Apple Valley Medical Clinic Client Story
Complete IT Management Eliminates Downtime and Frustration
Apple Valley Medical Clinic (AVMC) is a primary care clinic with 14 family practice physicians and 5 urgent care providers. As a cornerstone of their community, AVMC has been serving patients for over 40 years. Open 365 days per year, they require an IT environment that can handle the continual care, urgency and severity of the cases they see.
Mark Pottenger serves as AVMC’s Administrator and COO, with the IT department reporting directly to him. With over 30 years of healthcare administration experience, Pottenger originally joined AVMC at a time when IT challenges led to physician frustration.
When Pottenger joined the practice, IT challenges were a frequent agenda topic at AVMC board meetings.
For starters, the network was often unreliable. Users could not reliably access the EHR application, and when they did get access, the system would often freeze or lock up, causing significant user frustration.
“I’ll never forget the first physician board meeting I attended. IT issues was the number one topic at that meeting. Providers were frustrated and patients were frustrated,” Pottenger recalls.
Reverting to paper charts was a common occurrence at AVMC’s Urgent Care and clinic locations.
AVMC was using a cloud provider to host certain applications, like their eMDs EHR application. They were not getting the support, partnership or quality of service they needed to provide the exceptional patient care they strived for.
The remainder of AVMC’s applications were hosted by on-site servers and managed by an IT staff of three FTEs.
Unfortunately, no one knew if the issues they faced were hardware, software or network issues. According to Pottenger, “It became difficult to accurately diagnose IT issues.”
In his previous role, Pottenger had used Netgain as a cloud provider and felt confident Netgain could help bring order to AVMC’s IT environment.
Soon after he started, Pottenger brought in Netgain to complete an IT roadmap and make recommendations to stabilize the environment and rectify the issues.
Netgain conducted extensive due diligence on AVMC’s existing hardware, software, user issues, ancillary products and workflows. Netgain recommended a phased migration to their cloud solution, which they believed would help meet Pottenger’s goals for the clinic.
Pottenger presented Netgain’s private cloud solution to his physician board, and it was quickly and unanimously approved.
Cloud migration– The first and most critical phase of the project was to stabilize the environment, so physicians and users could be productive. Netgain migrated all AVMC’s applications to their private cloud environment. Many of the problems AVMC faced were due to incorrect allocation of their resources, which made the environment unstable and unreliable.
When Netgain moved AVMC into a cloud environment and allocated appropriate resources, AVMC’s performance stabilized and their users were able to get back to steady and reliable productivity.
Notebook initiative– After Netgain had moved AVMC to a platform they could rely on, Netgain began evaluating AVMC’s clinical workflows and making recommendations to improve the practice’s overall operations. One of those initiatives meant replacing existing exam room computers with mobile notebooks for providers.
“Netgain does more than hosting services. They look at how our users interact with the system and evaluate our physicians’ workflows. They make recommendations to improve our operations based on their experience in the industry. Our physicians are more productive and efficient now that they’re using notebooks instead of exam room computers.”
Azure migration– After two years in Netgain’s private cloud environment, Netgain recommended they move AVMC to a Microsoft Azure platform, managed and supported by Netgain.
“The billions of dollars Microsoft puts into security and technology is unparalleled by private cloud providers,” says Matt Riley, Netgain’s VP of Healthcare Strategy. “We’ve partnered with Microsoft, so our clients can have access to the best and most secure environment on the planet. The Microsoft Azure platform still needs to be configured and managed by a partner like Netgain.”
While Azure provides a strong technical and security platform, AVMC still relies on Netgain as an IT partner for support, project management, workflow optimization and other IT-related initiatives.
“It’s the best of both worlds,” Pottenger said. “We use Microsoft and their competence in security and technology and Netgain’s excellence in service, support and management.”
AVMC had one goal when Pottenger enlisted Netgain’s help – a stable environment. They needed a solution in which their users could be productive, and their patients could be confident in the care they were receiving. Netgain’s cloud allowed AVMC the stable environment they needed, and so much more.
Pottenger recalls a time recently when one of the top physicians approached him in the clinic hallway and said, “You have changed my life, I can see patients now without having to worry about being embarrassed about technology issues.”
“IT hasn’t been a topic of discussion at board meetings in over a year,” Pottenger says. “We don’t talk about it. I’m not getting calls from my providers about it. It just runs like it’s supposed to, and that’s what we wanted.”
“It’s so much more than cloud services,” Pottenger says of the value Netgain provides. “During our migration to Netgain’s environment, they referred us to a consultant who worked specifically on eMDs, our EHR software. Netgain didn’t try to be the hero. They referred us to a subject matter expert who they knew and trusted. That partnership is one of the greatest values Netgain adds.”
Pottenger also appreciates the continuous communication and planning with Netgain. “The account management process we have in place is great,” Pottenger says. “We have regular meetings, an agenda tailored to our goals and a systematic work plan.”
Instead of reacting to issues as they arise, Pottenger notes that Netgain proactively comes to him with solutions, often before he even knows he has a problem.
“Netgain stays on top of IT industry trends, security updates, and innovative solutions. They proactively come to me, so I don’t have to worry about reacting to fires,” Pottenger said.
AVMC’s IT climate has completely changed in the few years that Pottenger has been with the practice. He’s been able to retain talented physicians and treat new patients with a platform that is reliable and secure. Furthermore, Pottenger is in front of upcoming IT changes with Netgain’s help and their joint IT roadmap.
“We don’t even think about IT anymore. It just works,” Pottenger says, “and we’re all thankful for that.”
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