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New York Health and Hospitals Corporation Success Story

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature

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Posted: 28 Aug 2003

Largest municipal health system in U.S. relies on Novell® GroupWise® to manage 18,000 users and protect confidential patient data

New York Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) has facilities in all five boroughs of New York City. As the largest municipal health care system in the United States, HHC operates a healthcare network consisting of acute care hospitals, community clinics, diagnostic and treatment centers, long-term care facilities and a home health agency.


HHC has a small IT staff to centrally manage its corporate messaging platform across three central office locations, 20 major health care facilities, more than 100 community health clinics, a home health care agency and a health maintenance organization. The organization needed a solution that would provide standardized e-mail, calendaring and scheduling capabilities across its enterprise, without overburdening the IT staff and creating high maintenance costs. The solution needed to be scalable enough to efficiently process nearly a million messages a month.

Because the organization deals with confidential healthcare information, security is a top concern. HHC needed the highest level of security to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy requirements, as well as the strongest virus protection to safeguard its data.


?I can count on one hand the times I've seen a security alert for Novell GroupWise. We have enough work already without additional headaches from viruses and hackers.?

?Corey Cush, Senior Director,
Networking Services,
New York Health and Hospitals Corporation

New York Health and Hospitals selected Novell NetWare® 6, Novell GroupWise 6.5 and Novell Cluster Services™ to maintain a low cost of ownership, increase corporate security and protect against virus attacks.

"I can count on one hand the times I've seen a security alert for Novell GroupWise," said Corey Cush, senior director of Networking Services at New York Health and Hospitals Corporation. "We have enough work already without additional headaches from viruses and hackers."

HHC has four engineers to manage its entire Novell environment for 18,000 users. Only 25-30 percent of their time is spent managing Novell GroupWise, which helps the organization maintain a low cost of ownership. Novell GroupWise efficiently processes nearly a million e-mail messages a month.

"Once the infrastructure is set up, Novell GroupWise pretty much runs itself," said Cush. "I don't have to worry about getting hundreds of service packs to test and apply. Instead, I get about one a quarter but usually not for major bugs or security flaws. The security of Novell GroupWise gives me one less thing to worry about." The security features of Novell GroupWise also help HHC comply with the strict privacy and security requirements of HIPAA by protecting sensitive patient data.

GroupWise Web Access is the most popular feature with users, particularly with executives who spend their days in meetings with no time for e-mail. With secure remote access at any time, and from any location, executives can log in from PDAs or from home at the end of the day. Doctors can log in from different hospitals, their office, or from home, improving their ability to provide better patient care.

"We are using the new junk mail filters in GroupWise 6.5 to dramatically reduce the amount of junk mail that bombards our systems," said Cush. "We can cut off much of the spam at the post office level, before it hits individual user mailboxes. Some users report that they no longer get 50 junk mail messages a day."

Users also like the new features in GroupWise 6.5 such as the ability to organize e-mail in a checklist and to create color-coded categories. Users can also create personalized headings for e-mail messages, making the information in them more relevant and accessible. The ability to organize and prioritize e-mail has greatly improved user productivity.

HHC uses Novell Cluster Services to provide continuous uptime for its GroupWise server, a critical requirement for health care facilities offering 24/7 care. If one server fails, another will take over to provide 100 percent business continuity.

Novell GroupWise helps HHC maintain a low cost of ownership by using only 25 percent of its IT resources to manage 18,000 users and efficiently process nearly one million e-mail messages a month. HHC relies on GroupWise to comply with HIPAA security requirements and safeguard its data with the highest level of security against hackers and virus attacks. Secure Web access to e-mail from any location increases employee productivity and improves patient care by allowing doctors to consult with each other quickly and efficiently.

"We now spend far less time troubleshooting and fighting fires," said Cush. "With Novell GroupWise 6.5, it's been pretty much hands off. We're able to do more with less. Our environment keeps growing, but we don't have to grow our staff along with it."

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