Remote hosting made sense for Uniontown Hospital due to its location, complexity of systems, and the challenges associated with supporting the various technical components, says Tricia Herman, IT director at Uniontown.
"The processes would prove difficult if it was not done remotely, and the expenses would be difficult to obtain," Herman says. "Being remote-hosted allows our analysts to focus more time on what is really important to us--our customers."
Uniontown Hospital provides a full range of medical care to the residents of Fayette County and surrounding areas. The facility features more than 200 medical staff representing more than 30 medical specialties.
Using Cerner's Remote Hosting Option, Uniontown staff still has access to the applications, and are responsible for supporting them in the form of day to day troubleshooting, enhancing the applications, or installing additional applications, Herman says.
"With close to 30 Cerner applications, I have 10 analysts supporting them," Herman says. "Cerner's remote hosting division 'CernerWorks' provides, and is responsible for, hardware, operating systems, physical systems security, backups, and disaster recovery. The analysts at Uniontown Hospital are still involved and take responsibility for some of these same aspects, but the majority of their time is dedicated to the applications."
Handy says he enjoys the peace of mind that comes with the system.
"The benefits of remote hosting are 24/7/365 system maintenance and support--including continuous proactive monitoring and guaranteed system uptime," Handy says. "My interest in being remote-hosted was really around me being able to sleep at night."
While Uniontown representatives declined to give an exact cost of using the system, Herman says there is a strong return on investment. Herman and Handy say the system is "affordable" for a community hospital, and a major benefit was a significantly reduced up-front capital cost.
"The reduction of capital costs are a real benefit to a community hospital," Handy says.
Uniontown's success with Cerner's remote hosting has influenced its decision to use remote hosting for a variety of other applications as well. In the past year, Uniontown installed Cerner's Document Imaging and BeyondNow--both of which are hosted remotely. They are currently in the process of installing Picture Archiving and Communications System, also remotely hosted.
Uniontown's experience also influenced its decision to go remote on its Lawson Applications for services such as general financials, human resources, and material management.
"If you can outsource the technology by being remote-hosted, then it allows staff to further enhance the applications," Herman said.
Ben Cole is associate editor with HealthLeaders Online News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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