IBM checks into hospital IT contract

Big Blue signs a $380 million contract to run disaster recovery centers and other IT resources for three New York hospitals.

David Becker Staff Writer, CNET News.com
David Becker
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David Becker
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IBM has signed a $380 million contract to run disaster recovery centers and other IT resources for three New York hospitals, the company said Thursday.

The contract covers three of New York's largest hospitals--Mount Sinai Hospital, New York University Medical Center and New York University Downtown Hospital.

IBM will administer data centers centralizing IT facilities for each hospital, said David Leiderbach, vice president for IBM's health care industry business. Applications and data for each hospital will be stored in a main data center near Manhattan and a backup facility 100 miles away, with the backup data constantly updated through real-time mirroring.

The upshot is that in the event of a crisis, critical hospital systems can be up and running from the backup facility with little or no interruption in business. "We're immediately in a position to re-create the applications and data," Leiderbach said.

That's a goal that has assumed new importance for the hospitals after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., he added.

"NYU Downtown was within the hot zone of the 9/11 disaster," Leiderbach said. "They very much felt the pain and challenge from an information systems standpoint when you don't have a clear continuity plans."

Besides managing IT resources for the hospitals, IBM will also tap into its growing life sciences division to help power research projects at the hospitals.

"A relationship like this allows them to outsource the operational management of IT infrastructure, so they can focus on taking care of patients," Leiderbach said.