story_cha.asp Children's Health Associates Reduces IT Costs and Complexities with Ericom's Server Based Computing Solution
 
Customers

Children's Health Associates Reduces IT Costs and Complexities with Ericom's Server Based Computing Solution

Industry

   Healthcare

Customer

   CHA, LLC, Managed Service Organization for Children's Health Associates

Product

        PowerTerm WebConnect

Challenge

        To provide access to applications residing on Windows Terminal Server and legacy host systems

Result

        Ericom's Server Based Computing solution, PowerTerm WebConnect provides Children's Health Associates with secure and centrally managed access to multiple applications and systems


Benefits

  • Improve healthcare processes by providing on-demand access to medical and billing information
  • Maintain confidentiality of patient info and comply with government regulations
  • Enable remote user access from desktops and thin client devices
  • Lower costs & complexities of managing desktops and applications.
  • Attractive support and maintenance fees
  • Centralized application installations and upgrades lowers support overhead
  • Seamless integration with third-party security, networking and storage hardware and software components

"What's great about PowerTerm WebConnect is that we weren't even looking for it. But once we discovered its benefits, including its scalability, I couldn't imagine going with anything else. PowerTerm gives us an attractive licensing component. And Ericom's reasonable support pricing makes it hard to beat."
William B. Cox, Chief Information Officer of CHA, LLC

Background

CHA, LLC provides business and IT management services for Children's Health Associates, the largest private pediatric medical practice in the US, serving more than 200,000 patients per year from 26 offices in seven counties throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The Challenge: Improving healthcare processes within budget

According to William B. Cox, Chief Information Officer of CHA, LLC, they needed a solution that would enable access to more than 25 applications running on Windows Terminal Server (for Office applications such as Word, Excel, and Outlook, etc.), and their Practice Management character-based applications running on IBM UNIX, LINUX and SCO UNIX.

Like most healthcare organizations, CHA needed to meet specific conditions, while keeping costs under control. "For example," explained Cox, "we service the billing functions for over 600,000 visits a year and need to maintain large amounts of accurate data." Strict government regulations to ensure patient privacy, enabling remote access to a growing number of home users and remote office workers, accessing multiple applications and systems, were just a few of the catalysts that propelled Cox to find PowerTerm WebConnect.

The number one priority, according to Cox, was that the solution needed to provide centralized management and enable secure remote access. "One of the main focus points for CHA in providing managed services for our clients is centrally managed terminal emulation sessions. After accomplishing this during our transition of 300 users from desktop terminal emulation and character-based network hardware terminals we needed a solution to provide the same levels of control for Windows applications while keeping the deployment infrastructure costs low," explained Cox. "That's where Dell and Wyse come in. We chose a Linux architecture for the best reliability and cost ratio. The front end of our PowerTerm WebConnect deployment runs on Red Hat Linux and is integrated into our Microsoft Active Directory through LDAP."

Lowering costs and complexities of managing desktops

It was during the CHA evaluation of Wyse thin clients, embedded with Ericom's PowerTerm software, that Cox discovered Ericom. "When I explained our requirements for accessing both Terminal Servers and legacy systems, Ericom proposed a solution that we hadn't even considered." recalled Cox.

"PowerTerm WebConnect would not only address the licensing issues we were having with our current software, but would address our future issues more efficiently and cost-effectively than any of the other products we considered. Ericom also offered an attractive alternative on maintenance pricing."

For CHA, one of PowerTerm WebConnect's major benefits is that it centralizes application upgrades, installations, and patches, simplifying support for their client's workstation environment. "Not only has PowerTerm WebConnect enabled us to eliminate individual PC configurations and updates, but we've also addressed the issue of spyware and viruses utilizing thin clients since users can't save to their local desktops," explained Cox. "PowerTerm WebConnect provides our users with the same experience as if they were locally running their traditional desktop office programs, such as Excel, Word, Outlook, and Internet Explorer. Instead, they are actually working on applications residing on Windows Terminal Servers, accessing them through the PowerTerm WebConnect portal. We publish the application and tag it to the end-user's name so that the application pops up on their desktop and they are ready to go."

One benefit from utilizing PowerTerm WebConnect's centralized management and configuration capabilities is that CHA has been able to service a large number of people with a small support staff. "We have an IT staff of only eight people supporting between 250 and 300 users on a daily basis. Not having to worry about the published application or workstations leaves my staff with a lot more time to focus on other issues," explained Cox.

Another significant advantage of PowerTerm WebConnect is its ability to run smoothly on Linux. "By deploying PowerTerm WebConnect on a Linux server, we have been able to lower licensing costs by about 60% as compared to a Windows based portal solution. This is a huge savings for a customer the size of Children's Health Associates," said Cox.

Integrating with third-party vendors

According to Cox, Ericom's ability to work with multiple vendors was another winning factor. "It was a huge benefit to find out that the AEP SSL VPN appliance integrates with Ericom's PowerTerm WebConnect," said Cox. "Integrating AEP's Netilla SSL VPN with the PowerTerm WebConnect portal enables us to provide users with end-to-end secure, remote access to published applications from home or branch offices, with minimal bandwidth requirements" said Cox.

Future Plans for PowerTerm WebConnect

Cox predicts that CHA will double the number of PowerTerm WebConnect licenses as the number of users grows at Children's Health Associates through future centralized projects like deployment of Electronic Medical Records. "What's great about PowerTerm WebConnect is that we weren't even looking for it. But once we discovered its benefits, including its scalability, I couldn't imagine going with anything else. PowerTerm gives us an attractive licensing component. And Ericom's reasonable support pricing makes it hard to beat."




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Over 25 applications deployed, including:   

Windows Terminal Services Apps
Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook), Microsoft Visio, Adobe Reader, Internet Explorer 6.0, ADP PC Payroll, Kyocera Network Fax Administration, Instant Quote Professional (MS Access based), Bakbone Software's NetVault Administration Utility, Legacy Custom MS Access programs, Inter-tel Reporter,Inter-tel Session Manager, Inter-tel Call Center Suite, MS Dynamics Accounting Software UNIX Terminal Sessions (legacy)

Legacy UNIX Terminal Practice Management Apps:
i. The Medical Manager (SCO UNIX & AIX)
ii. MISYS (SCO UNIX)
iii. Excalibur (SCO UNIX)

Servers:
Linux: Red Hat Enterprise 4 VMware's ESX with Linux guest OS The core Practice Management system runs on AIX, on an IBM BladeCenter with the back end on an EMC storage area network 3 Dells (2800 & 2900 series) running VMware ESX

Desktops:
Dell Desktops
Wyse Thin Clients

Security:
AEP NSP SSL VPN
Juniper firewalls