The Client: Dr. Michael Clark
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When Dr. Michael Clark called solution provider Champion Networks, he was looking for a system that would help him deliver better medical care to patients. But he never imagined the solution that transformed his 150-year-old, Victorian-style home/office in rural Newcastle, Maine, into a prototype for a 21st century medical office.
Champion, Brunswick, Maine, took Clark's initial idea for a computerized medical records system and translated it into a suite of products. Clark, in fact, had no idea what hardware and software he would need to fulfill his vision to "fuse an old-fashioned and comfortable setting with a state-of-the-art delivery model for patient care," he said.
Clark credits Champion General Manager Ted Hunter, who "started with a blank sheet of paper" and some basic system requirements when they first met last September. At that time, Clark, a Maine native, had returned to the state to open his own practice after four years with a family medicine group in the Washington area and, before that, four years in the U.S. Air Force.
"Ted was able to come up with different scenarios for how the office would work," Clark said. "He was able to take my needs and specifications from a clinical perspective and translate them into hardware and software that could deliver."
As Hunter saw it, his job was to provide Clark with a solution that could be found at the most technology-savvy clinics or hospitals, featuring the highest level of security and reliability, but at a fraction of the cost of an enterprise system.
|>> THE UPSHOT: Champion Networks went beyond the initial request for a medical records system by providing consulting and project management on a state-of-the-art but affordable solution.
>> UPSIDE FOR THE VAR: Champion Networks' solution has led to a long-term client relationship. The solution provider now provides Clark with remote services and consulting on new technology.
>> THE CUSTOMER VIEW: Clark is able to deliver better medical care with a wireless solution that allows him via a tablet PC to access patient charts, order tests, prescribe medications and obtain lab results.
"The single-doctor [office] has the same level of need as a larger clinic," Hunter said. "The problem is the majority of the software and hardware products necessary to provide high-availability services are priced very high. So my job was that of a consultant: to find a suite of products that is reliable, compatible and cost-effective. We put together a solution that would cost a clinic well over $100,000 for a fraction of the cost."
The solution includes the Physician Microsystems Practice Partner electronic medical records package that runs on a Gateway 960 Xeon Server with 2 Gbytes of RAM, two mirrored drives running Windows XP Professional, two Gateway desktop systems, a Gateway laptop and a Gateway M275 tablet PC. Among the products Hunter chose that meet HIPAA security and privacy requirements were Computer Associates International's eTrust, Novastor's NovaBackup, Symantec's LiveState Recovery and EMC's VMWare software.
"Ted put together a system that exceeded what I imagined," Clark said. "He exhibited creativity and flexibility."
Among the most important elements of the system was the wireless tablet PC-based component, Clark said. From that system, Clark can do everything from access patient charts to order tests, prescribe medications, obtain lab results and even manage his telephone messages.
The tablet-based system Hunter came up with was a step up from the workstation-bound system Clark used at the clinic in Washington. There, Clark said, the system made for a more impersonal doctor-patient visit.
"Now I'm able to sit at a chair without a table, and instead of me tapping on a keyboard, I can non-obtrusively hold the tablet in my lap and refer to it as needed during a patient visit," he said. "It makes for a more patient-friendly environment, and it definitely improves the quality of care in the exam room."
Clark also praised the backup and security solution put together by Hunter. "That is very important and provides me with a lot of confidence in the [whole] system," he said.
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