The St Helens and Knowsley Health Informatics Service has completed the implementation of new storage infrastructure to serve its local health community.

In December 2010, the HIS signed a contract with EMC to deploy its Symmetrix VMAX systems. It completed data migration in September last year.

The service’s deputy chief information officer, Phil Corrin, said the previous HP data storage infrastructure had been impacting on clinicians’ day-to-day working.

“At peak times the performance started to be an issue, because it would go from [taking] sub-seconds to seconds.

"That can slow down patient consultations; so it’s really important to have that speed."

He added that applications had a 20-millisecond latency before a response was received from the HP array and, as a result, end-users’ requests were at risk of timing-out.

He said the new system had halved the time it took to carry out requests, on average.

The shared informatics service looks after St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust and 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, as well as local primary care providers.

The acute trust undertook an electronic document management project in 2008, and has succeeded in achieving a paperless document system.

However, Corrin, said this had put an additional load on the area’s infrastructure, and contributed to the decision to upgrade.

The contract with EMC is for five years, which Corrin said would satisfy the trust’s needs.

“We will probably have to increase our storage, but we will not have to replace the engine. We’ve bought a top-end high-spec storage that will last us the next five years.”