Oracle at the heart of clinical care

“Monin’s expertise was helpful to close the deal for our Oracle Database 12 Enterprise Edition migration.”

Bruno le Marchand, Director IT at Saint-Pierre University Hospital

Oracle is the most important – and extremely business-critical – database platform at Saint-Pierre University Hospital in Brussels. Monin, an Uptime Company, successfully completed the implementation of new hardware, as well as the migration of the hospital’s database environment to Oracle Database 12 Enterprise Edition.

Saint-Pierre University Hospital is affiliated with two top medical schools: the faculties of medicine at Université Libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Health teaching, research and services to the community are three essential and complementary areas the hospital is involved in and which it is continuously striving to develop further. The hospital’s physicians and staff provide clinical care in a broad area of specialty and sub-specialty of medicine. Saint-Pierre University Hospital has top-ranked services in cardiology, children’s health, digestive diseases, gynecology and obstetrics, infectious diseases and ophtalmological surgery, to name but a few. Among other things, the hospital is an internationally renowned reference center for HIV, ebola and tuberculosis. All of the hospital’s services include both surgical and non-surgical treatment of medical conditions, with many of the surgical techniques being developed by the hospital’s physicians. Saint-Pierre University Hospital has a capacity of 582 hospital beds on two locations near Brussels-Midi train station.


At Saint-Pierre University Hospital, IT-director Bruno le Marchand has a staff of 34 IT professionals. “We work in a very interesting environment”, he says. “There’s an important societal purpose to the work we do. Offering reliable IT services is essential to all of the hospital’s operations. As we bring IT to the hospital’s medical, administrative and operational staff, we help the hospital offer the best possible care.” To support the IT team, the hospital counts on the expertise of external specialists. “It’s just not possible to develop every type of deep expertise in-house.” For their Oracle Database environments, Saint-Pierre University Hospital and Brugmann University Hospital, also located in Brussels, decided together the architecture of the solution in order to be able to protect each other in case of failure. “Monin was the missing piece to this puzzle. Monin is responsible for the remote monitoring of our Oracle environment. Whenever we need extra assistance, we can count on Monin’s Oracle specialists. The hospital is a true 24/7 environment. Thanks to Monin, we have the support we need, also during weekends or in the middle of the night, when our own DBA isn’t around.”


When Saint-Pierre University Hospital’s database hardware reached the end of its life cycle, the hospital turned to Monin for advice. “We decided to purchase new hardware and upgrade to Oracle Database 12 Enterprise Edition”, le Marchand explains. “Monin’s assistance was essential to close the deal with ORACLE and make sure all licensing and compliance issues were resolved. Thanks to the upgrade from Standard Edition to Enterprise Edition, it has now become less complex to manage our Oracle environment. Right now, we are still in the process of migrating all of our old databases to the new platform.” Among other things, the hospital runs a large Documentum content management system on Oracle. In the new configuration, Saint-Pierre University Hospital runs Oracle Virtual Machine on five Dell hosts. “We went from three clusters in two racks to two clusters in one rack, replicated using Oracle Data Guard.”


Still, Oracle is not the only database platform in use at the hospital. “It remains our goal to run each application on the database that fits best”, le Marchand continued. “Together with four other hospitals, we run one of the biggest laboratory database in Europe on Oracle. Some other software runs best on SQL. Our Electronic Patient Record runs on InterSystems Caché. But then again, Oracle still is a very prominent and extremely business-critical environment for the hospital.” The applications that run on Oracle at Saint-Pierre University Hospital include several types of specialized patient files, PACS (medical images), OR management, and more. “We can easily say that Oracle remains one of the most important database platform of the hospital”, le Marchand concludes. “And based on the results of the new implementation and Monin’s support services, there’s absolutely no need to change that.”


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