Allegro Pediatrics is a privately-owned pediatric practice spread over nine locations in the Bellevue area of Washington State. More than 90 trained clinicians work from neighborhood clinics to partner with families and deliver quality healthcare across many different pediatric care specialties.
Multiple IT Challenges
IT for Allegro’s total headcount of 450 staff is provided from two data centers – a hosted off-site facility and a second site at its administrative office which runs some specific applications, acts as a failover for other systems and is the main production environment for the telephone system.
In common with all healthcare organizations, Allegro faces multiple technology challenges concerning compliance with legislation on the protection of patient healthcare information and this became even more relevant in 2010 when the organization implemented a new electronic health records system from Greenway Health.
Concerned that its legacy systems were no longer capable of supporting the roll-out, Allegro sought a new platform, as CIO, Brock Morris, explains: “In 2009 we had a very small Citrix implementation and we made a strategic decision that Citrix was the right solution for us to go forward with. It was a leader in the field and had solutions that we could use to securely manage and deliver this application with performance, speed, stability and scalability.”
Citrix Roadmap for the Future
Allegro’s Citrix roll-out featured two NetScaler MPX 5500 appliances. These hardware-based solutions provide industry-leading web application delivery and load balancing spanning both enterprise data centers and cloud infrastructures and are designed to deliver five-times faster delivery of applications and cloud services.
Application virtualization software Citrix XenApp and hypervisor platform, Citrix XenServer, are also part of the line-up.
“Citrix allows us to deliver the health records application to our doctors when and where they need it for patient care and also allows us to keep that information secure,” says Morris. “None of the protected health information ends up on the devices that our doctors are using. We are able to keep that in the datacenter and keep our patients health information protected while still allowing our doctors the flexibility they need to care for our patients. Citrix is the perfect solution for healthcare organizations because it combines security, flexibility, scalability and ease of use with a seamless experience for our users. It made the migration a seamless experience. Users were able to log straight in through the Citrix storefront, access applications and get right to work.”
Search for a Sound Partnership
During the Citrix set-up, Allegro realized that it needed help with using its NetScalers to correct load balancing problems and that is when it first came into contact with Right! Systems.
“There comes a point with something like Citrix where, unless you are able to bring somebody in house who has Citrix certification, you have to have a partner in that space, and I use the term partner very intentionally,” says Morris.
“We had been using another local vendor who was just not providing us with the response times we required and did not understand Citrix products. I needed a partner company who would listen to us and respect us and we had a good relationship with Right! Systems right out of the gate. “The decision to go with Right! Systems was the culmination of a lot of things and in particular their Citrix expertise. I shared with them the trouble we were having with load balancing and they told us they could make the Netscalers work. It was good to have somebody come in and confidently say that.”
“The initial good feeling we had about Right! Systems has served us well ever since. They have the constant ability to look at our environment, become intimately involved in the needs of our organization then actively bring solutions forward. I have never experienced that level of service, even from very large vendors.”
Underpinning New Projects
One successful Allegro project that drew on Right! System’s Citrix expertise was the roll-out of 110 Windows 10 devices to all the medical assistants. Right! Systems optimized the Citrix environment to ensure that it could handle this ambitious roll-out and it was completed in just one day across all clinic sites and with no downtime.
“It was the most successful migration we have performed in our organization,” says Morris. “Without Citrix and the help of Right! Systems, we would be much more reticent about rolling out a Windows 10 environment and it would take us a lot longer to do validation and testing. Citrix allows us to be dynamic and move forward as technology changes.”
More recently, Right! Systems has been involved in a project to replace external services for out-of-hours nursing with a team of home workers. Not all of the nurses had home computers and Allegro did not want to deliver full-blown desktops to their houses so Right! Systems was called in to provide a solution.
“We needed a technology solution that would support this project and it was Right! Systems proposal to use iGel endpoint management software that allowed us to deliver a fully secure desktop environment for nurses while managing them in-house. Right! Systems also helped us with one of the biggest challenges which was to deliver our phone system to nurses at home.”
Working with Right! Systems on this project has reduced the cost of providing the expensive external nursing service. Also, the partnership has helped reduce the wages bill as Morris explains: “Having Right! Systems as a partner means we can avoid hiring a full-time person., Not having to provide that internal expertise is a tangible $75,000 a year saving that we can easily attribute to the partnership.”
Other innovations that Right! Systems has delivered to Allegro include new storage solutions with backup archiving in the cloud and an Aruba wireless network.
Allegro is about to embark on a major server infrastructure overhaul and to re-think its virtualization platform, and Right! Systems will certainly be involved.
“They are a true partner who give us the ability to bring efficient technology solutions to our organization. They see a need and they bring forth solutions,” concludes Morris.
“Having somebody who understands your business is what’s really important. They just don’t come in to deliver solutions. They take time to learn what pediatrics is all about; to understand the size of our organization and what our needs are. I know that if I bring Right! Systems in, things will get done. It’s a no brainer.”