A nonprofit healthcare system that serves two counties and includes four hospitals, two medical groups, and imaging and surgical centers.
To rapidly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare system needed to build and mobilize pop-up drive-through screening clinics. These off-site clinics limit exposure of patients and caregivers inside their facilities to the novel coronavirus. The client needed a technical solution for creating secure network connections between the pop-up clinics and their data center’s electronic health record (EHR) system.
Sirius developed a technology-agnostic solution to provide its longtime healthcare client with secure network connections between drive-through clinics and their data center. The solution made it possible for the drive-through clinics to safely access the healthcare client’s EHR system and verify patient identity, register patients, update patients’ health records, track testing results, and notify patients and physicians of results.
“This is a universal solution that anyone can use as a good starting point and be assured it will work. It has been evaluated, tested and validated, and different clinical devices can be used.” -Sirius Healthcare Solutions Advisor
The network system deploys an integrated LTE router at the client’s pop-up clinics in places such as parking lots with access to power but no IT infrastructure. It supports wired Ethernet for end-user devices, LTE or cellular network connection to data center-based EHRs, and an IPsec VPN tunnel for secure network traffic. Wireless functionality is available if required by clinical devices. It fulfills needs such as:
- Clinical staff are provided with real-time access to EHR systems from pop-up clinics at all times.
- IT services provide network connectivity and network security while ensuring that all remote devices meet the healthcare industry’s strict patient-information compliance requirements.
- A network connection and a secure VPN tunnel to the data center where the EHR and domain services reside allows for authentication, patient chart access, printer mapping and specimen tracking.
The biggest challenge was finding a way to deploy clinical workstations, clinical printers and label printers for specimen tracking in remote locations with limited or no network connectivity. Clinicians at the pop-up sites have to retain access to EHR systems throughout the encounter. They need to be able to engage with patients by phone prior to and during the drive-through testing and discharge process. They also need the ability to provide after-visit summaries. Remote drive-through clinics are presently being deployed in safe locations that have power but sometimes no other remote infrastructure or IT services. The Sirius Healthcare solution is agnostic but also specific to the devices that provide network connectivity.
- Onsite IT requirements and necessary equipment/hardware:
- Power must be available at location
- Workstations, WOW carts, and laptops to access EHR systems
- Printers with access to clinical networks
- Lab printers with access to clinical networks
- Wired network connectivity for devices
- Secure network connectivity to healthcare system data centers