More Technology More Problems? Not with the Right IT Partner

Perspective

Technology advancements have made advances in almost every other industry possible… including healthcare. A well-managed EHR makes it possible for providers to see more patients, give accurate diagnoses, and collaborate with providers outside their network to achieve better outcomes. From an administrative side, Practice Management (PM) systems streamline appointment scheduling and web billing making the practice more efficient and the patient experience more seamless. However, with technology comes issues. That’s why large providers have an entire IT department to ensure technology works like it’s supposed to as close to 100% of the time as they can. Unfortunately, small to mid-size practices don’t have the luxury of an in-house IT department. For many the practice manager or other employee with some IT knowledge pulls double duty. Others decide to outsource. In either case, when a large system upgrade comes due, having the right IT partner makes all the difference.

Situation

A mid-size eye surgery clinic based in the Dallas area needed to upgrade their EHR and PM systems. This is a process most practices go through about every 7 years due to aging equipment so it’s not something most practice managers have a lot of experience with. The practice did not have a full-time in-house IT solution so they knew they would need to outsource the management of the project to ensure a seamless transition and decrease the likelihood of disruptions in patient care. The office administrator chose to work with Systeem based on the recommendation of another practice that had gone through a similar upgrade.

Objectives

  1. Work directly with the software and instrument vendors on installation, upgrades, patches, and troubleshooting so the practice managers could focus on the day-to-day activities within the clinic
  2. Ensure proper security of all applications and hardware

Solution

Systeem worked directly with the EHR and PM System vendors rather than using the practice managers as a middle man. This created more efficiency in the project overall and allowed the client to continue seeing patients as usual.

The client was appreciative of Systeem’s knowledge of server configurations for EHR, PM, and domains, especially when challenges arose with aging systems. 

  • The client was using an aging Active Directory (AD) server to house their domain. Fortunately, Systeem had someone on staff with experience troubleshooting Active Directory to migrate the domain from the old server to the new hardware.
  • The client also needed to maintain access to the prior PM system after go-live, but the old hard drive proved to be a challenge. Systeem virtualized the older server so the client continued to have access to the old PM system without dealing with aging hardware.
  • Each instrument has its own method of interfacing with the EHR system. Several of the instruments used in the clinic needed to have updates or add-ons installed and print capture solutions setup. In one case, due to the age of a system, Systeem had to locate older software to help facilitate the importing of data into the new EHR.

Due to aging systems and relatively lax security, the healthcare sector is one of the most vulnerable industries for cyber-attacks. The client achieved peace of mind on this front since Systeem now provides monitored Anti-Virus (AV) and system health status of their equipment. The client did not have this before. This allows Systeem to catch problems before they become an issue for the client.

Once the EHR and PM System implementation was complete, Systeem moved into a maintenance roll with the client. The ongoing objective has been to take all IT related chores off the plate of the practice administrators so they’re able to perform their normal tasks and not be diverted to issues they have no knowledge or confidence in resolving.

Results

  • Doctors are able to access the EHR system quicker than before the upgrade
  • Less reliance on paper thus addressing charting and storage issues for paper charts.
  • Patient records do not need to be transported between sites in advance.
  • The stability of the network has improved and allowed the clinic to operate more smoothly than in the past, resulting in increased patient satisfaction and decreased frustration on the part of doctors and administrators
  • Systeem addresses equipment issues before they became serious problems, thus allowing the clinic to operate with minimal interruptions.

Are you planning to upgrade systems soon? Avoid IT headaches and contact us!