Although it is difficult to admit, STI, like all cloud-based service vendors, occasionally encounters service outages from time to time. When an outage occurs, it can be frustrating for you, our clients. Be assured, that we are continually implementing ways to prevent these kinds of problems, whether it’s by replacing and upgrading hardware, or making software changes.
However, one of the most important responsibilities we have when such a situation arises is to keep you informed. Therefore, when any service issue arises, we have implemented these three rules:
- Rule #1 – Let you, our clients, know as soon as we do so that you don’t have to wonder if we know about it.
- Rule #2 – Keep you informed throughout the process until the problem is resolved, so that you know we’re working on a solution.
- Rule #3 – This is one that you don’t hear much about, but one you may have thought of: Find a way to prevent the problem from happening again!
If you’ve ever asked, “What does STI do after a problem has occurred to prevent it from happening again?”, read more below:
Here’s an example of one such case. Recently, we had a problem in which emails sent to patients by the Patient Portal were not being sent because of a hardware replacement. The problem was that because overnight, tens of thousands of emails started sending daily from a brand new location, a popular spam rating service flagged our server as being a “spam generator” and as a result, many email services (gmail, roadrunner, etc.) stopped accepting email from our Patient Portal. We’ve since talked with our technology partners and cleared that up.
But we also noticed a coincidence in that our Patient Portal service got backed up and refused to accept new information coming from the Medical Suite. That was easy enough to cure, but after resolving the problem, we weren’t finished. We had to ask ourselves, how do we prevent this from happening? How do we know when a situation like this is building, so that we know before our clients know, and so that we can resolve it and prevent any stoppage or slowdown of this service?
The answer is we brought in our own Technical Services department who as many of you know, provide a managed service function for production systems. The software our Technical Services division uses to monitor servers on sight at your office, is the same software that we already use to monitor our cloud-based services too. Our manager of Information Technology, Dan Woods, came up with a creative solution that monitors our Patient Portal Data Service and notifies us when a problem occurs. In the week that we’ve had this configured, it’s already alerted us to temporary issues that were not serious, such as those below showing one such alert, and a graphical display we viewed as follow up.
The important part is that it’s proof that this service is working as intended. If this were to escalate to the point of interrupting the flow of information from the Medical Suite to the Patient Portal, we’ll know about it immediately and can take action to resolve it.