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Memory & Storage

Healthcare data must be always on and always secure

Hospitals see the most critical patients in the highest numbers — so they need massive amounts of data storage. All the testing, imaging and historical data adds up, and hospital workers need to be able to collect and access that data securely, as fast as possible, whenever they need it.

That data also needs to be transmitted to and from different physicians and care centers. Long-term nursing facilities, for instance, need to store and track electronic health records (EHRs), complete with high-resolution radiography and scans, and periodically update these records over time.

To manage all of this data, these healthcare sites rely on mission-critical IT systems, which have to be fast and dependable. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are well-suited for the task, with consistently increasing storage capacity, performance and endurance, as well as significantly lower cost compared to a few years ago.

More reliable than hard disk drives

In healthcare, downtime is not an option — especially for patient-facing systems. Having fewer moving parts helps speed things up.

Traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) are mechanical devices — magnetic platters that spin at high speeds. The mechanical arms’ read and write heads access the available spaces on each platter and write the data. That’s a lot of moving parts to rely on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Mechanical devices are prone to occasional failure, and they’re inherently slower than digital data processing solutions like SSDs.

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SSDs’ reliability is second to none. Without any moving parts, SSDs are immune to most physical shocks, so they’re well-suited for highly mobile devices, including laptops. There’s also nothing mechanical to wear out, and no motors to break. SSDs’ life expectancy depends only on the disk memory’s capability to continue storing electrical signals, which can last quite a long time.

In frontline healthcare systems, where mobile devices are likely to encounter bumps, shocks and drops, an SSD is more reliable than a traditional HDD. In especially time-sensitive situations, like the operating room or the emergency room, inadequate data access can have dire consequences. In healthcare IT departments, drive reliability is nonnegotiable.

An avid speed-reader

SSDs are now several orders of magnitude faster than traditional HDDs. In clinical environments, people can’t afford to wait on answers, so quick performance is paramount. SSDs can offer huge speed increases, depending on their form factor, the type of silicon used, how it’s stored and the type of bus the drives are attached to.

In heavy-read use cases, such as database searching, an SSD’s fastest read rate far surpasses that of HDDs. This could be useful in many modern scenarios, such as running simulations of how a virus will spread, or crunching the results and common side effects of vaccines in large-scale clinical trials.

More SSD uses for diverse healthcare benefits

While speed and reliability are leading indicators for flash storage in healthcare, there are other noteworthy benefits.

Healthcare is often delivered in harsh environments, and the supporting mobile systems should make the job easier, not add distractions. SSDs are essentially silent and produce very little heat, while traditional drives have noisy rotating platters, as well as the seek heads reading and writing data.

On-the-go healthcare workers in patient transport and home care environments often need devices with long-lasting battery. SSDs draw minimal power compared to mechanical drives, making them well suited for mobile devices.

Samsung is a premier manufacturer of NAND, the medium of flash memory used inside SSDs. Samsung drives are designed to be reliable and high-performing from the start, engineered to exact specifications, and they come with competitive warranties, so you can be confident in the longevity of your purchase.

SSDs may seem complicated, but finding the right form factor for your application can be simple. With this helpful infographic and this quick, free assessment, you can easily improve read and write speeds — so you can access all the data you need, the moment you need it.

Posts By

Jonathan Hassell

Jonathan Hassell is an award-winning writer specializing in enterprise information technology, including administration, security, and mobile. His work has appeared in Computerworld, CIO.com, Network World, and dozens of other publications.

View more posts by Jonathan Hassell