Thin Client Solution Modernizes Psychological Practice

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A psychological practice had aging equipment and outdated software that was unreliable and expensive to maintain. Cohn Consulting Corporation replaced their entire Novell NetWare based system with a Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Terminal Services solution using thin client workstations that provided updated software, increased reliability, and almost zero maintenance costs.

The Challenge

The psychological practice had an aging network that could no longer be maintained or run current applications.

The PC’s were Pentium I processors with 32MB of memory and 2GB hard drives and were running Windows 95. The server was a Novell 4.11 server providing file and print services along with ZenWorks and Novell Application Launcher. The network was a 10-Base-T hub system with a DSL connection and no firewall. The primary application was DOS-based, but the vendor no longer supported it and had already come out with two new Windows versions.

The PC’s were breaking down. The applications were no longer supported. Newer versions were available but wouldn’t run on Windows 95. HIPAA requirements were not being met and could not be met with the current setup. And the former computer services company was virtually ignoring the practice as a client.

The Solution

The practice needed current technology across all aspects of the network. And the solution had to be HIPAA-compliant.

Cohn Consulting Corporation replaced the Novell server with a Windows Server running Windows Terminal Services. The server had dual Xeon processors, 2.5GB of memory, 72GB of storage in a RAID-5 array, and a 40/80GB tape backup unit. We replaced all of the old PC’s with NeoWare Capio 618 thin client appliances. We upgraded the network to a 10/100 switch and added a Sonicwall SOHO3 firewall and VPN Internet Security Appliance.

We upgraded the primary application to the latest Windows version and enabled it for Terminal Services operation. We installed Microsoft Office XP for Terminal Services, as well, and installed psychological testing software for shared use under Terminal Services. All data from the previous system was migrated, as well.

Web-access to Terminal Services using encrypted sessions was set up. The firewall and VPN connections were configured for optimal security. And e-mail was added for each user through the practice’s ISP.

The server and thin-client workstations were configured ahead of time and the entire system replacement (including the primary application upgrade) was completed in a single three-day weekend.

The Result

  • The practice now had a high-performing, highly reliable IT foundation for conducting its operations.
  • The solutions all are HIPAA-compliant, which meets HIPAA deadlines two years early.
  • The network components are all using current technology, which means that the practice has complete support from its vendors.
  • The network can be accessed from any Internet-connected workstation, which gives the psychologists maximum flexibility to check schedules from home or manage cases while out of the office.
  • The use of thin client appliances results in zero maintenance for the workstations. As a result, the psychologists do not have to be interrupted to do system updates or maintenance tasks.
  • By only having a single “PC” in the network (ie: the server), system maintenance and program updates are vastly simplified.
  • The network is secure through the use of the firewall, group and domain policies, and network file access security.
  • The network runs reliably and faster, enabling the psychologists to quickly process their cases and spend more time with patients.

In addition, the fast implementation resulted in minimal impact to practice operations. With minimal training on the upgraded applications, the psychologists were back in business with better technology and virtually no downtime.
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“Your Professionalism with this situation at the Zero hour is definitely a rarity. Your team’s response was to take on a project that you had no prior knowledge of other than a customer was in a tight spot and needed assistance.”