Success Story: How Spectra Networks helped a health clinic become more efficient and secure, and maintain HIPAA compliance. Part II

Part Two: Implementing Changes

Last week we featured the first part of our success story regarding one of our clients. As this client is a healthcare clinic, their technology issues posed interesting challenges including the need to maintain HIPAA compliance, upgrade aging equipment, and make network and access points more secure and reliable. In this week’s blog, we will examine the changes that we implemented and how the practitioners and staff benefited from these upgrades.

 

Once we prioritized our technology goals, we were able to begin implementing changes that made storage, transmission, and access to patient files more secure, efficient, and reliable, regardless of what location or device was being used. Our first priority was securing the infrastructure and making things extremely reliable. In addition, we implemented a Sophos Synchronized Security model which allows for all of the infrastructure and endpoints to communicate with each other and report the health of the equipment. This means that in the event of an infection or breach, the network can self isolate unhealthy endpoints or unauthorized devices from all other devices on the network. Of course, in these updates, we included seamless encrypted email for key administrative staff to communicate securely.

 

To address the problem of aging equipment, we installed a new server and virtualized their

existing servers. In addition, we replaced aging desktops/laptops with new ThinClients. With these additional stations (almost double what they had previously,) the staff was able to be more productive. No more waiting for a laptop to be free before seeing a patient. Now that devices are present in each exam room, there will be an even better patient/provider relationship.

 

Not only did we replace aging equipment in each location, but we also added technology that will help with their new telehealth initiative. The installation of new AV equipment at each office will allow practitioners to take part in video follow-ups with patients. Again, each tech challenge was met with solutions that would allow our client to focus on their patients rather than the technology around them.

 

In order to solve the issue of security, specifically when staff and practitioners bring their own devices to work (BYOD), we proposed and implemented a ThinClient model (Remote Desktop Server). This allows for the actual system data to be stored on a server in a secure location and headless ThinClients to be used to stream a user’s desktop. For security purposes, no actual user information resides on the ThinClient. As an added benefit, this also allows for authorized users to log in securely to the network from a personal device promoting a BYOD atmosphere. By using ThinClients and promotion BYOD, we were able to increase staff efficiency and improved the patient experience. Financially speaking, this saved the organization around 30% by using ThinClients vs Desktop/Laptops. By using a Remote Desktop Server we also allow the organization to be agile, grow as needed while reducing the technology overhead and cost of expansion.

 

Practitioners and staff have responded positively to the changes as now they have more terminals than people at each location! The new systems allow their user sessions to follow them between the exam room and consultation areas. This means that medical history and vitals can be taken in one area and the visit notes to be taken in another without having to log back into resources. Life just became much easier and more streamlined than the past practice of waiting for terminals, hoping the Wi-Fi does not cut out and need to log in multiple times per visit.