The Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic and Hearing Center Case Study
Achieving Desired Business Outcomes
The Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic & Hearing Center (ENTHC) of Edina, MN provides surgical and medical services for patients seeking treatment for head and neck concerns. ENTHC also offers hearing services such as testing, hearing protection, and hearing aids to help those who have hearing impairments.
ENTHC was using Dell as their NextGen hosting provider and Veracity for their on-site IT support. ENTHC did not have an internal IT staff, so they contracted with these vendors for all of their IT support.
ENTHC faced many challenges, but three challenges needed immediate remedy.
- Weak Security Posture. Without an in-house, ePHI security expert, ENTHC wasn’t aware of all of the security controls, policies, and technical requirements as set by law or to be good stewards of their patients’ health information. Their vendors, although contracted to provide parts of it, weren’t attentive and fell short of a comprehensive solution that gave ENTHC’s management the confidence that they were doing all things needed. They felt they had exposure.
- Slow System Performance. Their IT systems were performing at a slower speed than was specified by the software manufacture and much slower than was acceptable to providers practicing medicine. Neither vendor monitored or managed the telecom vendors thus ENTHC had to prove that the problem wasn’t on their site or in their telecom. Finger pointing and spread of blame was common.
- Loss of User Productivity. The pain of uncertain security and systems slowness was exasperated by near non-existent user support services. This was ENTHC’s greatest aggravation. Service requests were routed to several departments (and sometimes other companies) before it arrived at a qualified support technician who would accept the responsibility to resolve the issue. This caused delays and distracted ENTHC’s employees from serving their patients.
ENTHC made every effort to work through the issues with Dell because they believed Dell, being who they are, would eventually resolve their issues and rebuild their relationship. But these efforts were in vain and the relationship worsened. It became apparent that new vendors were necessary. The decision to move away was made.
ENTHC reached out to Netgain as they were aware of Netgain’s strong reputation with working with medical clinics. Marya Lydeen, Administrator at ENTHC, had colleagues using Netgain and they were reporting excellent results—their systems were responsive and available. Where Netgain stood out was their Support Services that was intentionally designed to work with healthcare staff rather than tech-talking IT staff. And, their dedication to security was second-to-none being well versed in legislative requirements and technical best practices.
“Netgain provided us with a sense of security because their solutions exceed the standards and requirements set forth by HIPAA,” Lydeen said.
As predicted, Dell moved slowly to release ENTHC’s data. Netgain didn’t allow the response challenge from Dell to impede on the timeline and drove the migration forward to assure the transition went smoothly. “Even with this issue occurring, Netgain completed the transition on time and as planned with ease, thanks to Netgain’s Deployment team,” Lydeen said.
Secure IT Infrastructure
Netgain was quick to add security controls, policies, and techniques to close the vulnerabilities that existed. Their dedicated Healthcare Security Team continuously monitors for new risks, answers any of ENTHC’s questions about suspicious activity, and is alert to any new technology that can have a positive impact to ENTHC’s computing platform. Oversight is provided by Netgain’s Security Officer and Compliance Officer and governed by a Business Associate Agreement.
Stable IT Infrastructure
ENTHC’s slowness problems have been completely resolved. Netgain installed telecom monitoring tools and have taken on the responsibility of working directly with the telecom provider on ENTHC’s behalf. And all computing workloads have been placed into a private virtual environment with flash storage greatly improving Nextgen’s responsiveness. Today their staff can access patient records quickly and remotely, when needed.
“It’s important for our physicians to access information remotely. With Netgain, ENTHC’s information is now highly accessible and work can be completed as if the physicians were in the office,” Lydeen said.
An Efficient IT System
Netgain’s breadth of services allowed them to take a holistic view of ENTHC’s entire IT environment and apply the right management and technology needed to meet their desired business outcomes. From server loads, disaster recovery, PC fleet management, mobile devices, and LAN/WAN networking; a unified approach reduces cost and complexity. All of these services are managed by a dedicated Account Manager that meets quarterly to review services, assess current needs, and advise on future planning.
“With no internal IT staff, Netgain’s solutions ease our IT issues. Now we focus on healthcare and not worry about our IT,” said Lydeen.
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