Cloud Cures Hospital's Ailing Email System

After years of almost weekly email system disruptions, Grady Health finds stability in the cloud.

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When Debbie Cancilla took charge of the IT operation at Grady Health System, which operates one of the largest public hospitals in the U.S., she inherited an email system that had become a nightmare for doctors, nurses and administrators.

Most companies or organizations experience occasional email downtime. Grady's aging Novell GroupWise email system was averaging an outage per week.

At the time, in 2008, Grady was facing severe budget problems, and the organization's beleaguered IT team didn't have the time or materials needed to fully fix an email system that cost some $200,000 annually to operate, said Cancilla, CIO and senior vice president.

"For almost 10 years, this organization had no funding, so they had learned to live with what they had," she said. "The servers weren't stable. The filters weren't working correctly. We had configuration problems. We had constant downtime. We didn't have the depth of experience for this."

The healthcare firm was saved that year when state and community leaders created the Grady Memorial Hospital Corp. to run the 1,000-bed Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta along with several neighborhood health centers and an ambulance service.

Multiple fundraising efforts quickly brought financial stability to Grady, allowing Cancilla and her team to better tackle IT priorities.

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