Partners Utilize Team Healthcare IT Approach



Pictured from left: Katie Brooks, Service Account Manager, Roundtower; Wes Vandegriff, Senior Account Executive, RoundTower; Joey Elam, Senior Director of Information Technology, HealthSource of Ohio; and Timo Breitenstein, Manager of Service Account Managers, RoundTower.

Photo by Tracy Doyle

 

When it comes to technology solutions, an integral aspect of HealthSource of Ohio’s IT strategy is to utilize their partnerships to the fullest to avoid piecing together a variety of disconnected solutions.

“We prefer a complete solution, we don’t want to just keep adding things,” says Joey Elam, HealthSource of Ohio’s senior director of information technology.

Elam is responsible for HealthSource of Ohio’s overall IT strategy, and he works with two other staff members who handle the day-to-day tech issues. He partners with RoundTower, leveraging their Managed Services, including Network, Voice and most recently, Security, to ensure IT consistency and continued excellence in delivering top-of-the line healthcare and customer service to its patients.

HealthSource of Ohio is a private, not-for-profit Federally Qualified  Health Center (FQHC) which provides primary healthcare services including medical, dental, vision, behavioral health, and pharmacy, with 17 facilities serving communities in Adams, Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Hamilton, Highland and Warren counties. The healthcare provider also offers outreach and enrollment services for all community members, not just HealthSource of Ohio patients. Their Outreach and Enrollment Department assists adults and children with Medicaid applications as well as Marketplace applications.

“We have a pretty slim internal IT staff – there are just three of us in house,” Elam notes. He turned to RoundTower – a Cincinnati-based elite systems integrator known for its top tech talent and innovative business solutions – for assistance.

“We lean on RoundTower when we don’t have the in-house expertise or resources needed to perform a task or resolve an issue,” he explains. “Whether it’s a router configuration change or reviewing a security log on a server, RoundTower gives us a solid knowledge base we can access any time, and they can assist in managing all our systems.”

And according to Elam, it’s been a perfect match.

“I handle anything that has to do with our computers, data, compliance, compliance policy, security policy, security software and the like. We’ve been working with RoundTower as our  Managed Services provider for about two years now. They assist in managing our Cisco  Infrastructure, virtual servers and several core systems, and they’re an extension of our team, whether we need help with day-to-day support or we are working on complex projects.”

One of the most complicated operations HealthSource of Ohio runs is a call center with a staff of 20 to 26 people that takes   calls for all the health care provider’s facilities in one location.

“About a year and a half ago, we redesigned our call flow structure with patient-facing phone prompts from the ground up,” Elam recalls. “There were lots of gaps, holes, bugs in our previous program, so we had to build from scratch. We brought in RoundTower voice experts and we made vast improvements to our customer service using RoundTower. Our redesigned call flow now offers a streamlined menu structure as well as more consistent options among our facilities, which is better for our patients, especially those who visit multiple offices. The adjustment in options and an adjustment in the number of staff at the call center decreased hold times significantly. Our dedicated call center staff now answers every call within an average of 35 to 45 seconds.”

RoundTower also helped HealthSource of Ohio enhance and stabilize its core system functions, work through major network upgrades, and is currently in the process of installing a redundant network, ensuring the healthcare provider’s network availability in case of a device or path failure.

 

“Everything we do depends on a reliable network and the ability to access medical records. If our network goes down, it’s a challenge to provide effective and efficient care to our patients,” Elam says. “There are workarounds, but they slow our productivity and place an extra burden on staff.  So now, with a redundant network, an unexpected network issue no longer debilitates us. We have an alternative network carrier  which will automatically kick on.”

RoundTower also provides HealthSource of Ohio with 24/7 network monitoring.

“If one of our centers has network trouble, RoundTower will manage both the communication to us about the issue, but also work with the carrier to restore service,” Elam continues. “They watch everything for us. A company our size is not equipped to do that alone. We don’t want to arrive in the morning to find the whole system went down overnight. RoundTower’s 24/7 network monitoring is key to our network’s stability and communication capabilities.”

 

Staying Atop Their Cybersecurity Game

 

As it is today across all industries, security is top of mind at HealthSource of Ohio.

“In my experience – and many others agree – healthcare is by far the most targeted business because medical record information is even more valuable than credit card information,” Elam says. Medical records are chock full of identity theft gold – family history, Social Security numbers, medical information, addresses, etc.

“We’ve always had a stable security platform in place, but it’s one of the areas where we make sure we stay on top of our game,” he continues. “With everyday changes in cyberthreats, we wanted to go above and beyond. As the landscape of threats change, so does our need to protect against those threats. So, we partner with RoundTower to continually review  our security infrastructure. They have top-notch experts that focus on protection for cyberattacks all day, every day. They know what people are doing and how to stop it. Vulnerability testing, security procedures, new technologies – that expertise is what we wanted to capitalize on.”

RoundTower compiles Health- Source of Ohio’s security information from its devices and identifies patterns that indicate potential problems before problems arise.

“They monitor what’s going on with every piece of equipment – firewalls, routers, switches, servers and more – and they also track what’s happening across the industry and in the hacking world.” Elam says.

 

Flexibility, Team Approach

 

RoundTower’s flexibility and focus on working as a team with its partners are two more reasons Elam turned to the technology solutions company for answers to its tech questions.

“It’s no issue for RoundTower if you want to manage your own equipment along with them,” Elam says. “If we have an urgent need, RoundTower is quick in responding. If  we want to handle an issue internally, there’s no pushback. They work with us. I feel like RoundTower is just an extension of our IT department. It’s truly a team approach.”

A RoundTower tech engineer attends every sales meeting, offering experience-based advice about its products, Elam adds – another plus, in his opinion.

“RoundTower never tries to convince me of anything I don’t want – they are committed to meeting the needs we have,” he says. “And they offer tremendous customer service.”

Throughout his tenure in the IT space, Elam has worked with several companies that have tried to do what RoundTower does.

“I have not found anyone who truly is as responsive and responsible as RoundTower,” he concludes. “When HealthSource of Ohio’s IT runs smoothly, that helps us provide better technology for our clinicians and staff so that they can provide better patient care. We’re not an IT company. We want to focus on what we do and know best – and that’s healthcare. RoundTower helps us maintain that focus by rounding out our IT team with their expansive knowledge and resources.”

 

RoundTower Technologies, LLC., is headquartered at 5905 E Galbraith Road, Third Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45236. For more information, visit www.roundtower.com

 

HealthSource of Ohio is headquartered at 5400 DuPont Circle, Suite A, Milford, OH 45150.
For more information, visit www.healthsourceofohio.org