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    Robust ICT Infrastructure Empowers Public Healthcare Services in Greece

Established in 2012, Greece's National Organization for the Provision of Health Services — known as EOPYY — is the country's leading healthcare service provider working under the supervision of the Ministry of Health. It's mandate? To purchase health services for its active and dependent members as well as pensioners. EOPYY's goal is to ensure equal access to a single system that covers all health services — including prevention measures for a range of illnesses and rehabilitation — along with improving the population's general health. With doctors, private clinics, and diagnostic centers all under contract to EOPYY, insured patients visit hospitals and consult with specialists at no cost — this truly is free healthcare at the point of delivery.

Scaling e-Health Systems Through ICT Infrastructure Transformation

Today, EOPYY covers over 98% of the insured population — 11 million people — and its e-prescription and e-referral systems have increased the quality of patient care, backed up by robust, reliable Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure that safeguards patient security, protecting their data. Indeed, with the demands placed on EOPYY's ICT infrastructure only increasing over time, it wanted to take full advantage of the newest innovations and position itself to be able to develop more and more advanced e-health services in the future, supporting, of course, the overall impact and effectiveness of its health programs.

The Greek government wanted EOPYY's legacy data center to be upgraded, so that it would be easier to maintain as the scope of ICT infrastructure continues to grow. Crucially, it also wanted any new data center to ensure that every mission-critical application would be able to run uninterrupted — 24/7, 365 days of the year — providing 100% access uptime for an ever growing amount of electronic medical data and applications.

In 2016, EOPYY began searching for a technology partner that not only shared its vision but was also capable of meeting its long-term mission, to provide excellent patient care round-the-clock. In short, it required a proven solution from a vendor capable of providing End to End (E2E) ICT infrastructure, from servers and storage devices to firewalls, routers, and switches.

Unleashing the Full Value of Healthcare Applications

EOPYY carried out a comprehensive evaluation bidding process to find a suitable solution. Huawei's product portfolio, it discovered, covered every aspect, from networking to storage. And while EOPYY was considering the deployment of 2U rack servers, the Huawei team proposed a far better solution — FusionServer Pro Series 4U rack servers — for the same price. After a thorough evaluation of all the proposals and costs, EOPYY ultimately opted to go with Huawei.

The Huawei solution included a range of cutting-edge products, meeting EOPYY's data center needs: FusionModule Information Technology (IT) racks offer a maximum of 21 kW per rack and a maximum of 310 kW per module, a common requirement for large-scale data centers. The UPS2000-G Series Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) guarantees a safe and reliable power supply with excellent load and environmental adaptability. And Huawei's OceanStor V3 Converged Storage System is well-suited to large databases, file sharing, and cloud computing in the healthcare field. The network solution is powered by S7700 Series Smart Routing Switches — offering superb scalability and reliability — and secured by a highly cost-effective Huawei USG Series next generation firewall.

The system replacement process was conducted in three phases. The first involved the design of the data center room by two local Huawei-certified partners, Uni Systems and Greek operator OTE. In the second phase, the pair delivered and installed all of the equipment. Finally, EOPYY's services and applications were successively — and successfully — migrated to the new infrastructure. Offering the highest quality support — a confidence booster for any customer — Uni Systems and OTE completed the entire deployment during weekends, minimizing disruption.

Making Healthcare More Convenient for Patients

With Huawei's new data center infrastructure in place, data access speeds have been increased by a factor of 10, ensuring improved productivity and security. The new infrastructure has also brought a dramatic reduction in disruptions, achieving zero downtime. And remote, local, and mobile intelligent management significantly simplifies Operations and Maintenance (O&M), boosting efficiency.

An OceanStor V3 Converged Storage System provides high performance, high reliability, and high efficiency storage services. The new system enables EOPYY's IT team to easily manage a rapidly growing healthcare data pool, including patient's medical history, medical and clinical data from patient examinations, and other electronic medical records. Importantly, EOPYY is now in a position to develop new strategies to organize its data and derive actionable insights, to further boost the quality of patient care.

"The ever-increasing demand for healthcare services, together with heightened expectations for accessibility and quality care — especially during the difficulties of current times — proved that appointing Huawei as a technology partner was the right fit, following the public evaluation bidding process. With Huawei's data center solution, we're able to ensure an increased level of efficiency in data collection and management, helping us to build and maintain strong and reliable organizational infrastructure for public health. We are confident that, with Huawei’s technology leadership and customer-centric approach, we will enhance the patient experience, in turn improving and strengthening their trust in public services," said Georgios Aggouris, General Manager of Health Services for EOPYY.

By working closely together, Huawei and its partners have delivered an intelligently engineered, reliable solution for EOPYY, enabling the upgrade of e-health services to accommodate social distancing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, just like organizations all over the world, EOPYY swiftly adopted preventive measures to reduce the risk of infection. In August 2020, with the Huawei data center in place, the organization created a digital platform to support online requests for certain kinds of specialized services, from speech and occupational therapy to psychotherapy. This immediately did away with the need for in-person visits at Citizens' Service Centers — and, with that, the time wasted waiting in queues — with all necessary documents sent in advance through the digital platform. And while bureaucracy has been cut back — always a good thing — requests are now processed far more quickly and far more accurately. In addition, and perhaps, more importantly, all medical prescriptions can now also be obtained through the e-portal, removing the need to visit a doctor in-person unless absolutely necessary.

Which is all to say, EOPYY's new data center solution has enabled it to scale-up applications and use existing available resources far more efficiently. And the solution is future-proofed, meaning it not only meets the needs of today, it will handle the challenges of tomorrow, too.