Monitoring the EHR System Brings Positive Outcomes to Healthcare Company
by September 26, 2017

Filed under: Networking Technology, Performance Monitoring

We heard recently from one of our customers about how they’ve been using AppNeta’s performance monitoring at their company, a healthcare support organization. (They’ll remain nameless here.)

The key application our customer, the head of IT, is supporting is the electronic health record system for hundreds of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Reliability, efficiency and security are obviously the top goals for a critical EHR system—and the stakes are high for patients if the technology has performance problems.

The centralized IT team supports more than 100 separate medical practices or offices, totaling close to 250 users.

And good end-user experience isn’t just a nice-to-have for this IT leader. If EHR users don’t like the system, they won’t use it. Plus, the medical practices don’t have any dedicated IT resources on site, so the IT team knew they’d have to build proactive communications into their processes.

Wanted: A Tool to Diagnose End-User Issues

The IT team was deploying the EHR application to lots of medical offices and wanted to pin down the causes of any issues to resolve support challenges. “It was hard to understand if the experience was poor because of internet performance, lack of training or an application configuration,” says the IT manager.

In addition, they were also working to mitigate one of the EHR systems’ inherent challenges, that it tends to be handicapped by internet performance if there’s too much bandwidth consumption. They also needed to see into guest networks the same way a user does. With multiple locations in the mix, monitoring was key for this IT team.

Our job as the IT team is to make using technology as easy as possible for users.

—Director of IT

Finding and Using AppNeta

Finding and deploying AppNeta brought the team the diagnostic tools they needed. They first deployed the EHR app to various sites. Then they used AppNeta to set up endpoint monitoring and alerting. Once all the practices were in a stable place, they progressed to using the tool for more targeted troubleshooting.

When the IT team reviews application or network performance issues that have arisen at the weekly technology meeting—which includes their help desk service provider—they may decide to open a diagnostic port with AppNeta at the particular location to more closely watch the network or get detail on an issue.

The Positive Outcomes of Performance Monitoring

AppNeta has been a key tool to help the team serve its many practices and plan for growth. There are some benefits that have proved essential:

  • Money saved on bandwidth usage. The organization lowered bandwidth usage about 15% the year after implementing AppNeta. That led to lowered ISP costs.
  • Reduced time to find and resolve problems. IT has saved hours of time, now that the operations and services teams don’t have to investigate every issue to find its root cause.
  • Location-specific performance views. The IT team uses AppNeta to identify when users at an office are consuming bandwidth using non-work applications. Then, the lead contact at that office can decide how to proceed. AppNeta’s reporting has been especially helpful, since the graphs are simple enough for non-IT users to understand the latest data.
  • Current, actionable data. In one case, the IT team used AppNeta to pinpoint a problem to an office’s ISP, then called the provider directly to address the fact that they’d cut the office’s bandwidth in half. They can also make comparisons between practices to isolate configuration differences, and see data trends over time to identify changes. Getting a week of historical data used to be a challenge, but they can now easily see a year’s worth of information on performance.  
  • Standardizing technology and processes. The IT team has used AppNeta data to convince some of the medical practices to update their aging technology. They’ll also use AppNeta to speed up and simplify the onboarding process for new medical practices moving their EHR system to the central hosting site.
  • Future-proofing application performance. The ROI on AppNeta’s tools is proved out by risk mitigation. “It’s like not paying for an oil change in your car,” the IT manager says. “It could be fine, but it could also cost a ton of money down the road in repairs.”

The healthcare company’s IT team now has a new level of insight and tools to support their practices and end users. They’ve achieved a convenience factor using AppNeta, a huge bonus for both IT teams and its customers.