Victorian radiologist picks IBM cloud


news Global technology giant IBM this week revealed Victorian company GIG Radiology has deployed its cloud computing services to enable quicker diagnosis relating to the more than 50,000 daily images the company generates in its clinics across the state.

According to a statement issued by IBM, GIG — which has a series of five clinics in the Melbourne area — had previously used a hosted application to store and process its high image workload.

However, as the business grew, it saw an opportunity to redesign its operations along an infrastructure as a service model, which would allow it to reduce the timeframes involved in high-res image transmission. The new platform allows about 6,000 clinicians across the state to access their patients’ information online.

GIG Radiology selected bare metal services from SoftLayer, an IBM company to host the medical imaging application. Hosted at IBM’s Melbourne cloud centre, the solution ensures the secure transmission of images, streamlines reporting between all state-wide clinics and centralised application, and complies with local regulations to keep medical records within the state. The platform is also easily scalable in case the company needs to expand image repositories on demand.

Since the deployment of this platform, the time of secure imaging transmission was reduced by 45 percent, meaning radiologists are able to review and report an average of 20 images per hour. The benefits of the new solution include faster results for patients and more financially and operationally efficient processes, as radiologists don’t have to wait for the images to arrive.

“The faster we can access and manage information, the more time we can spend with our patients and the more accurate our diagnosis is. This new platform gives our organization the flexibility and security needed to support the business and be ready for growth”, said Renee Zach, Operations and Client Services manager at GIG Radiology.

“Radiology is a technology-dependent area and scalability is a must. We never know when new technology requiring more performance will be required. IBM Cloud allows us to scale in real time without having to wait 6 months to upgrade the infrastructure”.

“Cloud technology is becoming more accepted in healthcare due to the continuing increase in data and cost of delivery. Providers need solutions that enable them to more efficiently manage, store and access their data to deliver better patient care”, said Andrew Kupetz, IBM Cloud CTO, Australia and New Zealand. “With the move to cloud, GIG Radiology is rapidly innovating and improving business processes and workflows as well as allowing the organisation to better collaborate both internally and across the healthcare ecosystem”.

There’s an interesting small point I want to raise about this case study — cost.

Common wisdom in the IT industry is that IBM is not precisely a commodity player. And GIG is not a huge corporation — it’s a medium-sized business. With this in mind, I do wonder why we didn’t see the radiology company go for more of a commodity infrastructure as a service player to meet its needs, rather than IBM, which I would normally consider to be more at the premium end of the market. Is this solution custom enough that it couldn’t be built upon the sort of cloud Amazon provides? Or is it more that the prices are pretty comparable these days anyway?

Image credit: Patrick, Creative Commons


  1. . Is this solution custom enough that it couldn’t be built upon the sort of cloud Amazon provides?

    I wonder if they intend to leverage Watson at some point?

  2. Full disclosure – We sell and provide managed services for IBM Softlayer. Quite a lot of it actually.

    Anyway, Softlayer is an impressive service and it is competitive from a $ perspective with some unique capabilities. When IBM acquired Softlayer they have very much left it to operate as it was, invested massively so Softlayer could expand it’s data centres into many more global locations, yet still leveraging IBM’s sales force and reach. So not I am not suprised at all and I would say that “Or is it more that the prices are pretty comparable these days anyway?” is correct.

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