UnitedHealth Group plans to break ground this summer on a $100 million-plus data center in Chaska, Minn., according to local media. The company expects to complete the 190,000 square foot facility sometime in 2012. The company, which already operates a 189,000-square-foot data center in Elk River, Minnesota, said only that the new facility will "help increase the company’s data center capabilities."
But the company has several IT initiatives that illustrate the potential for health care applications to boost demand for data center space. UnitedHealth Group is partnering with Cisco to build a national telehealth network, which integrates leading health care and remote video technology systems to provide patients access to physicians and specialists when in-person visits are not possible.
UnitedHealth's subsidiary Optum Health operates the eSync Platform, which is designed to synchronize health care records from multiple providers and healthcare facilities to supply a consolidated profile of a patient's health history.
The new UnitedHealth data center will be located at the West Creek Corporate Park, and area the town of Chaska initially targeted for development by biotechnology companies, backed by a grant from the state of Minnesota. Chaska stands to benefit directly from the increased property tax base from the new building and will also see an economic gain from the data center's use a lot of power, and the city owns the power company that supplies the site, Chaska Electric.