Customer Story:

Californian Health System

Top Health System Gains Real-Time Application, Security, and Clinical Data with ExtraHop

The Beginning

Ranked as one of the top not-for-profit hospital systems in the nation, this organization serves communities in more than 100 cities across Northern California. Their operations cover over 20 hospitals and dozens of cancer centers, cardiac centers, trauma centers, rehabilitation centers and more.

A team of doctors, employees, and partners work tirelessly to provide top-rated, affordable healthcare to millions of patients each year. In order to deliver high quality care and patient experience, staff members must be able to access patient information wherever and whenever they need it. Making this possible is the job of their world-class Information Services team.

Since joining the team, their CTO has played a large role in managing and improving their IT infrastructure and technologies. Having used ExtraHop at his previous company, the CTO knew the kind of value ExtraHop could bring to improving IT service delivery.

The Transformation

When the CTO moved into his new role, he once again looked to ExtraHop to provide the visibility his team needed to reduce service disruption and proactively improve operations. "ExtraHop enables us to understand how our applications work—all 35,000 of them," says the CTO. "We now have performance and security data for everything that communicates on the network."

Troubleshooting for Electronic Health Record (EHR) Apps

An immediate opportunity revealed itself when there were slowness issues with their EHR—an application supporting functions ranging from patient care to clinical systems for healthcare providers and billing systems for insurers. "ExtraHop enables us to quickly troubleshoot and identify the root cause for performance issues that can impact patient care," says the CTO.

In one particular case, ExtraHop helped the team solve a DNS problem related to their EHR. "With ExtraHop, we found that the cause of the problem without a back-and-forth between various stakeholders. Identifying and solving these issues faster means that caregivers can access the data they need to do their jobs well."

The team continues to use ExtraHop regularly to monitor EHR performance. "ExtraHop proves especially helpful during our bi-annual upgrades. We can measure before-and-after performance and reduce the risk of the project."

Lighting the Way for VDI

At the beginning of his tenure, the CTO took on a strategic initiative to scale out VDI to increase mobility and security. Based on his previous experiences, he understood the value that ExtraHop would provide for this effort.

"In a world of blind men, the one-eyed man is king. I was blind to what was going on in the VDI stack and I knew ExtraHop could enable me to see," he says.

Using ExtraHop to understand both user experience and how well the VDI environment was operating, the team migrated 10,000 desktop PCs to the VDI infrastructure, added over 50,000 subscribers to My Virtual Workspace, and went from zero users to more than 10,000 thin clients in ten hospitals, in a year and a half, with another dozen hospitals planned for the coming year.

The Benefits

The Eagle Eye View for Security

Security is a top priority for this organization and ExtraHop provides additional understanding of potential threats. "ExtraHop is an added layer of security for us. Everything communicates across the network and if anything looks suspicious, we can surface these insights up to our security team for further investigation. It's next generation virus definition for network traffic."

When a new strain of ransomware had been reported in 2017, within three hours the team installed the ExtraHop-provided module created specifically to target this malware, assuring the ability to identify and subsequently eliminate the threat from the network if needed.

"We are not allowed to adjust the software on some medical devices that have been FDA certified, which means we cannot deploy some security software on those devices," explains the CTO. "ExtraHop, in combination with other tools, allows us to monitor the communications of those devices on the network and identify non-compliant behavior."

Getting Proactive with Clinical Informatics

Every healthcare organization relies on the HL7 messaging protocol to exchange information between systems and applications. HL7 communications are a rich source of clinical and business data and ExtraHop allows teams to extract, analyze, and visualize that information. The team is starting to explore the use of ExtraHop to apply this data for real-time clinical operations and business intelligence.

"Imagine being able to access data like bed-count availability and correlate that with information on scheduled discharges. Being able to do that in real-time instead of waiting for the daily report allows us to act in more efficient ways. It could mean being more efficient with our resources and seeing more patients per week," says the CTO.

Being able to access this data as things are happening comes into play even more when you're talking about real-time counsel or intervention. "There's a big focus right now on making sure doctors don't over-prescribe medications and that they don't prescribe particular medications if avoidable. ExtraHop gives us the data and ability we need to act in real time to set up intervention measures if needed—something that has not been possible until now."

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