The future of healthcare is shaping up in front of our eyes, with advances in digital healthcare technologies. Today, as soon as an ambulance stops near the ER, nurses can pull out the medical history of the patient from cloud-based EHRs and brief the attending doctor in real-time. On the other hand, self-service kiosks can help expedite processes like hospital registration and filling out a patient’s insurance details. From patient care to streamlining healthcare data, technology is undeniably a driving force behind today’s value-based care.
Despite the potential, the implementation process of such robust end-to-end healthcare technology often takes a backseat. The major reasons behind it are the increasing complexities surrounding the healthcare IT infrastructure, patient data management, and diverse regulations. To help healthcare providers stay compliant and maintain sustainable healthcare IT networks, CATS Technology Solutions Group, an IT consulting and Managed Services Provider, offers agile solutions and services to succeed in today’s ever-evolving healthcare space.
In an interview with MD Tech Review, Darrin Gonchar, the President of CATS Technology Solutions Group, talks about the company’s expertise, how it helps its clients mitigate market challenges, and his company’s expansion plans.
Being in the market for two decades, how would you describe CATS Technology Solutions Group? What makes you a class apart in the healthcare industry?
I founded CATS Technology 20 years ago, and we have now grown into a top-tier Single-Source Managed IT Provider. The reason behind our exponential growth is our commitment to keep our clients first and work together as a tight unit. Owing to this ideology, we are listed among the top 250 MSPs in the country.
As an end-to-end IT services company, it is imperative that our team members are proficient in diverse skill sets. More often than not, a major issue for many healthcare institutions is to stay compliant with a myriad of guidelines, rulings, policies including HIPAA compliance, cybersecurity, and insurance regulations. For this reason, our team members are certified in different technologies, ready to tackle any client challenges from beginning to end. For example, we help clients comply with phases 1 and 2 of HIPAA, and we have recently added support for phase 3. Additionally, we can manage clients’ IT policies, cybersecurity, and insurance compliance as well. Therefore, when one considers our service, they are not coming to a single person, they are coming to a company that has a group of 25 individual technicians certified in diverse skill sets.
Could you elaborate on what are the challenges faced by the healthcare companies, and how does CATS Technology help the companies overcome them?
The healthcare industry is plagued by countless cybersecurity threats, and one of the biggest challenges that healthcare providers face is the constant threat of spyware and ransomware attacks. Hence, they have to follow the rules of the Personal Healthcare Information (PHI) Act and safeguard confidential client data.
The reason behind our exponential growth is our commitment to keep our clients first, and work together as a tight unit
Nevertheless, for MSPs, it is a constant battle against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. To help these MSPs, we offerAI-based tools to detect any abnormality on the IT network and prevent a breach before it happens. And it is our Director of Technology, Andrew McConnell and Director of Office Administration, Sharon Vento who ensures a smooth operation. Andrew conducts extensive research on current products and ensures that we have the best-in-class solution to integrate into one main monitoring solution. Sharon handles the proper staffing and makes sure CATS operates and delivers top quality service to our clients.
Can you walk us through the client onboarding process? How do you assess their pain points and deliver the solution?
To get the client up to speed and start the project on the right foot, we follow a step-wise strategy of ‘assess, recommend, stabilize, and maintain’—which we often refer to as our ARSM process. As a first step, we dive deep into their network using our network tools and perform a 16- to 18-hour exhaustive assessment to get a clearer picture of their present IT infrastructure and organizational resources, along with clients’ compliance with HIPAA and HITECH policies. Once the assessment is finished, it provides us with a blueprint of the company, which helps us to put together a recommendation on how to set up a fully compliant and robust IT network. Then we explain the importance of these recommendations to the client as part of the third step. Further, on mutual understanding, the changes are implemented. The final step is the maintenance of their infrastructure, licenses, renewals, contracts, ISPs, phone bills, and more. This approach helps us forecast when the client needs new technologies, new computers, new servers, and website upgrades.
Could you share a story with us where you helped the client in attaining what they wanted?
In 2015, we were providing backup consultation service for a firm. We had advised the company to hire an expert managed service provider, but instead, they decided to hire an independent IT professional to handle the infrastructure of 150 people, unknowingly placing themselves in a dangerous situation. One technician cannot manage all technologies which is why CATS offers a team solution. Once CATS became involved, we began our initial assessment where we found out that they were running legacy systems such as 2003 and 2008 servers and Windows 7 computers. They were notHIPAA complaint as the client had no cybersecurity protection in place. As a result, while the client was waiting for funds to implement the changes in January 2020, they got hit by a ransomware attack in December 2019. As the old IT professional did not integrate any backup and security in place, the attack crippled the whole network. At this point, they were entirely on board with us, and we started implementing the recommendations provided back in 2015. As per ASRM, we implemented cybersecurity, HIPAA compliance, updated the servers and security with policies, and domain authentication. To summarize the situation, CATS updated every component of their IT infrastructure. After the entire ARSM process, the client is efficiently running the business, and they are delighted.
With the current pandemic situation around the world, how does the road ahead look for CATS Technology?
Overall, the current state of affairs does not affect the company as we are continuing to work. We are able to work more as the employees are working from home to keep the client’s operations in place. We are monitoring client sites remotely and trying to fix errors proactively. Our team is actively reviewing server, infrastructure, and ISPs to ensure a smooth operation for our clients. We are more inclined towards automation to help us move forward at a more efficient pace.
In these trying times, a strong team is our biggest advantage, and a weak link can undermine it. Thus, we are very particular when it comes to hiring. Instead of technical know-how, we look at the personality of the candidate first as they interact with the client both on and off-site. Thus, they must possess communication as well as interpersonal skills. To upgrade their skills even further, we are training handpicked individuals from our team to attain higher certification levels and enhance their skills during the pandemic.
Amid the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have integrated new technology into our current helpdesk system for the clients to pay online, conveniently. The clients can review invoice history online for their reference. It is our duty to support our clients and help them run their business so they can stay profitable during this pandemic.