Patient record duplication is a serious problem in the healthcare industry, resulting in billing inefficiencies, incomplete data for predictive analytics tools, and even clinical errors that put human life and health at risk. 4medica, Inc., a company that specializes in real-time clinical data exchange and big data management solutions, is dedicated to solving this problem by using technology to address a major contributing factor: the enormous amount of paperwork generated by healthcare organizations.
With a mission to deliver a solution that ensures “One Patient…One Record,” 4medica created the industry’s leading SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) big data master patient index (BDMPI™) and clinical data exchange platform. The 4medica Big Data MPI™ and ClinXdata Clinical Data Exchange platform minimize duplicative records, provide a seamless, comprehensive view of patient care history across facilities and providers, securely and efficiently share patient data, and promote better health outcomes.
4medica’s cloud-based SaaS solution offers organizations the ability to deploy its health information exchange platform without installing special hardware or software at customer locations. 4medica builds upon and integrates with existing electronic health record (EHR) systems, practice management software, health information exchange (HIE) platforms and other clinical and administrative applications.
4medica’s best-in-class technology has received unrivaled acceptance in the healthcare community. The company processes millions of clinical transactions per month, manages over 70M patient identities, serves over 40,0000 physicians and has over 100 institutional clients across the healthcare industry, including accountable care organizations (ACOs), health information exchanges (HIEs), hospitals, health systems, laboratories, and radiology imaging centers.
Since its founding in 1998, 4medica had built a strong core business of providing a healthcare data exchange solution to physicians, labs, and HIEs. However, both the industry and healthcare technology have undergone rapid change in recent years, driven by changing patient expectations and a national focus by both public and private-sector payors on improving outcomes, care coordination, and payment models.
4medica realized that it needed to expand its business model and position itself for future growth in a dynamic marketplace. “A tremendous volume of data is transmitted through our network, and our customers expect nothing less than 100% reliability, affordability, and security,” explained Gregg Church, President of 4medica. “Human lives and health are at stake. Our system has to offer real-time performance, and if it goes down, it must come back up immediately.”
The company had always hosted their clients’ data in secure data centers. For the first 10 to 15 years in business, they depended on Oracle, Apache, and PHP-based apps, later implementing a distributed architecture with a Kafka messaging broker and Node.js-based apps. However, as the company continued to innovate and expand, it became clear that it was no longer sustainable to use data centers. 4medica was processing an extraordinarily large and perpetually expanding volume of transactions. It needed to be able to scale quickly yet affordably, so that the company could profit while still providing value to its customers.
“Adding more storage not only cost a lot of money, but it also had to be planned two to three months in advance,” said Muthu Kuttalingam, Senior Vice President of 4medica. “We had to move to the cloud to contain our costs and maintain the excellent system performance our customers had come to expect.”
– Muthu Kuttalingam, Senior Vice President, 4medica
After evaluating other cloud service providers, Church and Kuttalingam chose Google Cloud Platform (GCP) due to its affordability, machine learning capabilities, HIPAA compliance, and the company’s dedication to the healthcare space. In particular, Church and Kuttalingam saw great potential for the GCP Healthcare API to become the backbone of everything 4medica was planning to do.
After a negative experience contracting with another company for migration and implementation, 4medica was referred to SADA Systems, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, by Google. “I wish we’d called SADA sooner,” Church said. “Things didn’t go well with the first company, and our team had to learn everything themselves, the hard way, including how to migrate and come up with a strategy. Finally, we turned to Google for help, and they immediately recommended that we bring in SADA. They told us, ‘These guys are great, they know what they’re doing, and they’ll make sure you get to the finish line.’”
SADA came into the project a couple of months before 4medica was set to go live with GCP. 4medica needed training on Kubernetes and assistance with networking and deployment. SADA ensured that 4medica’s network was partitioned so that all of their customers’ data was securely isolated in their own zones.
Additionally, SADA helped 4medica optimize their cloud billing. They ensured that 4medica could see how much they were spending on each customer — a metric they had never had visibility into previously.
Results & benefits
With SADA’s consultation, 4medica successfully completed its GCP migration and deployment in June 2018. “Our customers didn’t even realize that we’d migrated,” Church remarked. “We didn’t get a single customer call that day; it was a non-event for them. The migration took place without any problems. Kudos to the SADA team and everyone involved, because a major project like this could have been very disruptive.”
4medica has realized numerous benefits since migrating to GCP, including:
- A 50% increase in performance. “We didn’t know what to expect; we were hoping that GCP would perform at least as well as the data center did. Instead, it performed significantly better,” said Church.
- The ability to provision new storage within minutes instead of the two to three months the process took when using a data center.
- A significant cost savings on storage. Previously, 4medica employees would think twice before saving data; the reduction in cost now makes this a non-issue.
- A significant time savings on application deployment; what took several days previously can be accomplished in two hours or less in GCP’s containerized environment.
As 4medica closes in on its one-year anniversary of migrating to GCP, Church and Kuttalingam are looking towards a long, fruitful relationship with both Google and SADA. The choice to use GCP, Church stated, was one of the company’s key growth strategies, and Google technologies have a significant role in the company’s three- to five-year plans. 4medica is currently using BigQuery, and delving more deeply into GCP’s machine learning tools is a priority for next year. Right now, 40% to 50% of laboratory orders are processed from paper requisitions. 4medica has developed and released a revolutionary patented ML-powered solution to deliver all lab orders electronically, at a lower cost and with greater reliability.
SADA continues to provide support and training services to 4medica, including coordinating in-person training sessions for 4medica’s staff at Google’s Los Angeles office. “Since we’re a small company, our internal resources are limited. Having a good tech advisory partner like SADA helps offset what we have to manage and monitor. It’s a great extension for our company. That’s what a good partner should be. When partnerships are developed how they should be, it makes our lives easier,” said Church.