“HP’s single vendor strategy makes a very
difficult job simpler. The fewer contacts we
have to make to support our data center and
applications the better. That’s why 98% of
our servers are from HP.” — Dean Hiles,
Director of Information Technology,
Genesis Health System
Success story: HP technology helps Genesis Health System achieve its
mission of providing compassionate, quality care
A mission of care
In 1869, the predecessors of Genesis Health System founded
the first community hospital west of the Mississippi. Today,
this not-for-profit healthcare organization serves a 10-county,
bi-state region of the Quad Cities metropolitan area and the
surrounding communities of Iowa and Illinois. However, when
it comes to clinical capabilities, groundbreaking research
and financial performance, Genesis Health System far
exceeds its geographical limits — earning recognition as one
of the nation’s top 100 health systems and achieving medical
firsts in the nation and even the world.
Genesis Health System consists of 22 care providers,
including three hospitals, a skilled nursing facility, long-term
care, assisted living, laboratories, urgent care, home health,
outpatient clinics, group practices and more. The single factor
that unites this diverse group of components is the mission of
Genesis Health System — which is so core to the organization
that it is written on the back of every employee’s badge:
“Provide compassionate, quality care to all those in need.”
To support this mission, Genesis Health System relies on
information technology solutions from HP and its partner
Cerner Corporation.
Creating a seamless experience
According to Dean Hiles, Director of Information Technology
at Genesis, the organization faces two key challenges in
meeting its goals: first, trying to maintain a budget when
reimbursement is down and medical liability is up and
second, constantly addressing the healthcare worker
Hiles explains, “We are trying to implement systems that
make our workforce more efficient and provide better care
for our patients. We’re really working toward a seamless
experience. Our goal is to make it so that when a person
enters our health system at any point, we know that they’ve
been here and what they experienced — so we don’t have
to ask the same questions again and again.”  
From an IT standpoint, creating a seamless experience means
integrating multiple applications into a single system. And
that is a very big job.
“System integration is a major challenge for us, but that’s
our goal,” says Hiles. “We have multiple applications that
are difficult to integrate and we started with our acute care
facilities, but it will take another three to five years
to complete.”
Genesis Health System began its marathon integration
project in 1999 when it implemented the Cerner Millennium®
architecture. Hiles explains, “The major building block in our
strategy for the seamless experience is to use Cerner as our
clinical data repository. We also have applications from
other vendors, but ultimately we want to be able to bring
them into Cerner.”
Hiles explains why Genesis chose Cerner. “As we started
looking for a different solution when our previous one was
end of life, we wanted something that would take us into the
future. The Cerner patient-centric single database for all
patient information appealed to us. Overall, we’re very
satisfied. We think that Cerner has the right vision.”
Three-legged stool
To implement its new solution, Genesis chose an HP-based
solution for its server platform. “We look at it as a
three-legged stool,” quips Hiles. “We have Genesis, HP and
Cerner all working together to make it happen.”
Genesis runs its Cerner implementation on HP AlphaServer
systems and the HP OpenVMS operating system.
According to Joe Murray, Principal Technician on the
Cerner implementation, Genesis chose HP based on a
recommendation from Cerner.
“OpenVMS is Cerner’s lead operating system — in fact, they
use it themselves. For us, OpenVMS has been very stable
and reliable.”
 “If Cerner is our application of choice for
providing and documenting our care, we
have to make sure that it’s available and
reliable. That’s where HP comes in — to
make these applications available to all of
our caregivers 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week.” — Dean Hiles, Director of Information
Technology, Genesis Health System
Hiles adds, “If Cerner is our application of choice for
providing and documenting our care, we have to make sure
that it’s available and reliable. That’s where HP comes in —
to make these applications available to all of our caregivers
24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
In addition to availability and reliability, security is a high
priority issue at any healthcare enterprise — and a driver for
a single-platform architecture. HP OpenVMS AlphaServer
systems are very secure by design. Hiles, who heads the
Genesis security team, explains, “The more applications and
functions that we can get on one platform, the easier it will
be for us to control access.”
The road to system integration began in 1999 when Genesis
deployed three Cerner applications — lab, radiology and
pharmacy — on an AlphaServer GS60 system, gradually
expanding the server with more processors and memory to
meet the demand for more capacity. In mid-2001, Genesis
purchased an additional AlphaServer GS80 system in order
to do a Cerner upgrade and add Cerner’s charting
As clinicians used the system more and more, the
AlphaServer GS80 system approached the top end of its
capacity, so the IT team split the environment across two
nodes and implemented an OpenVMS cluster solution
demanding extreme high availability. This adaptability is
possible because of the clustering capabilities of OpenVMS.
“To us, the biggest benefit of OpenVMS is clustering,”
says Murray.
From painless management to disaster tolerance
The Cerner implementation on OpenVMS AlphaServer
systems is just part of the HP presence at Genesis. The
organization runs Cerner through Citrix, which runs on HP
ProLiant DL380 and 360 dual processor servers. In total,
there are close to 250 HP servers in production running a
variety of operating systems, including NT4, Windows®,
Tru64 UNIX® and Linux.
While managing such a diverse set of servers could be a
headache, an HP management product called Insight
Management 7 makes it painless. “Insight Management 7 is
really slick,” comments Murray. “It helps us manage and
monitor the performance of all of our servers and push down
driver updates — without having to visit each server on a
case-by-case basis.”
Enterprise-wide storage is another major advantage of HP.
Hiles elaborates, “The StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array
(EVA) storage area network has worked extremely well for us.
In the past, we had to buy storage for every server we
purchased. Now we don’t have to.”
The HP storage area network also supports the organization’s
upcoming rollout of a disaster tolerant solution, which is
planned for implementation on a second AlphaServer 1280
system. Because of the OpenVMS capabilities for disaster
tolerant solutions and wide area clustering, Genesis will be
able to create a second data center two and a half miles
from the present data center site. Hiles explains, “We
already have our own fiber between two of our major
facilities, so we’ll be distributing some of the servers between
the two. Again, our close working relationship with HP and
Cerner will make that happen.”
Shared support, shared vision
Genesis finds compatibility between servers, operating
systems and storage very important. Hiles explains, “HP’s
single vendor strategy makes a very difficult job simpler. The
fewer contacts we have to make to support our data center
and applications the better. That’s why 98% of our servers
are from HP.”
Commenting on service, Murray says, “We have over 100
applications that we serve up here. The support we receive
from Cerner and HP is top notch. The local HP techs have
been wonderful to work with — they have bailed us out on
several occasions.”
What’s on the horizon for Genesis? According to Hiles, “We
see future implementations of other Cerner products as we
move forward. Each year we grow our Intel®-based ProLiant
server farm significantly. Our EVA central storage strategy for
our medical imaging system — which happens to not be
Cerner but coexists on the HP storage system — is another
huge initiative for us. We’re constantly growing, and both
Cerner and HP are part of that.”
Maintaining a steadfast focus on care, Genesis Health
System has invested significantly in the technology to support
that mission. HP — with its compatible offering of servers,
operating systems, storage and service — looks forward to
working with Genesis Health System as it continues to
advance the state of healthcare.
“OpenVMS is Cerner’s lead operating
system — in fact, they use it themselves. For
us, OpenVMS has been very stable and
reliable.” —Joe Murray, Principal
Technician, Cerner Implementation,
Genesis Health System
Adaptive enterprise solution overview:
Meet ever-changing needs and growing demand
Challenge • Improve efficiency by creating a seamless patient experience throughout the continuum
of care
• Boost productivity of the clinical workforce to help address healthcare worker shortage • Create a single, patient-centric data repository Implement Cerner Millennium architecture
running HP OpenVMS clusters on
HP AlphaServer systems with an
enterprise-wide HP storage area network
• High availability, reliability and security • Integration of multiple applications into a single system • Adaptability and scalability to meet future needs • Central storage solution that eliminates the need for storage on every server Solution Results At a glance • Name: Genesis Health System • Headquarters: Davenport, Iowa • Formed: 1994 • URL: www.genesishealth.com • Products/services: Genesis Health System and its  affiliates offer a full continuum of care including
 preventive, primary, acute and tertiary hospital care;
 home health and nursing home care; and hospice,
 rehabilitation and long-term care. Genesis is
committed to minimizing healthcare costs,
enhancing the range and quality of services offered,
and improving access to care for those in need. The
system brings together more than 675 licensed beds,
600 physicians, 5000 staff members and hundreds
of volunteers to serve the community.
Technology highlights •Hardware: a total of 250 ProLiant and AlphaServer systems. For the Cerner implementation: one
AlphaServer GS1280 for production one GS60 and
one GS80 for non-production and production failover
additional GS1280 planned for disaster tolerance.
•Operating systems: HP OpenVMS, HP Tru64 UNIX, Windows, Linux • Software: Cerner PathNet (Lab), RadNet (Radiology), PharmNet (Pharmacy), PowerChart (electronic charting)
and EMPI (central repository) running on Cerner
• Storage: HP StorageWorks EVA and ESA systems in a storage area network • Services: Gold Support from HP Global Services For more information on how working with HP can benefit you, contact your local HP
service representative or visit us at www.hp.com
Cerner Millennium is a registered trademark of Cerner Corporation. Intel is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation in the
U.S. and other countries. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. UNIX is a registered trademark in the
U.S. and other countries, licensed exclusively through X/Open Company, Ltd.
© 2004 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The
only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and
services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or
editorial errors or omissions contained herein.