ANN ARBOR — Northeast Behavioral Associates needed to overhaul its IT infrastructure. Their mobile health IT workflow needed to support secure clinical documentation for 25 clinicians on the road across multiple states in New England, all making extensive clinical documentation for each of several visits throughout the day.
“We work with children and their families who are struggling with disruptive behaviors,” said Stephen Patch, CEO of the practice. “You have to work with them in the context of their home environment, because the behavior changes once you bring them to an office setting.”
The problem was saving clinical documentation securely back to one of five offices scattered across New England. Asking each clinician to return to an office to make notes between visits caused huge inefficiencies and unnecessary costs. Likewise, the risk of loss or theft of patient records by leaving paper or digital records in the car between visits was unacceptably high. Although they were taking certain security precautions, such as encrypting their ePHI, a missing flash drive incident helped to motivate a change.
“It didn’t count as a data breach because the information was encrypted, but we still opted to notify our clients,” Patch said. “The real shot in the arm was knowing that we were using servers in separate offices with no centralized system. A fire, disgruntled employee, break-in, or any other mishap would be a huge loss.”
Northeast spent a solid year planning a system that would allow practitioners to make detailed clinical notes immediately after each visit, without requiring a return trip to the office, or storing any patient information on paper, laptop, or other portable device. After comparing the benefits and costs of many solutions, they selected Online Tech’s fully managed, HIPAA compliant cloud.
“Other companies offered similar services for less money, but not the same level of security. We needed to know we could speak to someone at any moment. We wanted a service, not just a product,” Patch emphasized. “Online Tech asked questions and listened to everything we needed and actually saved us money.”
Now Northeast’s practitioners can securely use their laptops after each patient visit to complete documentation from the comfort of their car with secure VPN connections to Online Tech’s cloud. Patient information is never stored on paper, portable drives, or laptops, so even if a device is lost or stolen, patient records are safe in Online Tech’s independently HIPAA audited data centers.
While the practice anticipates 50 percent growth next year, they won’t have to increase their IT infrastructure spend for 3 years. As an added bonus, the cloud solution eased the requirements on their new laptops for each practitioner, saving Northeast enough to pay for more than nine months of HIPAA compliant cloud hosting.
“When we looked at the cost savings, improved efficiencies, and increased security, I thought to myself ‘How do I not do this? I’d have to be an idiot not to do this.’”, Patch said. “Online Tech made it easy. These guys never made us feel stupid. Ever. They could break it down and explain what everything was and why. I understood everything we were signing.”
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