Borgess Health Alliance, headquartered in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a comprehensive healthcare network serving more than 1 million people in 15 communities across southwest Michigan. The group of hospitals includes Borgess Medical Center, Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital and Borgess-Pipp Hospital. The group offers specialty services such as emergency, cancer, radiology, rehabilitation and women’s health, with nationally recognized programs in cardiovascular services, neurosciences and orthopedics. Borgess Health Alliance is a subsidiary of Ascension Health.
As a healthcare network, Borgess Health’s first priority has always been the protection of patients’ private medical information. However, at the same time, many of their physicians were looking for a way to view electronic medical records (EMRs) remotely. While the administration wanted to appease their medical staff and provide them with remote access to charts and data, they had to ensure that the solution was secure and provided the ability to restrict access based on a person’s role within the hospital system.
In 2005, when Borgess Health was evaluating their technology needs, they were still using dial-up modems, which made it difficult and time consuming for doctors to place orders, and a WatchGuard VPN to allow remote access for the IT department only. Further, the hospital system was paying an exorbitant fee to have T1s, fiber optic cables, physically run directly to the homes of 4-5 physicians whose remote access to files was vital. At that point, the costs were high and the capabilities of the technology in place were limited.