A small IT staff at Comanche County Medical Centre needed to upgrade and support the hospital’s MEDITECH system.
The organisation chose the MSite MEDITECH Hosting Solution, a secure, private cloud that offers MEDITECH support and disaster recovery.
“We are required to demonstrate Meaningful Use, and in order to help achieve that we had to upgrade to MEDITECH’s current priority pack. MSite made that move simple. My staff and I were not as involved in the upgrade as we had been before MSite”.
Supporting the IT infrastructure of a hospital is challenging enough. But when your IT department has only three people, the stress is off the charts. “We feel the weight of the hospital on our shoulders”, says Ismelda Garza, CIO of Comanche County Medical Centre, a 25-bed critical-access hospital in Comanche, Texas. Garza and two other employees manage the centre’s 30-plus IBM servers and critical applications on-site.
Perhaps the most stressful part of the small IT team’s work is supporting the hospital’s MEDITECH Healthcare Information System, used by more than 100 doctors, nurses and administrative staff every day. “Our MEDITECH system is a critical part of daily life at the hospital”, Garza says. “There is constant pressure to make sure it is always available so patient records can be accessed”. That pressure was compounded when Comanche needed to upgrade to the latest MEDITECH software version in order to demonstrate compliance with the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services Meaningful Use Criteria. “We needed to implement MEDITECH’s Meaningful Use priority pack, which would require the purchase of additional servers to support it”, Garza says. “But with a small staff, it was exceedingly difficult to continue to implement, maintain and support more servers”.
Comanche also needed to consider the costs of adding more servers to its data centre. “Costs are always a factor for a small critical-access hospital,” says Garza. “It was costing us a lot to keep the data centre here, from power costs to refreshing outdated servers, and even the staff hours required to manage it all”. To solve the challenge of upgrading to the latest MEDITECH version and refreshing the organisation’s existing MEDITECH servers, Comanche decided to explore the possibility of a hosted cloud-based solution.
As it searched extensively for a managed solution, Comanche discovered the MSite MEDITECH Hosting Solution. With MSite, NTT DATA hosts MEDITECH applications for customers in a secure, state-of-the-art private cloud while offering technical support and maintenance for a predictable monthly fee. “At the time, nobody else was offering a solution like that”, says Garza. “We liked the idea of having our MEDITECH servers managed for us, and knowing that our patient health information would be more secure made the decision to go with them an easy one”.
MSite also gives customers assistance in upgrading to the latest versions of the software, as well as disaster recovery capabilities. “The disaster recovery piece was an added bonus for us, because we were backing up data on tape, but we needed a more secure, off-site solution”, Garza says.
Comanche worked directly with NTT DATA to set up the MSite solution and ensure that the hospital migrated smoothly to the latest MEDITECH version. “They were very helpful. There were only two of us on staff at the time, and we really relied their expertise to get us where we needed to be”, says Garza.
Using MSite, Comanche has eliminated the upfront investment and continuing maintenance costs of running its MEDITECH platform on-site at the organisation’s data centre.
Comanche was able to quickly and easily upgrade using the MSite solution. “It was so fast and easy for us to get onto the newest version of MEDITECH by going with MSite,” says Garza. “We couldn’t have implemented and supported it ourselves as efficiently, with just three members of staff. And we didn’t need to deploy several new servers, which saves us money”.
By migrating to the new MEDITECH version, hosted on MSite, Comanche will be able to show Meaningful Use compliance. “We are required to demonstrate Meaningful Use, and in order to help achieve that we had to upgrade to MEDITECH’s current priority pack”, says Garza. “MSite made that move simple. My staff and I were not as involved in the upgrade as we had been before MSite”.
Because Comanche no longer needs to manage and maintain internal MEDITECH servers, the small IT staff can offer more assistance to end users. “We don’t have to worry about uptime or server maintenance for MEDITECH anymore”, says Garza. “Now we can focus on building MEDITECH applications and making them better for our users, as well as completing other important projects”.
The hospital has also improved security, because MSite is a HIPAA-certified private cloud. “It’s critical that our MEDITECH data is safe and secure, because we’re dealing with confidential patient health records, and we need to comply with HIPAA regulations”, says Garza. “Having our data in the cloud with MSite gives us that security”.
Comanche now has the business continuity it needs, with the help of the MSite solution’s hosted backup and recovery capabilities. “Our MEDITECH backups were not happening daily before MSite, and when they were getting backed up, I wasn’t always sure they were making it off-site”, says Garza. “That kept me awake at night, worrying about the loss of patient data if a catastrophic event occurred and hit our data centre. Now, I sleep better knowing that MSite is backing it all up for us and the data is off-site”.
The hospital was confident enough in MSite to move its picture archiving and communication system (PACS) for radiology images to the Cloud Clinical Archive. “Even though we’re a small, rural hospital, we now have the same level of sophistication as much larger hospitals by using cloud solutions”, says Garza.*
*This case study was originally written by Dell Services, which has become NTT DATA Services as of November 2016.