How Private Cloud Helped Financial Healthcare Services Firm Double Remote Work Capacity During COVID-19

Tony Mackiewicz, Principal of Physician and Tactical Healthcare Services (PATHS), discusses how a previous move to a private cloud infrastructure enabled the timely rollout of remote desktops during COVID-19.

By Brian Carlson

By Brian Carlson July 1, 2020

When COVID-19 hit in March, Physician and Tactical Healthcare Services (PATHS LLC) was already well-positioned to spin up a hundred extra remote desktop environments since they had recently migrated to a private-cloud based on Nutanix infrastructure. This was possible thanks to the foresight of Principal Tony Machiewicz, a healthcare financial services veteran with 40 years under his belt.

Founded in 2000 as a financial healthcare services company, PATHS is deeply intertwined with over 30 hospitals and healthcare systems in the tristate area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. It represents a large number of physician practices in multiple specialties.

“We’re a healthcare revenue cycle management company that implemented the Nutanix platform in March of this year,” explained Mackiewicz. “Our services are managed on a variety of diverse client receivable management systems.”

The move to Nutanix infrastructure was not initially driven as a reaction to the coronavirus but by a desire to modernize their IT infrastructure by moving to a private cloud for benefits such as simplicity, automation and scale, enhanced security and simplified disaster recovery technology, according to Machiewicz. 

“We have our own internally developed software, including Microsoft and SQL databases for our entitlement programs, and we also have Informix platforms to support our many diverse billing programs that we've been operating for 20 years now,” he said. 

“So while the software is extremely functional, the older technology needs to be upgraded to take advantage of newer enhanced software solutions. Our hospital clients are using a variety of different software solutions for their revenue cycle and financial systems.”

According to Mackiewicz, the initial mission of moving to a Nutanix environment was to build out a more scalable infrastructure with consolidated storage.

“Our initial process with Nutanix was to rebuild our system infrastructure so that we could deploy additional software and only upgrade some of the processes and programs we have to become more efficient in our operations,” he said. “That was the initial focus, as well as to enhance our security through deployment of new software technology, given the fact that we're in the Healthcare Marketplace requiring strict requirement of  HIPAA, including  high trust.”

The advantages of being on a private cloud were quickly apparent when the COVID-19 crisis hit in March, according to Mackiewicz.

“Around the first week of March, COVID-19 started to hit with respect to our operations, and we have a lot of employees staffed at hospitals facilities. In our main office locations and our secondary office location was about 350 people,” he said. “We have about 70 people in various hospitals that have connectivity back to us via a VPN.”

Private Cloud in the Nick of Time

Being already established with their new Nutanix private cloud infrastructure, PATHS added to the already deployed Xi Frame solution to double the amount of DaaS licenses to deal with the remote work demands, going to 200 active access connections in a matter of weeks.

“Once COVID-19 hit, we had to gear up very quickly,” he said. “We had concerns with respect to our employees being able to work in a similar manner because of significant change to the working environment requiring them to start working remotely from home. And we needed to put in a process to social distance our office operations, because we had many people within confined spaces.”

For Mackiewicz, setting up remote DaaS stations was an imperative, not a nice to have. He simply did not have the hardware necessary to supply those users nor could it be ordered due to shortages. 

“It's not like we had a couple hundred laptops sitting around,” he said.

In only a few weeks, PATHS was able to double the amount of secure remote workstations.

“We were able to take about 200 employees and put them on a work from home process with any existing hardware they had available,” he said. “Within two weeks, due to the support of our IT partners, Cortrucent and Nutanix, we were able to grant highly secured access with no major issues occurring with respect to the connections.”

Since his investment in a private cloud infrastructure paid off so quickly for Mackiewicz, it gave him the ability to show ROI almost immediately.

“It was just remarkable. We're deeply appreciative as the cloud helped us to continue to service our clients without disruption, handle the work, and be able to continue to keep our business moving forward in a very difficult time.”

For Mackiewicz, Frame provided benefits beyond remote desktops, including enhanced security and disaster recovery.

“Disaster recovery is another very important piece of the reason why we initially went to Frame technology,” he said. “In our current environment we needed a comprehensive process in the event our systems went down, including the ability to connect individuals to our clients host systems directly and perform backup processes.”

Brian Carlson is a contributing writer. He is Founder of RoC Consulting and was Editor-in-Chief of and EE Times. Follow him on Twitter @bcarlsonDM

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