Executive Summary: Dr. Alan R. Malouf’s Office Strengthens their IT Infrastructure and Microsoft Solutions with Ciracom Cloud for Improved Patient Care Capabilities
About Dr. Alan R. Malouf, M.D., P.A.
Dr. Alan R. Malouf M.D., P.A. has been a practicing ophthalmologist since 1989. In addition to general ophthalmology, he specializes in cataract surgeries and is also an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The mission of Dr. Malouf and his expert staff is to provide every patient with the top-tier ophthalmic medical and surgical care they deserve.
Prior to engaging Ciracom Cloud more than 12 years ago, Dr. Malouf’s office had still been using paper charts. As time passed, the office began using shared file folders and more frequent scanning, and they also changed over to EMR. This thrust them into a universal record-sharing process, but it highlighted new IT challenges for them, as well. Because while this crucial EMR switch did make daily operations easier for Malouf’s staff, they came to realize that unless a staff member was physically working in the office, the ease-of-access for their data was getting rougher as technologies evolved. When patient care began to decline, Dr. Malouf realized a new change was necessary. This was the starting point for their partnership with Ciracom Cloud.
As Ciracom Cloud supported the practice, Dr. Malouf and his staff:
- Saw substantial improvements to their IT infrastructure and patient care capabilities after replacing paper charts with cloud solutions
- Harnessed the power of Microsoft services that Ciracom Cloud deployed; this included Azure, Microsoft Teams, and Outlook
- Seized immense cost-saving opportunities for their office
- Secured their networks, data back-ups, patient billing resources, and other HIPAA-compliant processes
Infrastructure and Patient Care Improvements
As stated, before Ciracom Cloud, Malouf’s patient charts were all on paper had to be manually scanned in. For a while, the office developed a solid-enough system PDFs for charting purposes, but “solid enough” wasn’t the highest goal they could achieve for better growth, as they’d soon realize. For years, unless a staff member was physically in the office, gaining proper access to everything in patients’ files steadily became antiquated as newer-and-better technologies ramped up in the industry. So even after their switch to EMR for smoother daily operations, more gaps in accessibilities to patients’ full and vital records were not acceptable. This is especially given that patients’ files date back more than 30 years, in many cases.
It was at this crossroads that Malouf’s office pulled a full 360 to do more than simply “catch up” or remain “solid enough” with the state of their technologies. They wanted to lea ahead of the curve and develop an evolving infrastructure. Ciracom Cloud then stepped in with their managed services and much-needed reassurances for Malouf’s staff and patients alike.
Details from Kelly Rosenberry, COA and Malouf’s Director of Operations
Before signing with Dr. Malouf, Kelly Rosenberry started her professional career as a first-tier IT technician after earning a degree in education. One summer, she took a job at Malouf’s office and the rest, as they say, is history. Over time, Rosenberry worked hand-in-hand with Ciracom Cloud, and Ciracom Cloud aided her in providing patients with everything a larger medical setting would, minus massive scaling costs. She is quoted throughout this piece.
Harnessing Microsoft Solutions, and the Vision of Cloud-Connecting
An apt metaphor Rosenberry provided regarding Ciracom Cloud’s roadmap for success was “Flipping a switch.” Ciracom Cloud supported Malouf’s office in flipping countless switches, all without putting the office in a position where they might have to start over from the ground up. Their infrastructure became what they had desired for years as Malouf’s staff became working smarter and with cloud-first mentalities.
Two specific solutions Ciracom Cloud deployed were Microsoft Teams and Outlook. Scrapping any need for physical note-passing and gaining the ability to send quick emails and direct, expedient messages became the norm for Malouf’s office very quickly.
Another considerable solution Ciracom Cloud architected for Malouf was migrating the office to what is now its Azure Active Directory Domain. Doing so opened the doors to their VPN and eliminated disadvantageous workstations. Ciracom Cloud also introduced additional cybersecurity via new usernames and passwords for logins, as well as reliable, HIPAA-compliant workstation tracking for patient security.
“It’s 2022 and there are still practices which lack that,” Rosenberry said. “I’m so grateful we have it all in place.”
Azure ensured data would remain in the cloud securely for backup and recovery in case Malouf’s office’s systems were ever to go down. Rather than having to scramble to secure crucial files over the course of a 24-hour period, this is now possible for staff members like Rosenberry within mere minutes.
Ciracom Cloud recommended other licenses and cloud services over time that Malouf’s office had once thought to be unattainable, be it due to costs or simply the stresses of over-encumbering their staff. “Ciracom Cloud made it simple,” Rosenberry said. “Moving away from less-than-ideal subscriptions and embracing more straightforward solutions they proposed was incredible. Efficient services, the right budgeting and IT support, and far fewer headaches. Ciracom Cloud showed us we could do that! So do it, we did!”
Security on All Fronts, Especially During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Moreover, when COVID-19 hit and millions of Americans moved to remote-work/at-home environments, Dr. Malouf’s office faced a new reality: When it comes to the type of medicine that is ophthalmology, it can prove to be quite difficult to complete clinical work, even via Telehealth. “Patients’ eyes are on the line,” Rosenberry said. Even so, Ciracom Cloud was instrumental in enabling a variety of remote examination capabilities, as well as assisting with virtual billing workarounds. “Charts can now be prepped remotely,” Kelly said, “and insurance verifications can be run from outside the office when necessary. We can action no-cash, touchless payments, virtual appointment bookings, sign-ins and chart updates, and UI-friendly patient portals. None of this was ideal at first, especially on the clinic side of things, but it wouldn’t have become possible without Ciracom Cloud and their services.”
Evolving with the Times || Putting Patients First
From the first steps of their cloud journey to present day, Dr. Alan R. Malouf’s office has seen enormous advances in their already-diverse ophthalmologic capabilities.
“There’s so much going on here every day. We aren’t a mom-and-pop ice cream shop or a shoe store; we’re an established medical practice which must abide by government compliances and intense regulations, and it’s so important that our IT company can walk the talk and help us with all of that. Too often, our peers are bought up by larger corporations and are inherently changed. We don’t have to worry about that, though. Ciracom Cloud helps us run our healthcare how we want, not how any larger entity may dictate.” - Kelly Rosenberry, COA, Director of Operations for Dr. Alan R. Malouf M.D., P.A.
After migrating to the cloud, Dr. Malouf and his staff feel far less held back. The ability to quickly glance at their systems with maximum visibility was a game-changer for them. “And if we ever do experience issues with our technologies or our insurances, they feel like non-starters because of Ciracom Cloud. No matter how busy we get, there is no 1:1 replacement for the exceptional reassurance Ciracom Cloud provides. And finding a company in this day and age that understands our world, our values, and how our work is our family is rare. But Ciracom Cloud gets it, and they are definitely the company for us!”
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