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Phoebe opening new data center

ALBANY, Ga. -- A move at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital several years in the making has now become a reality.

Officials are currently in the process of moving its information technology resources into a section of Medical Tower II, having waited seven years for a transition to take place.

The center includes a 2,500-square-foot server room, which is designed to give multiple routes for every piece of information so that nothing is lost.

"Everything is redundant. We make sure nothing goes down," said Don Scott, senior systems engineer at Phoebe.

The server holds electronic material vital to the hospital ranging from patient information to X-rays to pharmacy records. It even retains some of the basic systems such as air conditioning, phone and power.

The center also has a monitoring system allowing the information technology staff to keep track of systems within the hospital's individual floors, and in other Phoebe Putney Health System facilities, so they can better identify and repair a problem.

"It's a monitoring tool that gives us a snapshot of what's wrong," said Michael Elder, director of technical services at Phoebe.

This transition at the hospital comes as medical facilities throughout the country are moving in the direction of utilizing electronic medical records so that patient information is more easily accessible from physician to physician.

"There are new rules and regulations coming out saying that information needs to be available to other hospitals," Scott explained. "When I go on vacation, I want to know they (doctors in another town or city) have access to my information."

In the next few months, physician orders at Phoebe will all be electronic. Developments will also eventually allow patients to communicate with their doctors and schedule appointments online.

All major systems will be relocated into the new center between 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday. The operations had been based at 510 W. 2nd Ave. for 15 years.

"Growth and technology was what promoted all of this (the move)," Scott said.

The core systems will be stationed in the tower, and secondary systems will be housed in Phoebe's basement. There are a total of 60 people working in the hospital's information technology department. Of those, about 20 will be working in the new center.