Wound-Care Firm Smiles Through Verizon Cloud

To help bring its disposable appliance for wound care to market, GWR Medical unintentionally created a second product -- software to aid in measuring wounds and the progression of healing. When both products began to take off, GWR found itself in need of a major computer system upgrade -- and turned to Verizon Enterprise Solutions for a Computing as a Service offering instead. (See Verizon Unveils Cloud Services.)

GWR represents the classic cloud computing customer, says Michael Ruhnke, director of the Mid-Atlantic region for Verizon Business. The firm faced a major capital investment to replace aging servers, and needed a way to insure server uptime for both its software customers and its sales force.

"This is really in the sweet spot of what CaaS can do -- it helps customers be able to quickly and in a standardized way ramp up an environment, spending little capital to get it up and running, and have it scale with their needs," Ruhnke says. "From a healthcare perspective, it fits nicely with the applications that GWR and other health care companies need, with access to patient data in a secure manner and ability to access images, which require a significant amount of storage."

GWR began marketing an FDA-approved device to speed healing of chronic wounds about 15 years ago. The disposable device can be attached directly to the patient and to an oxygen source to deliver oxygen directly to the wound for 90 minutes a day, says Sean Geary, VP and COO of GWR. To prove the efficacy of its device to insurance companies, GWR then invented a software program that enables the patient to manually trace around a digital photograph of a chronic wound and, over time, show that it is healing.

The software proved popular with multiple large hospital systems, including Johns Hopkins and Walter Reed, and became a second product line for GWR, which markets the software as part of a Web-based information service through its WoundMatrix affiliate. The need to be able to access patient records on-demand put pressure on GWR to keep its systems up and running. Moving those records onto Verizon's always-on CaaS infrastructure solved that problem, Geary says.

"We can't have downtime -- if I'm down, I'm finished," he says.

GWR also is saving significantly on maintenance costs, since any major repairs or upgrades to on-site servers required assistance from outside IT experts, Geary says.

Verizon was able to meet the federal privacy requirements, known as HIPAA rules, that GWR needed, because the service provider had already developed service modules that provide HIPAA and, most recently, PCI compliance for its cloud service offerings. (See Verizon CaaS Gets PCI Approval.)

"Part of the benefit of this solution is that there is a full suite of security services embedded in the CaaS, part of which is a module that includes HIPAA and PCI compliance," Ruhnke says.

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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