You know those learning moments in your career that really stick with you? I vividly remember one such incident; it involved more than a dozen hospitals being down, thanks to integration problems between the EMR viewer and the VNA. After the problem was resolved there was an incident review and, given the size of the outage, management was on the call along with several of the CIOs. I remember giving a narrative of the incident, “system went down at approximately 6am local time, the team was notified at approximately 8am when a ticket was opened, operation was restored at 9:35am.” Right about then I was interrupted with the question “You mean you didn’t know the system was down for almost 2 hours?!?” My response was something along the lines of “not until the ticket was opened” and, as you can imagine, the conversation went downhill from there.
The available monitoring was provided by the vendors and resulted in hundreds of emails a day, telling us all sorts of things about the system outside of whether it was working or not. To make things more confusing each vendor only monitored their own system, with varying degrees of success, and with no way to monitor the integration between systems. As you can imagine, with the hundreds of false-positive notifications per day, alert-fatigue sets in. Subsequently, emails were automatically forwarded to a “monitoring” folder in outlook and marked as read. The reality was, in the system I worked on at the time, the physicians (end-user / customers) were both the testers and the true system-monitoring application. They would go about their business, if everything worked smoothly, test passed. If something failed, they would try again later, and after a few failures they would open a ticket and my team would get to work resolving the issue as soon as possible.
This incident, and many others, brought me to the conclusion that there MUST be a better way to monitor this complex system we call enterprise imaging. After much research and no ideal solution to be found, I decided that, with a great team, I could build the tools we always wanted, and Heartbeat was born.
Heartbeat is a different kind of monitoring tool; vendor-independent and designed for enterprise imaging by enterprise imaging professionals. Heartbeat’s patent-pending process creates transactions and sends them throughout the system checking every DICOM device AND the integration between DICOM devices. This provides instantaneous identification of exactly where the problem is. Not only at the system level, but even down to which server inside of an application is not performing. This means that before any user is impacted or opens a ticket, the imaging IT team will know that PACS server 3 at ABC Hospital has stopped processing images (even though it is powered up and services are running). Ultimately, this allows the team to take swift action and be truly proactive in supporting the mission critical imaging systems.
Put simply, Heartbeat by Intelligent Imaging is the tool that I always wanted to have so that I could provide exceptional support to my physicians and their patients, while greatly reducing errors and downtime for my hospitals and clinics.