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Using IT to Preserve Quality Healthcare

May 5, 2009


Molina Healthcare, Inc. significantly reduced endpoint and backup administration costs by standardizing on Symantec products.
As more people become unemployed in this tough economy, the loss of private healthcare benefits rises as well. According to a report from the Urban Institute, every one percent rise in unemployment results in the loss of employer-based healthcare for 2.5 million men, women, and children.
As a last resort, many uninsured patients turn to hospital and clinic emergency rooms for care. Dr. C. David Molina spent time early in his career as an emergency room physician. During his ER career he saw that many uninsured and underinsured patients were not receiving the preventative and follow-up care they needed in these emergency room facilities. In response, Dr. Molina opened his first clinic in 1980 in Wilmington, California to provide quality care to financially vulnerable families and individuals. Molina Healthcare, Inc. is a multi-state managed care organization that arranges for the delivery of health care services to persons eligible for Medicaid, Medicare, and other government-sponsored programs for low-income families and individuals. Altogether, Molina Healthcare's 10 licensed health plan subsidiaries in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and Washington currently serve approximately 1.2 million members. The organization has won awards of excellence from U.S. News and World Reports and all of its eligible health plans have been accredited by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) making Molina Healthcare the industry leader.
While providing quality care to a deserving community has its rewards, organizations such as Molina Healthcare operate under severe economic pressure. “Unlike commercial insurers who can raise rates if their costs go up, we can’t,” says Sri Bharadwaj, director of network infrastructure and operations at Molina Healthcare. “The state governments tell us how much we can charge. So it is incumbent on us to leverage our administrative efficiency to keep costs low.” Since medical expenditures are fixed, Molina looked to administrative and IT solutions to contain costs.

Balancing IT costs and healthcare demands

The greatest challenge to the Molina Healthcare IT staff was maintaining the company’s high level of quality service while decreasing IT costs. Engaging Symantec Consulting Services was a crucial step in attaining this goal. Working with Symantec, Molina Healthcare identified potential improvements to its IT infrastructure. These key factors needed to be addressed:
  • Support increased growth while reducing overhead.
  • Streamline and centralize endpoint, helpdesk, and compliance while adding additional security and control.
  • Contain email management and storage costs through centralized protection.
Over the next year, Molina Healthcare deployed a number of Symantec solutions to address these challenges.

Symantec solutions

In an effort to provide better security as well as streamline security management, Molina Healthcare deployed Symantec Endpoint Protection throughout its multi-state enterprise. The solution provides antivirus, firewall protection, intrusion prevention, and device and application control to its 2300 desktops from one central location. In addition, Molina Healthcare uses Symantec Control Compliance to create and disseminate compliance policies, as well as remediate machines at risk.. Now security and compliance are centrally managed. “Managing all endpoints is now a part-time assignment for a single resource,” says Bharadwaj. “It would have required four or five employees working full time, all with a big travel budget.” Bharadwaj estimates they have reduced costs by 80 percent as a result.
Another major challenge to the organization was the cost and complexity of email storage. Because of compliance requirements, messages need to be archived and readily retrieved. Past experience with archiving Exchange PST files was problematic, however. Using Symantec Enterprise Vault, the IT team detected and migrated 3000 PST files to a central repository for indexing. Email is now readily searchable, and PST files are no longer needed, resulting in decreased storage space and management costs. For users of the system, retrieval of old messages is as easy as double-clicking an archive icon. Bharadwaj estimates Molina Healthcare has probably reclaimed hundreds of gigabytes of storage space.
Symantec also helped Molina Healthcare solve its backup and archiving problems. “We had people managing backup tapes across our multi-state environment,” Bharadwaj says. “It was resource intensive and inconsistent. If we needed to pull certain information, it was a cumbersome to find the tape.” Centralizing and automating backup using Veritas NetBackup and NetBackup PureDisk drastically reduced backup management tasks and also delivered increased security with encryption and reduced disk space required using deduplication. “With NetBackup and NetBackup PureDisk we’ve probably have reduced backup costs by about 60 percent,” Bharadwaj reports. The organization can recover production applications up to five times faster, and 256-bit encryption of data helps them meet all governance, risk management and compliance regulations.

Quick results, continued care

After the deployment of its Symantec solutions, Symantec Business Critical Service is on call 24X7 to help with any issues that might arise in day-to-day operations of their multi-state IT enterprise. The Molina IT team knows they have a single point of contact at Symantec for assistance, backed by a team of advanced engineers. “With the help of Symantec we’ve made phenomenal progress at an aggressive pace using Symantec tools to accomplish our goals,” says Bharadwaj.

Click here to read the full Molina Healthcare Success Story.

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