Ask Bobby Addison what keeps him up and night, and he'll tell you right away: the patients. Coming from the CTO of digiChart, a leading provider of OB/GYN-specific electronic health record (EHR) solutions, that might not seem like an obvious answer but digiChart isn't your average EHR provider. Built by a team of medical professionals, digiChart is dedicated to streamlining operations for practitioners and improving patient care.
"Our CEO, Rodney Hamilton, is a physician, and many of our staff members, myself included, came from the provider-side of healthcare," says Addison. "We know first-hand how much it means for providers to have the information they need when they need it."
With their commitment to providing access to critical healthcare information and resources, digiChart embarked on a full-scale migration of their application to a new datacenter – in which the company had invested over half a million dollars in upgrades. The datacenter infrastructure on which the application had been built was nearing the end of its lifecycle, and as a result, the application was experiencing numerous performance degradations and outages.
"Every time we had an outage, I'd imagine the patients. I tried to put myself in their shoes, to imagine what it feels like to have to wait two weeks for test results, to sit in the waiting room on pins and needles. A patient shouldn't have to wait one minute longer than necessary to have that conversation with their doctor, and it certainly shouldn't be because the doctor is having trouble accessing a record," says Addison.
With significant time and costs already invested in the new datacenter and the expectations of more than 1,000 clinicians and their patients riding on the success of the migration, Addison brought in ExtraHop to provide the cross-tier, granular visibility and prescriptive guidance needed to deliver success.
Averting datacenter migration disaster
While the migration started out smoothly enough, it wasn't long before digiChart ran into a major problem. Addison and his team started seeing a flood of errors associated with the web server, but when they looked at the logs, everything looked normal. To make matters worse, the lease on their old datacenter had expired, requiring them to pay premiums to keep the application live on the old infrastructure while paying rent on the lease at the new datacenter.
With the assistance of ExtraHop support, the team at digiChart dug in to the wire data. Within a couple of hours, the team was able to trace the error messages they were seeing to an error that was occurring at the load balancer. With ExtraHop, digiChart not only found the source of the problem, they also had the fix: increasing the maximum header count on the load balancer.
"When managing a complex, multi-tier application, you could spend a lifetime tweaking and never get to the root cause of the problem," says Addison. "ExtraHop tells us not only where the problem is occurring, but why it's occurring. Once we know the where and the why, fixing it is usually the easiest part."
Understanding Application Performance and End-User Impacts
Even with the application up and running, maintaining peak performance doesn't happen all on its own. Says Addison: "Not only does ExtraHop bring problems to light, it tells us how to fix those problems before they impact our doctors and their patients. Prior to ExtraHop, we had theories. Now we have facts. We're not just guessing anymore."
Platform + People
The digiChart team has also worked extensively with the ExtraHop training team to customize the platform to their unique requirements.
"Rather than taking us through some standardized course, the ExtraHop training team actually took the time to sit down and ask us what problems we were having, then tailor the session to our needs. We left the training with information and skills that really mattered to us," says Addison.
Better Performance Equals Satisfied Customers
With ExtraHop, digiChart has the end-to-end visibility they need to understand how the application is behaving and spot problems before they impact customers.
"With ExtraHop, you just plug it in. It looks at the packets, finds the protocol, no matter what's happening in our infrastructure, ExtraHop can monitor it," says Addison.
Improving Customer Support
digiChart is also using wire data insights from ExtraHop to provide better live customer service. By looking at traffic patterns week-over-week, they anticipate call center staffing needs ahead of time. This ensures customers get quick support access when they need it.
Low overhead, high ROI
For digiChart, having solutions that help them identify and solve problems quickly allows them to focus more time on what matters most: customers.
"We chose ExtraHop because it works. Period. The training is phenomenal. The overhead is low to start getting value," says Addison. "I use it every day. I look at it every day, multiple times a day. I have two dashboards that stay open on my monitors all the time. It's helping us run not only our application but our business, better."