A nurse at cGate.
A nurse at cGate.

Maintaining protection of clinical data and patients' personal information is the top priority for a health care provider with a focus on mobile devices, reports Greg Masters.

When the lives of patients are at stake, communication between a health care facility's personnel must be dependable, accessible and secure. For cGate Health, an Austin, Texas-based medical software development company, the rapid evolution of mobile devices has brought both convenience and efficiency to its partners, but also challenges to protect the sensitive lab data and patient information entrusted to its care.

cGate Health provides software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based mobile and desktop solutions that enable the real-time ordering, results management and collaboration of clinical laboratory information for physicians, nurses and clinicians. Its software applications work across any platform and provide quick access to the critical lab data that represents more than 70 percent of a patient's health record. As well, 80 percent of a doctor's clinical decisions are derived from lab result data.

The company currently employ six full-time employees and that number is about to grow to 15 in the near term and is projected to rise upwards of 20 to 25 by year-end 2011, says Ryan Masten, cGate's CTO and chief software architect.

His IT staff currently consists of four and is in the process of expanding to seven in the next few months. The team also engages with external developers and integration contractors on an as-needed basis.

The company provides a high performance, highly scalable, secured hosting infrastructure to support its customer base. But, as it finds itself in a growth spurt, cGate realized it needed a hosting partner that could grow with them. It was also looking to reduce costs in running its own data center. As the company's top priority is securing the health records in its system, it began the search for a vendor that truly understood the health care security needs it currently had and might expect in the future. It started a search.

Masten, along with his IT team, reviewed several hosting platforms locally and in the cloud – including solutions from GoGrid, Rackspace, Zebec, MediaTemple, and many other online hosting providers. Ultimately, they selected a solution from FireHost.

"FireHost's understanding of health-care related security threats, along with its state-of-the-art hosting facilities and network architecture, are significantly ahead of the competition," says Masten. "FireHost has gone to great lengths to build a hosting infrastructure that can not only detect and react to security issues, but that also can prevent them."

Several factors were figured into the selection – cost, features, support, deployment, knowledgeable staff and fast response. But, says Masten, most important was a secure infrastructure and an understanding of how mission critical and unique health care IT is and will continue to be looking forward.