Outer Cape Health Services Director of Technology Kathleen Power, who was hired just nine days before COVID-19 shut down the U.S. and impacted healthcare operations all across the country, was tasked with addressing the organization’s aging technology amid the pandemic.
The system included a 20-year-old, site-based domain controller and inadequate modem.
Power was well-equipped to meet the challenge. She came to Outer Cape from Sturgis Charter Schools, where she had been responsible for bringing OpenCape’s 100 percent Fiber Optic high-speed internet to the school’s two campuses and five properties in Hyannis.
“I worked with OpenCape to launch the service as part of a pilot program, and it was outstanding – both the product itself and the service,” she said. “In the seven years that I was there after the installation, we never had another internet outage.”
Part of her new job at Outer Cape was to make the healthcare organization’s technology more stable and adaptable to moving backend systems and services to the cloud. She brought the 100 percent Fiber Optic high speed internet to all four of Outer Cape’s locations, dramatically expanding bandwidth and the organization’s increasingly important telehealth capacity.
“Telehealth is still a key component of our practice. We’ve noticed that it has been a particularly effective part of our behavioral healthcare service,” said Outer Cape Health Services Senior Development and Communications Officer Gerry Desautels. “There’s a much lower no-show rate now for behavioral healthcare visits.”
With four locations, including three on the Outer Cape in Wellfleet and Provincetown and one in Harwich Port (which includes a pharmacy) on the Lower Cape, Outer Cape Health Services is a lifeline for many residents of Cape Cod. Outer Cape Health has the only pharmacy and only medical provider located close by for residents in the towns of Truro, Wellfleet and Eastham. Their Provincetown Urgent Care is the furthest health center from any hospital in the Commonwealth (and also home to its server farm – with 63 servers now) and those miles are often fraught with extreme New England weather.
“COVID shined the light on the impact technology can have on telehealth,” said enn Brann, Senior Manager of Business Operations at OpenCape. “Expanding the connectivity for rural healthcare providers like Outer Cape Health Care allows them to serve more people in all areas of care. The Rural Healthcare Connected Care pilot program (RHC) allowed them to quadruple their speeds.”
Power is confident that the weather will not be a problem for internet outages at Outer Cape Health now that OpenCape is on board.
“Partnering with OpenCape has improved our capacity to expand and move services to the cloud, including, but not limited to telephones, and our EHR (Electronic Health records),” said Power.