About Tristar Medical Group
With headquarters in Mildura, Victoria, Tristar Medical Group was established to ensure that high quality, accessible and affordable medical services would always be available to regional and rural communities. The organisation has grown to provide modern facilities and professional services at 57 clinic and health services and more than 200 doctors across in VIC, NSW, SA, ACT, QLD and NT servicing thousands of patients. Understanding that health matters are often urgent and unplanned, the company prides itself on the ability for patients to make an appointment at short notice. Tristar has also pioneered a number of important initiatives including training and support for all medical staff with specialised programs designed specifically for International Medical Graduates. Tristar also offers patients the convenience of having their medical records available at any Tristar clinic. Unlike most other clinics, Tristar clinics are predominately bulk billing. Tristar offers traditional family medicine and gives patients the ability to make an appointment with their choice of doctor.
In early 2014, performance issues with the company’s infrastructure meant that Tristar was struggling to run its operations smoothly. The problem related to the system which allowed each practice to schedule appointments and assign doctors efficiently, which impacted each of Tristar’s 57 locations, and its patients.
Staff members were unable to view appointments, or see where doctors were at any given time, and would have to resort to a labour-intensive and error-prone paper system. When this occurred, clinics were unable to function effectively, creating frustration for both staff and patients.
“Patient health is the very reason we exist, however, without support behind the scenes from the technology that allows our practice managers, receptionists, doctors and nurses to do their job effectively, people suffer,” said Dr Khaled El-Sheikh at Tristar Medical Group. “We sought to rectify this by working with a new technology partner.”
Tristar Medical Group went to tender for both a hosted infrastructure service and a national managed wide area network (WAN). It chose IT Consultancy, Acurus, on the account of its expertise, its technology partnerships and specialisation in the health sector. For health providers, security is a primary consideration – patient records must remain secure. Acurus recommended Fortinet solutions to protect Tristar’s network content and safeguard against application-level threats via its anti-virus, anti-spam and firewall features. The Fortinet technology also provides integrated multi-threat protection across all sites in the network without sacrificing performance, which is important with Tristar’s disparate set-up.
After winning the tender, Acurus moved Tristar’s infrastructure onto its own cloud service platform and installed Fortinet’s 60 CX across all clinics and a Clustered 200B. In addition, thanks to FortiGate’s support for sFlow, Acurus installed a web and mobile phone monitoring system to give Tristar’s internal IT department visibility into the performance of each clinic. This allows Tristar to detect any under-performing sites and identify the cause of the problem.
Tristar now has a superior range of security technologies. The Fortinet 60 CX integrates firewall, IPSec and SSL VPN, anti-virus, anti-spam, intrusion prevention and web filtering into a single device. It also includes features such as data loss prevention and vulnerability management, essential for patient information. The WAN runs on DSL with auto-failover to 4G wireless.
Since deploying the Fortinet and Acurus solution, Tristar has experienced a dramatic improvement of 99.9 percent uptime across all its clinics. WAN optimisation technology available on the Fortinet 60 CX has reduced network traffic by as much as 50 percent. This has resulted in a much faster and more reliable experience for staff members, doctors and patients. The custom FortiASIC processors have maximised throughput while blocking unauthorised access and eliminating unwanted traffic from the network.
The Acurus monitoring service provides Tristar with excellent visibility of performance across all its clinics, ensuring issues can be addressed in a timely manner. In addition, ongoing support means Tristar can work closely with Acurus to continually make improvements to its service. Overall, the new system provides a 40 percent cost saving per annum from its previous solution. However, most critically, Tristar can run its head office and 57 practices efficiently, ensuring patients get help as and when they need to, with all records maintained securely.