IBM has been tapped to provide core disaster recovery/business continuity IT services for three major New York hospitals in a contract worth about $380 million.

The deal puts Big Blue in charge of establishing disaster recovery and back-up facilities for Mount Sinai Hospital, New York University Medical Center and NYU Downtown Hospital in New York City.

The contract was prompted by Sept. 11, during which New York University Medical Center's data center near the World Trade Center had to be evacuated and later moved to Mount Sinai Hospital's data center farther uptown.

In addition to disaster recovery planning, the contract includes a plan to pursue joint projects in Life Sciences research, such as information-based medicine and medical imaging. That's in addition to working with Mount Sinai Hospital and NYU Medical Center to develop strategies and infrastructure to support the research programs, the hospitals said. IBM's research division is also involved in the contract.

In addition to providing duplicate data centers outside Manhattan for back up in the event of a disaster or other disruption, IBM is slated to help the The Mount Sinai Hospital upgrade its IT infrastructure in order to develop new clinical applications, including pharmacy applications and information systems.

The deals are priced on variable cost structure, which reflects IBM's move to provide on-demand services to customers that enable the purchase of computing services as needs scale up and down.

In addition, the hospitals will be getting infrastructure services such as data center operations, voice and data networking, and end user computing in the contract.

The basic IT infrastructure and operations management will be for all three hospitals, IBM said, while services like clinical systems management will be provided on an individual basis. IBM's work with the hospitals will help them advance their clinical missions to continuously improve patient care.

"This new agreement will allow us to focus on doing what we do best -- treating patients and searching for the answers to complex medical challenges," Richard Donoghue, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Business Development at NYU Medical Center.