To say Rick Chitwood, CEO and founder of Auxano Solutions LLC, is deep into health care is an understatement — it comprises the entirety of his business. In fact, he only has one client that’s not a part health care industry, he says.
The Charleston, S.C..-based solution provider has secured a place (No. 88) on the Ingram Micro SMB 500 list and made a name in the Charleston region, providing doctors offices and medical facilities with IT services like assessment, consulting, design, implementation and support of secure computer networks.
In serving the health care industry with security and strategic relationships with Dell, Hewlett Packard, Cisco Systems Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Symantec Corp., Chitwood says HIPAA compliance is a major component of his business. In recent years, his compliance business has expanded as more organizations retain a growing awareness around health care security issues.
“It’s privacy,” Chitwood said. “Obviously they don’t want the patient’s demographics to get into anyone’s hands.”
Part of that growing awareness is the proliferation of data breaches in news headlines. But, compliance regulations are more stringent and punitive and impose harsher penalties. The fervor to obtain and remain in compliance translates into an uptick in business.
But where Auxano Solutions’ practice has really taken off is in the area of electronic medical records (EMR), once a nice-to-have luxury, but now a federal mandate. Requirements for medical organizations to transfer their patient records to EMRs were ordered as part of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, legislation that arms the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) with tough enforcement capabilities and funding.
Over time, all medical organizations will be required to transfer their patient records to EMRs, or face stiff financial penalties.
For the channel — and Auxano Solutions, specifically — this translates into opportunity. The uptick in adoption over the last few years has resulted in a windfall of business for Auxano Solutions as more organizations seek to adhere to HITECH stipulations.
“Every practice that I have either has an EHR or plans to move to an EHR in the next two years,” he said. “Servers, wireless, pretty much everything. It requires a lot of equipment. It’s become the backbone of our business.”
Where Auxano Solutions found its niche is in helping customers with all stages of the process, from initial consulting to implementation to securing the patient data and maintaining compliance.
Auxano Solutions extends to other areas of IT. Its services once helped move an entire cancer center’s IT infrastructure to a new office building over a weekend. The process entailed coordinating a network move, along with workstations and equipment for 150 employees – with no downtime. Other projects have included virtualizing an organization’s IT environment.
“Going paper to paperless is our biggest thing,” Chitwood said. “A lot of our customers are embracing virtual solutions. We’ve virtualized a lot of their servers and their desktops and save on downtime. That’s another big trend we are definitely moving toward.”
Chitwood’s job is to make the experience easy and seamless., but it always has challenges. The health care industry is known for being resistant to sweeping technological changes. Lately, this includes burgeoning bring-your-own-device trends, which have inundated hospitals and doctors offices as more users rely on tablets and smartphones to transfer information.
“You have a physician practicing medicine 20 years the same way, and they have a hard time with the digital age and all the new devices. He can hardly use a calculator,” Chitwood said. “But you also see a trend with younger physicians coming up, and that’s what they want. They want to have the tablets and the smartphones. That’s what they’re used to.”
And Auxano Solutions is there to help make that happen.
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