Home > Reviews > Healthcare Monitoring Tools in June 2021
Modern hospitals are highly digitized. To ensure that hospital operations run smoothly, the availability of all IT and hospital systems such as HIS (Hospital Information System), LIMS (Laboratory Information and Management System) or RIS (Radiology Information System) is crucial. In addition, the availability and performance of the central communication servers that connect the individual systems are just as vital.
Failures can not only lead to unpleasant delays, but in extreme cases can also endanger human lives.
We had our Newsroom Specialists analysing the currently mostrelevant solutions for medium and large Medical Healthcare monitoring on the bench:
PRTG, ManageEngine, WhatsUpGold, Solarwinds
• User-friendly monitoring tool with comprehensive features • Easy integration of hospital systems like HIS, RIS or LIMS into the monitoring process • All-in-one product at a fair price with no additional features to pay for • Windows required for server installation; SaaS solution available for Unix computers
PRTG Network Monitor is a powerful software solution that can monitor specialized hospital systems in addition to the traditional IT environment. With PRTG you can monitor server availability, bandwidth, performance of virtual machines and databases or cloud services, among other things. In addition, PRTG includes functions that are specifically tailored to the needs of hospitals. For example, important systems such as PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System), which stores medical images generated by X-ray, MRI, or endoscope machines, can be integrated into the centralized monitoring concept without any major detours.
Native support of protocols such as HL7 and DICOM enables easy monitoring of systems such as HIS, RIS or LIMS. This capability is not offered by any other monitoring product and represents a strong unique selling point of PRTG.
In addition to these convincing “hard facts”, PRTG is also characterized by a clear user interface and simple operation.
Mobile apps allow access to monitoring while on the road. A Windows computer is required to run the PRTG server; the SaaS version, PRTG Hosted Monitor, is an alternative for Unix networks.
The license costs of PRTG are only based on the number of monitored devices and services. There are no surcharges for certain features, as is common with other tools.
ManageEngine OpManager is an easy-to-use network monitoring tool that is also suitable for monitoring the performance and availability of hospital IT infrastructure.
For comprehensive bandwidth monitoring, the NetFlow Analyzer, which is available at additional cost, is required. The integration of hospital systems into the monitoring is only possible in a roundabout way and requires detailed know-how.
Regarding additional components for hospitals, Zoho offers a document management system for the administration of patient data and its own service desk solution, which, is separate from the monitoring itself.
The strengths of ManageEngine OpManage are its clear operation and a wide range of functions, but some features have to be purchased separately; this can quickly drive up licensing costs. ManageEngine OpManager can be installed on Linux and Windows, and there are also apps for iOS and Android. Complementary products are available from the Zoho, which can be interesting, but are not without alternatives.
WhatsUp Gold from Progess (formerly Ipswitch) is a market-proven network monitoring tool that can serve well for monitoring hospital IT. The software keeps track of all relevant IT infrastructure data, virtual environments and applications. Central dashboards facilitate an overview of individual components, and a central alert center brings together all notifications and alarms. Since the 2021 version, WUG has expanded capabilities to read and manage logs.
While WhatsUp Gold’s user interface used to be anything but intuitive, its design and operation have improved greatly in recent years. Similar to the monitoring solutions from SolarWinds or ManageEngine, WhatsUp Gold provides flow monitoring at additional cost.
Overall, WhatsUp Gold is a solid network monitoring tool, but lacks native features for specific needs of the healthcare industry.
Software vendor SolarWinds offers several products that can be used for monitoring in hospitals. The Network Performance Monitor (NPM) monitors the performance of important IT systems in the hospital. A separate product, Server & Application Monitor (SAM), is responsible for monitoring the servers. For monitoring IT security and detecting potential threats, the Security Event Manager (SEM) is a good choice. The more functions are required, the more expensive the entire software bundle from SolarWinds becomes, because each component costs a hefty price. In return, the administrator can look forward to a lot of configuration options.
For classic IT monitoring, SolarWinds offers a lot of professional solutions. Special features for monitoring hospital systems such as HIS, LIMS or RIS are also not available with SolarWinds. All SolarWinds products run exclusively on Windows servers.
Nagios is the tool of choice for all fans of open source programs. It runs on Linux and offers enormous scope for configuration. System administrators who like to tinker can thus fully realize and develop their own solutions and features. However, this comes at a heavy cost to usability. Setup and configuration can take days and require a lot of know-how.
Nagios offers all the functions needed to monitor IT infrastructure in hospitals. Regular monitoring of performance enables efficient capacity planning. In case of failures or malfunctions, Nagios sends immediate notifications. Add-ons for many use cases are available in forums. As with most other monitoring tools, there are no native features for monitoring hospital systems with Nagios.
The free basic version of Nagios does not include any support. If you want to save yourself hours of browsing forums, it is best to go for the paid version Nagios XI, which is available from around 2000 USD.