To make the best clinical decisions, providers need rapid access to patient health information. The challenge is navigating complex systems to quickly find and retrieve relevant information. Regardless of which hospital systems have the data, getting it in the hands of providers when they need it is often burdensome, especially if the caregiver is not within the hospital’s communications network.

When information is not readily available electronically, caregivers often result to verbally relaying pertinent patient information. But such conversations can unfortunately lead to interpretations—or misinterpretations—about the best course of treatment. And that’s only if physicians are immediately available. If they aren’t, the results may be multiple phone calls, pages and seemingly endless back-and-forth.

To overcome patient information and communication gaps, healthcare technologists are finding innovative ways to integrate and securely share patient information across multiple applications, databases and platforms. Photon Medical Communications Inc. is leading the way.

Unlike standalone health information system portals and secure texting options, Photon uniquely combines the two in a platform that offers clinicians real-time patient information plus secure messaging to facilitate accurate and timely clinical decisions. The system continuously searches a hospital’s digital information system, retrieves current patient data and notifies all consulting physicians of any updates.

Photon enables access to patient data anytime, anywhere, using a smartphone, tablet or computer. All images, reports, labs, ADTs, clinician-generated photos and notes—the entire relevant patient chart—are encapsulated in a message stream for real-time access. By providing all of this information, plus a consolidated, ongoing record of communications among consulting healthcare providers, Photon reduces the risk of privacy breaches and liability, and ultimately improves patient care.

The Challenge

To simplify how providers access information, while still maintaining the highest standards of HIPAA compliance, Photon Medical Communications needed a robust, fully compliant technology infrastructure on which to host its solution. Important prerequisites included flawless uptime, scalability to handle large image files and rock-solid security.

The company needed a way to ubiquitously share patient information and support secure texting, all via one secure platform. The company originally selected a cloud-hosting provider that did not specialize in healthcare. Photon learned the hard way how invaluable it is to work with a hosting provider with unparalleled IT infrastructure and security expertise, dedicated solely to the healthcare industry.

“Other hosting providers were not exclusively focused on healthcare. Our initial experience left us dissatisfied,” says Gregory Grant, MD, chairman and chief medical officer of Photon Medical Communications Inc. and chairman of surgery at Phoenix St. Luke’s Hospital and Medical Center. “We needed a provider steeped in the industry that knew the security and encryption requirements even more than we did. Unlimited storage and guaranteed uptime were a must as well, because physicians rely on us for real-time information when they are making life-altering clinical decisions.”

The Solution

Photon began its search for a cloud-hosting provider with industry-leading knowledge and skills, and an always-on, scalable infrastructure. Enter ClearDATA. ClearDATA drives Photon solutions by transferring large volumes of patient information and images, whether on computers or mobile devices, as well as by supporting secure messaging.

ClearDATA’s data center, equipped with the latest servers, storage and networking, has disaster recovery capabilities built-in to preclude loss of patient data. The company also offers guidance and actionable insights for keeping up with the latest privacy and encryption policies. As a cloud provider with extensive security and IT knowledge, ClearDATA took on the entire responsibility of providing technology and policies required to safeguard electronic personal health information, a critical factor for Photon.

“A security breach or downtime could easily destroy our company,” Grant says. “ClearDATA offers 100 percent uptime service-level agreements, has unparalleled expertise and knowledge in security and encryption, and—a facet very important to us—their team has already done the end-to-end work of a HIPAA-compliant solution.”

The Results

Since moving its platform to ClearDATA, Photon has experienced zero downtime. The company can rest assured it receives exceptional security, uptime and performance, all delivered by experts in the healthcare IT field. The ClearDATA environment is highly available and performs swiftly for Photon’s clients 24/7.

ClearDATA’s guaranteed uptime is a big factor contributing to Photon’s reliability and success. Brian Hess, facility director at Phoenix Baptist Medical Center emergency department, cites how crucial Photon is to emergency room management. Using Photon, he has experienced dramatic advances in throughput as well as an improvement in the accuracy and timeliness of clinical decisions. Additionally, everyone across the continuum of care is more accountable, because Photon captures every system access and update by user with dates and time stamps.

“Better patient care happens when everyone is informed and held accountable,” Hess says. “Photon, backed by ClearDATA’s secure, HIPAA-compliant cloud, makes our healthcare efforts much more effective, consistent, and secure so we avoid the potential for liability and deliver more informed, high-quality care.”

ClearDATA’s benefits go beyond its IT infrastructure. Several months ago, one of Photon’s clients requested completion of a 50-page security questionnaire.

“As a software company, we didn’t anticipate the level of security expertise we’d need,” Grant says. “We were able to answer many of the questions; ClearDATA came through with the remaining answers. This is just one example of how ClearDATA can make or break a healthcare business through its industry- and security-specific expertise.”

For Photon and its clients, ClearDATA’s skills and cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant data centers are key. Physicians can be having dinner, or traveling halfway around the world, yet they can still provide expert opinions on patients’ diagnoses and care.

“The ability to securely view X-rays or CT’s right in my hand on my cell phone, whenever and wherever I am, complete with all the relevant patient information and then make a quick and accurate clinical decision, has changed my life—and the lives of my patients,” Grant says. “It wouldn’t be possible without the incredibly robust, secure infrastructure ClearDATA provides.”