Azure improves operational efficiency for medical IT system
Content from article shared on Microsoft's New Zealand News Centre here
In the pandemic world we live in, it’s more vital than ever for doctors to access patient data quickly, stay on top of admin and be able to communicate with patients virtually. Practice management system MyPractice is built for just this purpose. It is the core system for medical centres to record all patient information, manage billing and through the integrated Health365 platform, enable patients to make appointments, view test results in real time and get explanations on what they mean without needing to make a return visit. Without a system like it, medical centres simply wouldn’t be able to operate.
However, with nearly 20% of Aotearoa’s medical practices (including midwives, counsellors, physios and GPs) enrolled with MyPractice, it’s inevitable that many have ageing IT systems hosted on-premises that aren’t able to get the most from the platform.
“We got to the point where we knew we needed a credible alternative, and fast. Something evergreen that would have consistent performance among each of our customers, be able to be scaled up or down easily, and provide a great end-user experience,” says Cornelius Dirven, Commercial Manager at MyPractice.
Virtuoso came to the rescue.
MyPractice had shopped around for a few options, but nothing provided quite the right answer. Until IT provider and Microsoft cloud specialists Virtuoso appeared.
“For us, it was clear that moving MyPractice to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, and enabling customers to move to a public cloud-based virtual desktop as well, was the ideal solution. Azure public cloud is highly scalable, secure and doesn’t go out of date, and better still, it enables improvements to be rolled out across an entire network quickly without having to update machines or servers one by one,” says Roman Paljk, Managing Director NZ at Virtuoso.
Better still, MyPractice wouldn’t have to rely on multiple local hosting providers to maintain servers and roll out any security upgrades, thanks to Azure’s automated updates.
So the team set out to transform MyPractice’s technological foundation, designing, building, and implementing a solution to migrate it to Azure public cloud. Proof of concept to implementation took just three short weeks.
A key consideration was making the cloud platform as easy as possible for GPs to use.
“We’ve found 90 per cent of GPs don’t particularly like IT – if you want to incentivise them to try something new, it has to work perfectly and be very easy to pick up,” Cornelius Dirven, Commercial Manager at MyPractice.
That meant ironing out any kinks that prevented MyPractice integrating with third-party systems like HealthLink or GP2GP, which share information between GPs and specialists for referrals or lab results. Fortunately, Azure is designed to integrate easily with a range of different applications, so any hurdles were quickly overcome. One of MyPractice’s customers was selected to trial the new platform.
“We launched on Monday – no calls. Tuesday – no calls. Wednesday – no calls. So on Thursday I rang them to check how everything was going. There were no issues at all,” says Cornelius.
In just two short months, MyPractice had signed up 100 customers to its public cloud platform, while still keeping an on-premises version for existing customers whose own cloud journeys have not yet begun.
“As soon as they hear it’s hosted by Microsoft they go “oh, yes please”. That brand recognition has been hugely helpful,” says Cornelius.
As well as the reliability of Azure public cloud – making server outages a thing of the past – one of the key factors impressing customers is the ability to onboard at lightning speed. Traditionally this can be a challenging task, as supply chain issues can delay the delivery of on-premises infrastructure, and hosting providers often have a waiting list. Being on the public cloud means new MyPractice customers can get up and running straight away. The speed of the platform itself is also very welcome to every single user, as is its security and scalability, which means no more IT infrastructure investments as practices grow.
Best of all, MyPractice’s small team can focus on further innovations to their platform rather than handling service enquiries, so new features can be delivered even faster.
“We’re seeing increasing momentum in the SaaS market where businesses who have migrated their operations to Azure have not only positioned themselves for significant growth, but helped their customers become more efficient and resilient as a result. The past few years have given all of us new respect for the incredible work our GPs do under immense pressure, and anything that makes their lives easier is a win for every New Zealander,” Matt Bostwick, Commercial Partner Director, Microsoft NZ.
MyPractice’s focus is now on getting as many customers to migrate to the Azure platform as they can.
With between 50 and 80 per cent of doctors’ appointments now being made online, MyPractice and Health365 can save customers huge amounts of time on emails and phone calls.
“We have very significant growth plans for the next few years, and now we’re on Azure, there’s no limit to how much or how fast we can grow into new markets,” says Cornelius.
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