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What is a Health Check?

December 4, 2017

What is a Health Check?

As a Technical Consultant, I get asked this question a lot: What is a Health Check and what does it do? Simply put, a Health Check is no different than the yearly physical we all should be getting from our doctor, but for your IT infrastructure. Instead of checking vital signs and blood pressure, we are measuring your infrastructure’s CPU ready time, memory utilization, network throughput, latencies, etc, and reviewing against benchmarks.

I think it’s very easy at times to maintain the status quo in IT. The classic saying from Bert Lance “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” certainly comes to mind. This is even more prevalent now even as IT has become a critical business and clinical function within a hospital organization.

The biggest challenge with this approach is when technology systems (like our bodies) start to slow down and deteriorate. More often than not, you only notice the signs when something major is happening. Then you have to ask yourself, if I hadn’t put off having a physical would I have caught my high blood pressure before things turned serious?

IT systems are critical to the overall health and stabilization of all healthcare organizations. In the not-to-distant past, I don’t think many physicians cared if the IT systems were always available. Despite this, healthcare IT executives have been pushing (and in some cases, like me, kicking and screaming) for hospitals to invest in IT. Well, HIPAA, HITECH, and Meaningful Use helped us to get what we wanted. Now IT systems are as critical to patient safety as medical devices, and caregivers depend on the availability of their tools at all times. They need and expect their systems to work. This makes understanding the current health of your IT systems a requirement, enabling you to catch issues early before they become big problems.

So, what can I really expect from a Health Check? Health Checks provide your organization with an accurate, detailed picture of the current state of the infrastructure, including a best practice configuration review, performance analysis, and capacity analysis. This data is then analyzed and reported, issues are identified and explained, and a remediation plan is recommended. The report includes a gap analysis and recommended actions for both tactical and strategic alignment based on your organization’s IT strategy. A Health Check looks at where you are today and provides the data you need to make informed decisions to help get you where need to be tomorrow.

-Mike Donahue
Managing Director, Technical Consulting