Originally published here
The Orthopaedic Institute of Western Kentucky (OIWK) improved clinical efficiency and access to patient data by migrating its electronic medical record (EMR) and picture archiving and communication system (PACS) environments to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The healthcare organization sought a modern, resilient, highly available, high-performing, and efficient solution to manage its healthcare data. With the help of AWS Partners Ingram Micro and Keystone Technologies, OIWK migrated its EMR and PACS data to a cloud-based hosting solution built using AWS services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). Now its physicians have secure, reliable access to their patients’ records from any location.
Modernizing an Aging EMR Environment
OIWK is one of the largest providers of musculoskeletal medical services in western Kentucky. Founded in 2009, the organization employs physicians as well as nurses, therapists, athletic trainers, and medical assistants who work at its four service locations and in regional hospitals. Like many healthcare providers, OIWK hosted its EMR and PACS environments on premises. However, this infrastructure was quickly aging and becoming expensive to maintain, impacting the performance and reliability of the system. Additionally, OIWK sought to improve the resilience of its offsite backups, ransomware defenses, and business continuity/disaster recovery capabilities.
To modernize its system, OIWK chose to host its EMR and PACS data on AWS. OIWK’s IT consultant, AWS Partner Keystone Technologies, worked alongside AWS Partner Ingram Micro to migrate the EMR system to a secure cloud-native environment in only 1 year. As a result, OIWK improved clinical efficiency, system resilience, and user satisfaction.
Engaging AWS Partners to Build a Cloud-Native EMR System
Keystone Technologies helps medical providers and organizations deliver the highest quality of care to their patients. The company makes critical medical data available to healthcare professionals when they need it, providing solutions like EMR hosting, EMR data conversion services, and legacy data archiving. Keystone Technologies has been an AWS Partner since 2018 and exclusively uses AWS services to support its cloud strategy. “AWS services are the superior cloud solutions for healthcare,” says Andy Belval, chief revenue officer of Keystone Technologies. “We can effectively deploy different healthcare applications and improve their overall performance and reliability inside that cloud environment on AWS.”
As the IT consultant for OIWK, Keystone Technologies saw a way to improve the performance of the organization’s aging EMR system while reducing costs by hosting EMR and PACS data on AWS. Then, Keystone Technologies engaged Ingram Micro to help migrate healthcare data to AWS. Ingram Micro has been an AWS Partner since 2010, and Keystone Technologies uses the IT provider’s cloud expertise to deliver high-performing, low-cost solutions to its clients. “We use Ingram Micro to help us navigate the vast landscape of AWS services,” says Belval. “Together, we can be the right healthcare partners to deliver the right solution to the client and ultimately to the patient.”
Ingram Micro’s Healthcare Pathway Program helped align Keystone Technologies’ goals for the project and created a road map for developing the EMR system. The Healthcare Pathway Program connects healthcare partners with high-quality cloud solutions. “We have specific resources to support our healthcare partners and ultimately their end users,” says Mike Clark, senior cloud market development manager at Ingram Micro. “We have made significant investments in cloud experts and resources like AWS services, tools, and databases.”
Improving Clinical Efficiency and Resilience on the Cloud
In January 2021, Keystone Technologies and Ingram Micro began migrating OIWK’s environment to AWS. The migration was completed in January 2022, taking only 1 year. “We put together a number of AWS services to create a much greater level of efficiency and enhance the user experience compared to what OIWK was working with on premises,” says Belval. The system is powered by services like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) for secure and resizable compute capacity and Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) for storage with high scalability, data availability, security, and performance.
By hosting EMR and PACS data on AWS, OIWK has seen vast improvements in clinical efficiency. In particular, its operating speeds have increased significantly; in one instance, it reduced the time it takes to create a report from 45 minutes to 7 minutes. Plus, OIWK physicians can remotely access healthcare data from any location without infrastructure delays. Ingram Micro and Keystone Technologies protect data in transit using AWS Direct Connect, which creates a dedicated network connection to AWS. “At OIWK, our physicians are at a different address every day,” says Jamey Locke, CEO of OIWK. “For our physicians to be able to remotely access patient data and pick up where they left off is the biggest win of our solution on AWS.” OIWK’s physicians report high satisfaction with the speed and availability of the new EMR system. In the first 8 months since the environment was implemented, the system has performed up to OIWK’s expectations.
In the healthcare industry, it is incredibly important to keep EMR and PACS data secure and available. Any interruptions could impact a medical professional’s ability to provide treatment to a patient. Since migrating its healthcare data to AWS, OIWK has not experienced any system interruptions or downtime. Additionally, the organization enjoys reliable data backups on AWS and has achieved the level of redundancy necessary to keep its environment secure. “In a cloud environment, we can provide a level of security that simply cannot be replicated cost effectively in an on-premises environment,” says Belval. “If an issue occurs, you’re looking at hours of downtime versus days on premises. Being in the cloud is a significant security enhancement.” On AWS, OIWK can continue to deliver high-quality patient care while minimizing delays in treatment.
The EMR system is also cost effective, which is important for the healthcare industry. OIWK can manage its EMR and PACS data with offsite accommodations for business continuity and disaster recovery at a much lower cost. It can also operate the system with fewer internal resources, so it can allocate resources to new projects instead of managing infrastructure. “Everybody’s goal is to do more with less, especially when they’re managing reductions in healthcare reimbursements,” says Locke. “Having our EMR environment on AWS provides us with the opportunity to bring in new programs, better manage our daily processes, and reduce overhead.”
Expanding Digital Healthcare Services on AWS
With the support of Keystone Technologies and Ingram Micro, OIWK has improved clinical efficiency and reduced EMR hosting costs while keeping patient data secure. In the future, OIWK will continue to work with Keystone Technologies to expand its digital capabilities, exploring projects involving telemedicine, scheduling, and virtual payments.
Building out these capabilities is critical to OIWK’s growth strategy, and the organization will continue to use the cloud to advance its services. “We have a mentality that if you’re not growing, you’re dying,” says Locke. “Having the appropriate IT support and infrastructure is going to take us to the next level.”