Community Health Center Modernizes IT Operations
This community health center wanted a modern and secure network to protect its confidential healthcare data and allowed its IT team to move away from daily IT tasks and focus on innovation.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Founded in 1963 to address the mental healthcare needs of the New Hampshire seacoast region, this community health center is one of ten state-designated community mental health centers in New Hampshire. The health center is mandated to provide evaluations to children, adolescents and families, the elderly, and the severely and persistently mentally ill regardless of their ability to pay.
As a healthcare organization with a limited Information Technology (IT) budget, and a small IT staff, the health center’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) was experiencing some IT challenges. The CIO wanted to ensure that the community health center was staying current with the latest technologies while also keeping its network secure and compliant with healthcare regulations.
With two facilities in New Hampshire and 150 end-users, it was important for the health center to ensure its network was reliable while also enhancing the center’s information technology security. Stringent healthcare requirements (HIPAA) continue to challenge organizations from a compliance perspective and with a small IT staff, it becomes even more the case.
The CIO had two objectives to accomplish with an IT partner:
- the need to focus the health center’s internal team more strategically, and
- the network to work seamlessly and without interruption.
“Staying up to date with technology and all of its changes is a challenge,” said the CIO, “I needed an organization that I could trust when needed.”
As a member of the Board of Directors for another community healthcare group, the CIO heard about Systems Engineering from other board members. “The unsolicited reference was very valuable,” mentioned the CIO. “It told me that the company’s reputation preceded them and that it was a company I wanted to work with.”
When the CIO began speaking with Systems Engineering, one concern he had was whether or not he could afford the solutions his organization was required to have to meet HIPAA compliance. For that reason, the IT services were put out to bid for competitive quotes throughout the region. Systems Engineering worked with its strategic partners to ensure the health center would be able to capitalize on non-profit discounting as well as any other partner programs, thus allowing the CIO to opt for the solutions the health center deemed necessary and affordable.
“Their pricing was competitive when sent out to bid. It’s the little, but important things that build trust in a partner relationship. Systems Engineering supplies the expertise and knowledge that we don’t have as a small shop,” explained the CIO.
The community health center officially began working with Systems Engineering to prioritize the goals that needed to be accomplished: a streamlined, available, and secure network. With confidential patient information at stake in a world where cyberattacks occur daily, it was imperative to have multiple technologies to secure the health center’s network. The services adopted by the health center include:
- Network monitoring which administers server patching as well as network device monitoring;
- A Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) solution that detects and responds to network events and assists with HIPAA compliance; and
- A Service Response Plan which covers the cost of unexpected service events including subsequent labor and/or hardware components.
- In addition to those solutions, the health center migrated to Microsoft Office 365 to simplify email administration and costs while providing all end-users with email access from anywhere and on any device.
“It’s great to have the monitoring and patching done seamlessly. I used to have a resource who would do just that, but now he’s able to concentrate on more strategic initiatives. It’s a peace of mind knowing that the right patches are taking place when they should take place,” stated the CIO.
When speaking about the various projects with which the health center has engaged Systems Engineering, the CIO said, “I get continuity even if switching from one person to another. No matter who I work with, everything is on time, on budget, and the service is above and beyond. What I appreciate most about the relationship is that it’s a partnership; it’s not just them telling me what I need to buy from them.”
As a result of the relationship with Systems Engineering, the IT team at the health center has been able to focus on long-term strategy while leaving the daily IT issues of the past, in the past.