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Why Delkin Devices Industrial Flash Storage Solutions Enable a Better Healthcare Industry

Healthcare files are big, meaning that simple x-rays are about 8 MB each. When you’re talking about one picture for one patient, this might not seem like a lot, but when you consider that a normal brain MRI involves about 230 images, you’re quickly looking at several gigabytes of data per patient. Across a healthcare network that spans multiple cities or states, the amount of data that needs to be stored becomes immense.

That data also needs to be transferable and available on a variety of hosts that perform unique and specific tasks. Industrial flash storage devices are part of what makes modern day healthcare so advanced. That technological advancement would not be possible without rugged, trustworthy industrial flash storage devices that withstand the temperature, shock, and high read/write cycles that are inevitably part of a hospital environment.

Data needs to be stored locally on a variety of healthcare equipment before it can be uploaded to a data hub. This is where portable flash storage devices like microSD, SD, CF, and USB thumb drives have perfected the task of storing large files in a small amount of physical space, allowing critical data to be stored uninterrupted and without worry about data loss.  

It’s also important for healthcare professionals to access this data quickly. With conventional storage solutions, hard disk read speed is often going to be your limiting factor. Hard disks on the faster end have read rates of between 70 and 120 MB/s. This means that loading that 1.8 GB MRI mentioned earlier would take over 15 seconds to be read and rendered. Think of how that can add up, creating enormous down time in an emergency room where every moment is critical. Even if we assume instant transfer across a network, that’s still a long time to access potentially life-saving information.

Flash storage can offer greatly improved speeds for accessing data. Solid State Drives (SSDs) use flash storage to offer about 100 times the read / write speed of a spinning disk hard drive. This eliminates the bottleneck caused by large file size and the inefficiency of slow hard drives. It takes an SSD about 0.15 seconds to read the 1.8 GB of data needed to render the MRI images mentioned. Using industrial flash storage allows a medical network to quickly access patient files, and the data can be efficiently shared among physicians in different departments throughout the hospital network.

Data centers have a variety of options when it comes to industrial flash storage. The solutions sold by various companies have different configurations. Notably, while some vendors offer all-flash solutions, others use tiered storage. These products combine hard disks for increased storage space and flash drives for better read and write speed. Software controllers automatically move files that are accessed frequently into the flash storage area and store less vital data on the spinning disk. The flash storage itself varies as well, with each product offering either single-level cell (SLC) or multi-level cell (MLC) storage. SLC solutions are faster and more reliable, but they’re much smaller in size. Recent advances in technology have made MLC more comparable in both speed and durability, meaning that vendors can increase the storage capacity and choose a rugged, industrial flash storage solution that will endure the demanding conditions for a longer period.

While the introduction of large capacity SSDs to medical data storage offers the most obvious impact, smaller flash storage solutions have had an equally pronounced impact on the healthcare industry. Portable flash storage formats like microSD, SD, CF, and USB thumb drives have become essential for the task of storing large files in a small amount of physical space. This technology is used in a variety of medical devices to provide low-cost local storage that’s interchangeable and physically portable. This means any electronic medical device can have local digital records describing when, where, and how it’s been used. Such digital records are invaluable whenever it’s necessary to reconstruct a series of events in the occasion of a mishap, or to link multiple data sources to construct a conclusive diagnosis and treatment plan.