Transplant Organization Improves Data Management, Prepares for a Disaster

As hurricane season approaches, new software is helping LifeLink Foundation, a community service organization dedicated to recovery and transplantation of organs and tissue based in Tampa, Fla., prepare for the unexpected.

Executives at LifeLink purchased EqualLogic's VMWare iSCSI (Internet Small Computer Systems Interface) solution to consolidate their data and improve their disaster recovery capabilities.

"Our company made the decision that we needed to move towards virtual service," says John Rohn, vice president of information systems at LifeLink.

LifeLink serves more than 600 people awaiting organ transplants at its Tampa location. The nonprofit organization also has offices in Sarasota, Fla., and in Georgia. Their transplantation database tracks clinical data before and after patients undergo an organ transplant. Their physicians and the staff in their immunology lab and in their organ procurement systems all rely on the database. Until they implemented EqualLogic's system, they were using 40 different servers that each had at least two disk drives. Not only were the data vulnerable to loss in the event of a disaster, but it was also a challenging system to update. This process would require that an administrator work overnight to replace the disk drives. "This was a very cumbersome task that is extremely prone to error," says John Joseph, vice president of marketing at EqualLogic. With the new system, an administrator can update the storage during working hours while the system is under normal use.

Another key advantage of the EqualLogic system is the auto-replication feature. "We did not have to purchase a separate program for auto replication," explains Rhon.

Because no special training or certification is needed to run EqualLogic's system, LifeLink was able to install the software and begin using it easily. According to Rhon, he did not need to hire any new staffers to manage the system.

Given the long wait times for patients on transplant lists due to the national organ shortage and the need to notify wait-listed patients immediately when an organ becomes available, potential transplant recipients benefit from healthcare data that are easily accessible at all times. If a hurricane or another disaster strikes Tampa, LifeLink can take advantage of the replicated data in their Sarasota office. Employees can also access the information virtually. This updated system protects potential recipients from unforeseen circumstances while waiting for an available organ. Improving data storage and disaster recovery can save lives, the ultimate goal of everyone who works at LifeLink Foundation.

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