay, IT management considered an upgrade in storage area network hardware. On the advice of MEDITECH support, however, the hospital opted instead to implement a software solution that automatically and transparently increases the throughput of all x86 platforms. The result was a response-time improvement of 67 percent, which enabled the IT team to eliminate slow data loads and sluggish applications without changes to the hardware infrastructure.2

Not only smaller, rural and regional hospitals are affected by this issue; healthcare organizations of all sizes are struggling with adopting, and paying for, technological progress. A recent Harvard Business Review analysis notes that while senior hospital executives indicate strong interest in digital innovation, actual hospitals are notoriously slow in adopting them. The authors attribute much of this to already at-capacity IT departments, along with inflexible and innovation-unfriendly budgetary procedures.3 

Meanwhile, the confluence of the Internet of Things, heavy and increasing patient loads and ongoing issues with electronic health records will continue to raise the performance bar for the healthcare industry’s IT capability. The rise of real-time applications in healthcare will soon require that healthcare providers be able to make on-the-fly treatment decisions based on the combination of streaming data and real-time processing.4

“A traditional reaction to a situation like that would be to throw money at it in the form of new hardware,” said D’Arezzo. “This is not practical across the entire healthcare spectrum, let alone for beleaguered rural hospitals. Fortunately, the root cause of most data processing slowdowns encountered in healthcare is degradation in I/O performance generated by the operating system. Condusiv Technologies, the world leader in this area, provides solutions that can, in the Windows environment, improve overall system throughput by up to 70 percent—with no added investment in hardware.” 

For more information, visit www.condusiv.com.

1. Commins, John, “Financial Woes Threaten Closures for 1-in-5 Rural Hospitals,” HealthLeaders, February 20, 2019.

2. Hancock Regional Hospital Deploys V-Locity for MEDITECH on Virtual Servers to Solve Critical Performance Issues,” Condusiv Technologies, case studies.

3. Haas, Derek A., Jellinek, Michael S., and Kaplan, Robert S., “Hospital Budget Systems Are Holding Back Innovation,” Harvard Business Review, March 29, 2018.

4. Maike, Cindy, “How Real-Time Data Is Affecting Healthcare,” Hortonworks, July 12, 2018.

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