HealthShare NZ deploys diagnostic tool for network issues

Quicker and more reliable access to medical data will help improve services to more than 780,000 patients, says Grant Ardern, CTO of the shared services provider for the five Midland District Health Boards.

“Don’t put shared services into production without a plan for what to do when things don’t go as expected.”

Grant Ardern, chief technology officer, HealthShare NZ, shares this insight from his experience at the not for profit shared services provider.

HealthShare NZ is owned by the five Midland district health boards - Bay of Plenty, Lakes, Tairawhiti, Taranaki and Waikato. The DHBs share a common 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) IT infrastructure which spans the five DHBs and is managed by the HealthShare NZ central IT group.

When HealthShare NZ had network-related issues, post-remediation was slow, as inter-departmental team members had to manually analyse log files by using laptops, WireShark and spanned network ports, to determine the root cause and resolution of the issue.

HealthShare NZ needed an easier way to track and trace real world events so that when a customer called, the issue could be resolved quickly, he says.

The goal, he says, was to provide quicker and more reliable access to medical data, thus improving services to more than 780,000 patients of the DHBs.

“As a service provider to five DHBs, we have to quickly discover the cause of IT-related issues that restrict access to patient medical data,” says Ardern, who led the deployment of EndaceProbe INR and EndaceVision from Emulex.

He says the systems now provide his team complete visibility to ensure maximum performance so any issues that may occur can be resolved in the fastest time possible.

Read more: Mission Critical ICT at St John NZ

We resolved the issue within six minutes where before, this issue could have taken us days to resolve as we combed through thousands of network log files.

Grant Ardern, HealthShare NZ

“We now have 100 percent confidence that when the phone rings, we can quickly pinpoint an issue and resolve it since we have all the facts and are not second guessing what the issue could be.”

He says the deployment provided ROI when an MRI file could not be accessed. “We resolved the issue within six minutes where before, this issue could have taken us days to resolve as we combed through thousands of network log files,” says Ardern.

Read more: How CIOs can stay tech-savvy

Ali Hedayati, senior vice president and general manager, Network Visibility Products at Emulex, says the deployment likewise maximised utilisation of IT resources that is crucial to any company’s bottom line, “especially a non-profit that relies on public funding to grow".

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