Central Ohio Urology Group (COUG) is the largest urology group in Ohio, primarily serving Franklin County and outlying counties including Fayette, Licking, Delaware and Marion. Services include prostate and other urological cancers, female urological conditions, pediatric urology, vasectomies, kidney stones, erectile dysfunction, among many other conditions. The group also offers advanced procedures including robotic pelvic prolapse repair, robotic prostatectomy, radiation therapy, and minimally invasive prostate laser surgery.
Barely into a major infrastructure upgrade that would connect 25 urologists across 15 office locations, Lynn Miller, the Chief Operating Officer for Central Ohio Urology Group, realized she had mess on her hands. The service provider hired to do the work had botched the job. Network performance had become intermittent at best, connectivity delays were commonplace, and these issues weren’t getting fixed. Worse of all, doctors were losing patients because they couldn’t get hold of electronic medical records in time for consultations.
When Miller’s lone IT staffer suddenly quit, Miller’s troubles deepened. “Not only was the network upgrade project in disarray, but now I had no one to do simple things like fix the usual hardware and software issues,” she recalls. “I had no one I could depend on.”
“Affiliated has made our medical practice a faster, more secure and reliable network operation. Especially in the area of building redundancy in our electronic medical records system, they’ve helped us improve the delivery of quality patient care.”
– Lynn Miller, Chief Operating Officer, Central Ohio Urology Group
After interviewing several IT service providers to help the practice out of this jam, COUG hired Affiliated, a local technology services company with extensive IT expertise in the health care industry. Miller says Affiliated “showed up with an army” of IT specialists, engineers, account manager, web manager, help desk director, project manager and an executive to assess all the problems COUG faced, recommend solutions and chart a path forward. “I had nothing like that before,” she says. “I went from a few unreliable IT people to a full, professional support team. They promised to get our IT operation back on track, in a timely manner, and that’s exactly what they did.”
While developing a comprehensive IT plan to fix and complete COUG’s flawed network, Affiliated assigned an “ambassador” to work onsite 20 hours a week to troubleshoot network problems and learn the complexities of the COUG operation. The ambassador, Miller says, was key to the transition. He identified the need for special billing and security requirements, antivirus and spam filters, and software upgrades customized to new hardware.
By the time the Affiliated team began overhauling the network, the ambassador knew COUG inside and out. “He had gained a deep knowledge of our complex practice, processes, and management style, and was able to share those insights with the technology team,” Miller says. “Affiliated gave the clinic an IT problem-solver.”
“With Affiliated, I feel like I have a Chief Information Officer and technology team at my beck and call. If you’re building a complex and modern medical practice on the speed and reliability of information technology, they make life much easier.”
– Lynn Miller, COO, Central Ohio Urology Group
‘Improvements every day’
Miller says the results were immediate. Not only were the various IT projects completed on time by Affiliated’s team, but COUG physicians and staff “saw improvements in network performance and connectivity every day. All those issues with stable connections, slow speeds and availability of data disappeared quickly.”
Miller had let go of the original service provider before work began on the largest, most sensitive part of COUG’s infrastructure overhaul — building redundancy into their electronic medical records system. Safely storing and sharing records among physicians, accessing them quickly and on demand, and making sure all records are backed up and secure were all critical to COUG’s operation. “Today our EMR system is what we thought it should be – fast, reliable, secure. We can thank Affiliated for that.”
Today Affiliated’s OneSource solution also maintains COUG’s network, helping the practice save on IT administrative costs, internal help desk services, and up-to-date software upgrades, along with other support services. COUG also contracted with Affiliated to design and implement the IT infrastructure and telephone system for their new 40,000-square-foot medical facility.
Says Miller, “For awhile there, I had nobody to lean on. Now I have a huge team that’ll respond when I need them, they understand the nuances of our business, and they’re pros at what they do. I don’t worry about technology issues like I once did. That’s what Affiliated does now, so we can focus more on delivering the highest quality patient care.”
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