SOURCE: McKesson

August 09, 2006 09:13 ET

Hospitals Achieve Big Savings and Highly Reliable Clinical IT With McKesson's Horizon Architecture, Use of Oracle RAC Database and Linux

McKesson Customers Are Among the First U.S. Hospitals to Deploy Continuously Available Oracle RAC Technology for Clinical Systems

ATLANTA, GA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 9, 2006 -- Healthcare organizations that make use of leading-edge, more efficient IT platforms common in other industries see significant cost savings and performance reliability. Peninsula Regional Medical Center (PRMC) in Salisbury, Md., St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, and Concord Hospital in Concord, N.H., have each deployed McKesson's Horizon Architecture™ technology platform, which uses the open source Linux operating system along with Oracle® Real Application Clusters (RAC). In addition to being among the first to deploy Oracle RAC and Linux together, each hospital has cut in half the purchase and implementation costs of traditional technology approaches.

"With Horizon Architecture, we are providing our customers with the mission-critical system reliability they need to deliver the highest-quality patient care at a lower total cost of ownership," said Michael E. Myers, senior vice president of product management for McKesson. "This 'always available' strategy is supported by the combination of Linux and Oracle RAC, which allows for almost unlimited scalability -- something no other healthcare IT vendor can provide today."

As a key part of its advanced Horizon Architecture technology platform, McKesson has been deploying many of its clinical applications on Linux for more than two years, recently expanding the use of Linux to McKesson's common clinical database, powered by longtime technology partner Oracle. In May, PRMC became the first hospital in the country to deploy its clinical systems infrastructure database on Oracle 10g RAC, running Linux on HP Compaq hardware.

"We were able to save more than 60 percent in hardware and software costs compared with traditional high-availability options," said Ray Adkins, chief information officer for PRMC. "And due to the physical layout of our campus, it has also allowed us to provide for a certain level of disaster recovery because we have separated the Linux/Oracle array of servers in two different data centers."

Oracle's RAC technology allows the database to run across a set of clustered servers, versus using a single, larger server. If one server in the cluster fails, the database continues running on the remaining servers. This continuous availability also means that system maintenance can be performed on the cluster without requiring any user downtime. Clustering also provides greater scalability, because if more processing power is needed, servers can be added incrementally.

For the Oracle 10g RAC implementation, PRMC moved its clinical database processing off of the primary Unix platform. "By moving the database off of that server, we were able to free up considerable capacity for other uses, effectively extending that hardware's usable life," explained Adkins. "We are maximizing our current investments while taking advantage of newer technologies. Staying on the leading edge fits with our organization's consistent, long-term vision of clinical excellence supported by information technology. The more affordably we can achieve our vision, the more broadly we will be able to keep rolling these clinical systems out."

Two other McKesson customers, Concord Hospital in Concord, N.H., and St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston, have also seen significant reductions in total cost of ownership and implementation costs. Executives at Concord Hospital estimate that it will reduce total cost of ownership by 60 percent with McKesson's Horizon Care Record™ clinical data repository using Oracle's release 9i in a RAC environment, running Linux on Intel®-based servers.

St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital deployed both its clinical systems infrastructure and repository with Oracle 10g RAC on an array of Dell™ 2850 Linux servers, making the hospital McKesson's first full deployment of both Linux and Oracle RAC. "Moving to Oracle RAC on Linux has given us continuous availability for about 65 percent less than what a traditional implementation would have cost," said Kay Carr, chief information officer for St. Luke's. "This improved availability for our patient care systems also positions us to have zero-downtime upgrades for system maintenance." Like PMRC, St. Luke's is also achieving a degree of disaster recovery by splitting the array of servers in two data centers.

Although Oracle introduced RAC in 2005, McKesson was Oracle's first healthcare partner to deploy the technology to hospitals. "We are pleased to partner with McKesson in their efforts to provide hospitals with the highest availability and performance at the lowest cost," said Andy Mendelsohn, senior vice president of Database Server Technologies for Oracle. "Oracle RAC technology delivers a solution that is fault-tolerant, high-performance, and that can easily expand to meet the needs of the organization."

About McKesson

McKesson Corporation, currently ranked 16th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to helping its customers deliver high-quality healthcare by reducing costs, streamlining processes, and improving the quality and safety of patient care. Over the course of its 173-year history, McKesson has grown by providing pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management across the spectrum of care; healthcare information technology for hospitals, physicians, homecare, and payors; hospital and retail pharmacy automation; and services for manufacturers and payors designed to improve outcomes for patients. For more information:

About Oracle

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