Austin Radiological Association (ARA) is the largest outpatient imaging services provider in central Texas. The firm stores almost 1 million digital studies annually for regional hospitals and medical organizations. The increasing fidelity and resolution of medical images has driven rapid growth in file sizes. ARA was quickly running out of storage capacity, and the organization realized that relying on traditional hardware was no longer sustainable. Nasuni offered a solution with unlimited scalability, simplified management and built-in protection that met ARA’s compliance standards.
My name is Todd Thomas. I’m the Chief Information Officer for Austin Radiological Association. ARA is central Texas’ largest outpatient imaging services provider, with 17 locations that we own and operate. We also do the professional read agreements for most, if not all of central Texas’ area hospitals and medical organizations, and as such, we store roughly one million studies annually.
I’ve been with ARA for 20 years now, and over those years, I have seen the fidelity and the file sizes of medical images increase. We were projected to be at 1.5 petabytes of mammography images by the year 2020. It put our organization in a bind in terms of is it really smart for us to continue to put capital outlay towards storage technologies, when our consumption of that storage just keeps growing and growing and growing?
We figured that with our current storage infrastructure, we would possibly duplicate the floor space within a year, so we started looking into cloud storage. Our initial investment with Nasuni was 100 terabytes, and we were pushing close to a year. If that was our traditional storage, that would be maybe two or three more nodes that we would have to install. As we add more, we pressed a button and watched it add more storage, but you only have to do it one time with Nasuni, and that works awesome for us. So we placed the order, and it’s done. That leaves me to worry about other projects in the infrastructure, and make our IT department, and our IT infrastructure much better than we see today.
In terms of HIPAA and compliance, that was a major concern for us, since we provide medical imaging and patient data. We’ve always worried about cloud computing and where our data sits, since we actually cannot walk in and touch what provides that workload. After working with Nasuni and doing research, we did see that our data would be replicated across the central United States, and in multiple data centers, since it’s using Azure backend. We were more than happy with what we saw with Azure. We were also happy to know that our data is encrypted, which is major for us, and our compliance officer was really happy to hear that.
We’ve been looking into cloud storage and cloud computing for maybe three or four years now, and Nasuni really made sense to us.