Database Performance is Serious business for Hospitals


I had an eye-opening lunch the other day with one of our clients. I’ll call him Mr. R.

Mr. R.'s title is one we are going to see more of in the future as IT, Data, and Hospital Operations keep merging into one amalgamous blob that is almost indecipherable as individual units. Director of Technical Integration and Clinical Engineering, at a hospital with over 1,000 beds and One BILLION in annual revenue (and growing).

It’s a bit of a mouthful but accurately describes what he does; overseeing the massive technical infrastructure needed to keep hospitals functional, and their clients… well not just happy but alive.

“I have SQL Servers that control Infusion Pumps… that means the medicine physically going into patients in their individual rooms are run on SQL Server now.”

Mr. Rs tech stack includes over THREE HUNDRED applications, including platforms like EPIC, ONBASE, and CLARITY. All of these are considered ‘mission critical,’ and 90% of these run-on Microsoft’s SQL Server. Maintaining server uptime and performance is the most important task for his team.

“If our servers are down for an hour, we lose $100ks, patients waiting to get tested/procedures done have to reschedule which can uproot their entire week. Some patients are taking off work and driving for hours for their chance to see the doctor today… and it could even cost people their lives.” Database performance and Server uptime is *Serious* business for Hospitals.

Earlier that week, another client had told me something similar; problems with interoperability can make onboarding new patients take 3-4 weeks. Usually, the Electronic Healthcare Records systems are great AFTER the data is in, but they are sorely lacking in being able to easily import new records. A lot of this is being done by hand at hospitals across the country. People can die while waiting for hospitals to merge data. Every step you can automate in patient onboarding has probably saved a life (or many lives).

There are no vanity metrics in hospitals and that includes IT. Minimizing server downtime is critical to every aspect of a hospital’s functions.

It’s interesting and relevant to note that EHR performance-related problems lead not just to client/patient turnover, but the stress involved can lead to increases in STAFF turnover as well. NIH did a study on this a few years ago. Using and updating an EHR can take up to 50% of a nurse’s daily tasks, and often runs into mandatory overtime or taking work home.

Soaring Eagle Data Soutions provides free reviews of Healthcare Databases


“We used to struggle with server uptime. I had 2 full time DBAs tasked with database stability and performance and was preparing to hire 3 more.”

This was more than 5 years ago. Mr. R instead brought on Soaring Eagle to get their database performance under control and alleviate the stress from his team.

Soaring Eagle’s highly trained Expert DBAs went to work. Using tools like SolarWinds DPA and their own database monitoring platform, FLIGHT Center, the Database administrators at Soaring Eagle have been able to pinpoint root causes of server issues. This lead to improved uptime and data processing speeds, all while consolidating the environment, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars on SQL Server Licensing. (Read about the 8 best tools for SQL Server here)

Consolidating the data environment is no joke. Most companies can reduce their SQL Server licensing by at least 20%, and in many cases up to 40% without sacrificing user experience, and often INCREASING performance along the way. Cutting back not only saves on expensive sql server licensing, but the association infrastructure reduction is similarly huge. This hospital stands to save $25,000 per MONTH from data center consolidation efforts between cutting SQL costs, and related infrastructure (on prem hardware and cloud computing costs).

This isn’t the only healthcare org that Soaring Eagle has rescued the budget for, read more about that here

Now, server uptime isn’t just hitting Five Nines requirements. Server downtime is “Down to Damn Near Nothing!”

Mr. R. has offloaded the burden and stress of maintaining and monitoring these mission critical SQL systems, which allows him to focus on what he refers to as “new stuff.” This includes onboarding the 3 smaller hospitals that have been acquired by the company.

“I onboard the data, move it into our systems, and then send that to Soaring eagle to monitor and manage so I can move on”-Mr. R.

Over the last 5 years his internal DBAs were lost to headhunters and Mr. R made the decision to increase Soaring Eagle’s responsibilities instead of adding to headcount, “I haven’t had to hire a new DBA in 4 years.”


Soaring Eagle Data Solutions is a Data consulting and managed services firm based in Tampa, Florida and servicing organizations great and small across the United States. SEDS specializes in database performance and tuning, security, data analysis and interoperability.