Iain says the practice’s history and growth led to a complex IT environment.
“We had a third party hosting the actual server and that was separate to our IT support provider. Overall, we were starting to find we were having more and more problems and a less stable environment,” he explains.
Required was a simpler, supportable and stable IT system with improved back-up capability and increased security to accommodate the reality of remote working and access for doctors working across multiple sites, without significant latency.
In addition, data storage was an equally important element as part of the solution required by the practice as it moved from a legacy of paper records to a paper-light environment and, ultimately, essentially paperless.
“We also needed to think about the future, so whatever we did needed to be scalable to support growth.”
Unofficially, BTG already had a good understanding of the practice’s core needs before it was brought to replace the ageing and unreliable infrastructure following earlier discussions.
“BTG set out a series of projects in bite-sized chunks that were digestible enough they could be managed without disruption to our practice.”
Iain says the practice quickly moved from a situation where the BTG team was on site installing what was required to rarely needing to be on location.
“That’s a sign of success for us.”
The first project involved transferring systems from a hosted virtual server to a cloud-based solution. While this improved remote access and provided better backup solutions, it also enabled the implementation of multi-factor authentication to improve the security for remote access.
The next task BTG tackled information storage.
Iain explains the previous system relied on a NAS storage system for data with a secondary NAS as backup.
“We moved from the NAS storage system to using both Microsoft’s SharePoint and OneDrive. Part of that was implementing genuine backup,” Iain says.
“When we undertook this, we discovered we didn’t have genuine backups occurring. We have taken the view that everyone is vulnerable to attack this days and we don’t want to make that easier for anyone determined enough to cause damage.”
Another project will begin as the practice moves to a different electronic health record (EHR) provider, which Iain is confident will be seamless.
Within that project is migrating thousands of patient records into the new EHR system.
“We do upwards of 4000 non-invasive tests on site every year so there is lots of data and that needs to be integrated into the new system. We will be working with BTG to manage information flows, reducing the number of human steps in that process as much as possible. BTG is assisting us to find easy integration methods to move the data from where it’s collected to where it’s going to be stored in digital form.
“Ultimately, we want to get to a point where BTG can monitor and manage our system offsite easily. We’re still working on that and also continuing to upgrade our security and protection at each stage as well.”
Iain says there was very clear communication with BTG at every step.
“At all stages the BTG team has been fantastic to work with. You always know where you are with them as communication is consistently clear. Increasingly, it’s one area that I don’t have to spend a lot of time on as I’m confident in BTG’s guidance and delivery.
Iain says one important BTG approach was clearly understanding what the practice needed as opposed to what it would like to have.
“Right from the outset BTG understood what we needed and have worked with us consistently to break that down into projects that could be implemented without disrupting our business at all.
“They have progressed us to a situation where we seldom have problems with the underlying IT system any longer and can get on with our day-to-day business of looking after patients.”