Troy’s CareTech Solutions Inc. cut the ribbon on a new, $5 million Healthcare Infrastructure Operations Center Wednesday.

The network center features 30,000 square feet of data storage and performance monitoring stations staffed by more than 50 health care IT professionals.

CareTech has built a strong and growing business by taking over the IT departments of hospitals and other health care centers across the country.

Formed in 1998 as a joint venture of Detroit’s Compuware Corp. and Dearborn-based Oakwood Healthcare System, CareTech now has 155 contracts in 32 states and more than 1,100 employees. The Detroit Medical Center was also an early partner in the company.

CareTech is also growing. Jim Giordano, CEO of CareTech since 2002, told the crowd gathered for the ribbon-cutting that CareTech hired more than 200 people in 2010, “and we’re looking to do more than that in 2011.”

CareTech is currently hiring database administraotrs, Web designers and programmers, marketing staff and service desk agents, Giordano said.

Giordano said CareTech was born out of the experience of Compuware co-founder and chairman Peter Karmanos Jr. serving on a hospital board. “He saw how much they spend on IT, and thought there had to be a way to do it more efficiently,” Giordano said.

Oakwood CEO Brian Connolly said the company was the brain child of Karmanos and Jerry Fitzgerald, Oakwood’s president for more than 40 years.

“The idea was never to create a company just to be flipped, but to create a company that had substance, that had growth, that had a presence in this market,” Connolly said.

And Giordano said CareTech has resisted relocation offers from other states, opting to stay in Michgian to grow.

“We have our service desk in Troy for the entire country,” Giordano said. “We will not go overseas for that or outsource that. We want intelligent, well-trained agents who understand the clinical environment.”

Giordano said CareTech is being helped by the current federal push for electronic medical records.

“In our health care system, as patient data is being converted from paper to electronic files — that’s the mandate of the U.S. government — they’re facing serious IT challenges,” Giordano said. “That’s where we come in.”

CareTech’s three data centers in Oakland County are linked by private, secure 96-strand fiber — fast enough, Giordano said, to transfer the contents of the Library of Congress in nine seconds.

According to Kyle Larner, health care infrastructure operations center manager, the center monitors server availability, server health, application performance and network availability. All told, it manages more than 1,000 applications, more than 1,000 servers, and more than a billion transactions a year.

Larner said the company manages the data of four million patients — 500 terabytes, all told. Its data centers are SAS 70 certified, a major industry certification, and have also earned the LEED Gold designation for energy savings.

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