The Customer

A physician-owned Application Service Provider (ASP) in Winston Salem, North Carolina is in the business of helping medical practices move their critical patient data and paper records into secure, easy-to-use digital formats. The ASP hosted their servers with a subsidiary of Windstream and sought additional support from other IT vendors for Managed Services. By the time they had gone through their 3rd IT services vendor with frustrating results, they turned to Windstream for a better recommendation, and Windstream turned to us.

The Challenge

As the ASP’s client base grew, they noticed certain elements of their Microsoft networking solution were not correctly implemented. They needed to improve the reliability of their servers, connect 13 different medical practice clients to the data center, and maintain all the data lines. On top of the network sits the EHR (Electronic Health Record) application, the critical beating heart of their business. So when the network was not functioning properly or servers went down, access to the EHR was impaired across all 13 customers causing not only loss of revenue, but also impacting patient safety. The IT department was struggling with servers that wouldn’t stay up, and they felt left in the dark with little to no customer service from their previous vendors. They were unable to escalate or get any response, and at times servers were down for an entire day.

“In the past, we’d have initial contact and 90% of the time we never saw or heard from that person again. For us, having uninterrupted contact with the team that has been there from the beginning, as they have been for us at Grassroutes, is tremendous.”

The Solution

Grassroutes was able to offer immediate relief by stabilizing the network and dramatically reducing server downtime.

Step one was to improve visibility. Providing the company with a web/mobile accessible support portal immediately ensured that everyone had up-to-date and accurate information about issues, questions and resolutions. In the past, the notification system for alerts relied on the very infrastructure it was monitoring to be up and have access to the internet. Migrating monitoring to an externally accessible and centralized portal drastically improved response time by ensuring that alerts, issues and outages were visible and available, even when access to the infrastructure was not.

Once Grassroutes had effective visibility into the state of the network and the mechanism for identifying non-desired behavior, we began gathering an inventory of the assets, present on the network, in an automated and electronic manner. Armed with that information, the process for addressing outstanding security, performance and stability issues began. Remote assistance agents, centralized virus/malware protection and automated policy-based vulnerability and patch management tools immediately improved the overall performance of the network and increased the stability of the servers. An audit and cleanup of firewalls and routes combined with optimization (and in some case creation) of backup schedules and jobs addressed many of the responsiveness issues that users had previously been experiencing.

Ongoing monitoring, enhanced communication and continual maintenance have been critical to the continued stability of the environment, and, when combined with rapid response time to new incidents provide a recipe for continuing customer satisfaction.

“If something does happen, Grassroutes knows it even before we do. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, they are always monitoring the system. Their team has a fundamental knowledge of our business. They’ve never lost contact with us and that’s been incredibly refreshing. We’ve had experience with other IT companies from some of the largest North Carolina has to offer to small, mom and pop organizations. Grassroutes is ahead of the entire pack. They are, by far, more knowledgeable, more available and more supportive than any other vendor.”

The Results

Application Service Providers worry about several threatening factors that could impact their business at any time. The possibility of losing clients if the network doesn’t stay up is always on their minds. Getting the network stable was paramount. With so many changes going on in healthcare today, practice management companies are at risk of losing clients to larger groups. Due to the recent the influx of government, many doctors are scrambling to stay ahead, and some are taking a hit.

“With several of our practices running dual systems, Grassroutes has been instrumental in helping us address these complexities. By keeping the servers up, monitoring the entire network, all the way out to the edge, and securing the EHR application with 24 X 7 accessibility, they’ve helped our clients stay competitive. When our clients are happy, naturally we are happy! We live in a society where bigger is better and so it’s wonderful to find a small company like Grassroutes focused on helping other small companies. The opportunity to improve the medical data center and help healthcare groups be more successful is out there and we’re glad Grassroutes is able to address that need. When we escalate to Grassroutes service we absolutely know the problem is being taken care of. It allows us to focus on what we should be doing and get back to business as usual.”