Case Studies: Medical Practices
Medical practices, including physicians’ offices and clinics – have increasingly-complex IT infrastructure needs. Practice management systems, electronic medical records (EMR) software, remote access into hospital and other online systems, PACS and other imaging software, dictation and voice recognition, HIPAA Security compliance, broadband internet access, etc. – all of these are creating more complexity within the practice.
The good news is that the power of software systems is increasing and the cost of hardware and infrastructure is decreasing. The bad news is that this increased complexity creates the need for more experienced and sophisticated IT resources, which are generally not available to the typical medical practice.
That’s where QSE comes in – we are experienced in designing and implementing hardware infrastructure systems to support a large number of different applications for a large number of users, including users in multiple locations. We are also independent of any software vendors or systems, so we can assist in the evaluation and selection of different systems if desired.
Listed below are three examples of QSE’s expertise in helping medical practices implement technology
Case Study 1 – Conversion of a hosted, outsourced medical software solution to an in-house environment
A multi-location medical practice had been using an ASP (application service provider) to host its practice management and medical records. The practice saw the disadvantage of paying high monthly fees with no ownership, and the fees were increasing over time while the response was becoming less than satisfactory. The ASP decided to stop supporting the application this practice was using, so they were forced to bring the application “in-house.” In addition, the practice was building a new facility that needed to connect to their main site, and they had several stand-alone systems whose sole function was to access hospital and imaging systems. In short, it was a mess.
QSE engineered a new, integrated server and storage platform, migrated the data from the ASP to the practice, and set up all the required subsystems so the practice could control their own destiny. We also did all the cabling and other infrastructure for the new remote office, and set it up as a secondary backup site for their critical business and patient data, and created a unified platform to allow secure access from all workstations to their PM, EMR, PACS, imaging and hospital records systems. Redundant storage, high-speed network connectivity and improved logical and physical security rounded out the project, which resulted in a significant increase in productivity and allowed all users to securely access important information much more readily.
Case Study 2 – Software and vendor selection for practice management and EMR
A medical practice wanted to replace their outdated, character-based practice management and billing system with an integrated practice management/EMR system. They had looked at several systems, but were having trouble blending requirements from all their different stakeholders – physicians, scheduling, PAs, billing, medical records, etc. In addition, they were suffering greatly from a situation where approximately 50% of the time a patient chart was somewhere other than where it needed to be.
QSE worked with the stakeholders to help determine requirements, separating the “must-haves” from the “nice-to-haves.” QSE then worked with several different software vendors and pre-selected a group of five vendors to work with the practice. QSE then facilitated actual demonstrations with the leading candidates, and assisted the practice in selecting their two finalists. QSE then helped with site visits and reference checking, and the practice (not QSE) picked the final vendor. QSE then set to work creating all the necessary infrastructure to support the selected software package. This was no small task, since the practice didn’t even have an Ethernet network in place. QSE did all the cabling, designed and set up the server and storage system, and implemented all the workstations, including WiFi tablet PCs. We worked with the software vendor throughout the implementation and beyond to ensure that the practice had everything needed to support their new software system, and we provided post- implementation support.
Case Study 3 – Conversion of a “captive” medical practice to standalone status
An existing and highly successful medical practice needed to replace all of their technology systems because those systems belonged to a hospital and the clinic was going private. The new systems involved not only a new client/server system, including server, workstations and network, but a new phone system, data cabling, broadband access, email, etc. The time frame was very critical as the existing systems were being removed by a certain date and the new systems had to be in place early enough to allow employees to be trained on new practice management software that was also being implemented.
QSE designed the systems and coordinated with the other vendors and had the requisite systems up in time and assisted the clinic with transitioning to the new system. The client/server system that QSE installed is very robust, employing backup power (UPS), tape backup sub-system, firewall and virus protection. QSE did the network architecture, including data cabling for the fixed workstations and wireless LAN for virtual work from laptops within the clinic. The practice management software can now be used from over a half-dozen fixed terminals within the office as well as laptops in the individual patient rooms or in the corridors. The infrastructure that QSE installed can meet the needs of this clinic as they now contemplate expansion and further software packages.