Cloudticity Puts DevOps and Healthcare Expertise at the Heart of its Next-Gen MSP Practice with MiHIN

Cloudticity is an APN Advanced Consulting Partner and AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) with AWS Competencies in DevOps and Healthcare

Focusing on human health outcomes and technology innovation

Founded in 2011, Cloudticity went all-in on two areas of expertise: cloud computing and healthcare. The company made a big bet on the potential for cloud technology to drive outcomes that could make humans healthier. At the time, the healthcare industry remained skeptical of the cloud. Yet, Cloudticity never faltered in its commitment to helping companies use cloud technology to transform healthcare. Today, as healthcare companies look to the cloud with fervor rather than doubt, advances in technology continue to change the way companies approach healthcare.

At the heart of dozens of healthcare companies’ cloud journeys and growth is Cloudticity. Since it began, Cloudticity has focused on providing companies in the healthcare space consulting and technology management services and solutions.

“We’re healthcare-specific. We speak the same language as our clients,” says Gerry Miller, Cloudticity’s founder and chief executive officer. "Our expertise in healthcare and connections within the industry have been invaluable for our ability to have deep and meaningful conversations with our business clients.”

Core to Cloudticity’s technology strategy and focus is—and always has been—Amazon Web Services (AWS). As soon as the company began its AWS-based consulting practice, it joined the AWS Partner Network (APN).

“We believe that we can help drive a more holistic and global, societal benefit through the work we can do on AWS. We must keep raising our bar to remain relevant. It's an exciting field, and we've come so far, but we've not even scratched the surface for where we're going to go.”

- Gerry Miller, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Cloudticity

Maturing into a Next-Generation MSP practice with the help of the APN

As a small, nimble team with a specific niche defining its business, Cloudticity sought out APN Programs to help the company reach its target audiences and differentiate from the market. "Since the beginning, we've tried to be early adopters of APN Programs we felt would help us stand out and compete in a growing marketplace," says Miller. "We were one of the first Healthcare Competency partners, and we were a launch partner for the Service Catalog Service Delivery Program. We invest in and prioritize opportunities to participate in APN Programs that help us stand out based on our proven success and expertise.”

A turning point for Cloudticity’s APN relationship and the growth of the company came when it decided to apply for the AWS Managed Service Program (MSP).

"The third-party AWS MSP audit has several pillars of focus that forced us to grow up and mature as a company, embracing capabilities typically reserved for companies much larger than ours," says Miler. "We committed to meet the bar set by the AWS MSP Program. This commitment helped us evolve into the company we are today.”

To meet and exceed the bar set by the AWS MSP Program, Cloudticity focused much of its effort on its financials, sales, and marketing plans. "It surprised me how much of the focus of the audit was non-technical," says Miller. "We spent much time maturing business areas of our practice that have become fundamental for our ability to scale and embrace the next-generation MSP business model." While the audit highlighted areas for improvement in the company's business approach, it also illuminated areas Cloudticity excelled, such as automation. From the beginning, Cloudticity built its practice with an automation-first mentality.

Using DevOps as a superpower since day one

Today, Cloudticity holds the Healthcare and DevOps Competencies in addition to its distinction as an AWS MSP. DevOps is the beating heart of the Cloudticity MSP practice. “Traditional MSPs are headcount-focused,” says Miller. “We never approached the MSP practice that way. We always approached it from a software developer perspective and strived to make everything an automated process.”

According to Miller, Cloudticity makes more per head than the average MSP given its automation-first practice. For example, 94 percent of the company's helpdesk tickets are handled through automation; the company closes 70 percent of the tickets within an hour.

"The degree of efficiency automation brings us helps us run a very profitable company. We can then invest right back into the company. Moreover, from a customer perspective, it makes things predictable,” says Miller. “When an automated task runs, it runs the same each time. Most mistakes are human mistakes. To the extent that we’ve automated humans out of our processes, we’ve been able to improve our reliability, streamline our time to production for customers, and focus our staff on helping customers with value-added projects while saving our customers time spent troubleshooting. Automation allows us to maintain a nimble team while still delivering high fidelity and efficiency of service.”

The team’s passion for automation cultivates a spirit of innovation within Cloudticity. As AWS releases new services, Cloudticity is often at the forefront of experimentation to see how it can use services to enhance its offerings. "We invest everything back into our company. We take the fruits of all our efforts and reinvest them in our platform by developing more and more automation," says Miller. "We continue to move up the stack with our automation efforts. We began by automating patches. Today, we're automating areas like ingesting healthcare data and building petabyte-scale data lakes with machine learning (ML) analytics. The value of what we're building continues to increase for our customer base."

Evolving its next-gen managed solutions on AWS to empower healthcare companies

The Cloudticity team believes that taking a holistic approach to help healthcare companies maximize their use of the cloud is fundamental to its success as a next-generation MSP. Cloudticity only works with customers on professional services engagements for which it will provide managed services. "Many of our customers are looking to begin a migration to AWS or start by re-engineering applications to become more cloud-native. We then often focus on DevOps automation and helping customers explore advanced technologies, such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), on AWS," says Miller. "Through our end-to-end focus, we go from a cloud migration vendor to healthcare data management partner and trusted advisor.”

Today, Cloudticity offers its customers managed services, managed security, and managed compliance through Cloudticity Oxygen, the company’s proprietary managed services platform. The platform’s next-generation automation saves customers time and enables them to focus on driving innovation within the healthcare space. The platform also offers full or partial coverage for over 200 HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) controls mapped directly to HIPAA guidelines.

Looking ahead, Cloudticity seeks to take a more universal view toward healthcare data integration and to extract value from data using the power of the AWS Cloud. “We are going to invest tremendously in healthcare data integration and using ML to explore new opportunities for unleashing the power of the data," says Miller. "We believe that we can help drive a more holistic and global, societal benefit through the work we can do on AWS. We must keep raising our bar to remain relevant. It's an exciting field, and we've come so far, but we've not even scratched the surface for where we're going to go.”

Helping MiHIN become a healthcare technology powerhouse

Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN) is a public and private nonprofit collaboration dedicated to improving the healthcare experience for Michigan residents. With over 10 million patients and 4,000 providers in Michigan, the organization seeks to improve quality and decrease cost for Michigan’s citizens by supporting the statewide exchange of health information and making valuable data available at the point of care. Crucial to the organization’s ability to drive its mission forward is its technology footprint and ability to scale. In order to meet current and growing data needs, MiHIN needed to move from their existing co-located data center to one with unlimited potential.

MiHIN first contacted Cloudticity in 2016 as they looked to migrate to the AWS Cloud. “Within 90 days, MiHIN was 100 percent migrated to the cloud,” says Miller. MiHIN uses the Cloudticity Oxygen platform and works with Cloudticity as its managed service provider. Since its migration to AWS, MiHIN has worked with Cloudticity to build out a compliance platform and gotten HITRUST-certified.

MiHIN has worked with Cloudticity to generate cost savings and evolve its expertise of and experience with AWS. The MiHIN of today would be unrecognizable to the team that began the initial migration. Today, the growing 150-person MiHIN team embraces a cloud-first mentality for all product and service development. The organization has created a new division called Advanced Cloud Services to harness its potential to drive innovation in the AWS Cloud. Since moving to AWS, MiHIN can build highly available applications and solutions at a rapid pace.

One example is the Active Care Relationship Service® (ACRS) solution MiHIN built to enable data routing for improved care coordination including transitions of care, real time results analysis and improvement and standardize quality data sharing using a patient matching process. The solution connects a patient's electronic health information with the providers actively caring for them, as well as the payers covering the cost of the patient's care.

As adoption of ACRS continues to accelerate over the next year, the number of patient-to-care team relationships modeled by ACRS will grow from 30 million to an estimated 150 million by 2021. At the same time, MiHIN identified a significant opportunity to improve coordination of care in the state of Michigan by enriching the ACRS data model with other relationships beyond active care relationships. To build its solution, the organization decided to use Amazon Neptune, a purpose-built, high-performance graph database engine optimized for storing billions of relationships and querying the graph with milliseconds latency. Using the relationship-based architecture of Neptune, MiHIN is building a solution that not only scales to support the growth of its existing service but allows the organization to model and query 30 to 40 times more relationships than is possible today.

MiHIN’s success and growth have resulted in the formation of two new corporate entities – Velatura Public Benefit Corporation (Velatura) and Interoperability Institute LLC. The Interoperability Institute focuses on creating communities and environments that accelerate the adoption of interoperability through building technical communities that focus on research and development and the next generation workforce. At the heart of this effort is Interoperability Land™ (IOL).

IOL, deployed and accessible through the AWS Marketplace, is a richly populated synthetic universe that acts as a conduit to learning, testing, developing, and sharing across different spaces and systems safely and at a minimal cost. IOL is deployed on AWS, and the use of AWS Marketplace makes it easy for the Interoperability Institute to deploy and manage the distribution of IOL and services that its customers need to meet the growing requirements for interoperability in the healthcare industry.

“MiHIN is a driving force for the healthcare interoperability technology space,” says Miller. “The work the organization is doing is groundbreaking, and we believe it is going to change the world. When we find a client like MiHIN, where we’re able to build a symbiotic partnership, we’re empowered to move the needle for healthcare quality in tangible ways. That’s a core fulfillment of the mission we set out to achieve eight years ago.”

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About MiHIN

MiHIN is a public and private nonprofit collaboration dedicated to improving the healthcare experience for Michigan residents. The organization worked with Cloudticity to digitally transform and migrate to the AWS Cloud. Today, MiHIN is an innovator in the healthcare interoperability technology space.

Challenge

Crucial to MiHIN’s ability to drive its mission forward is its technology footprint and ability to scale. In order to meet current and growing data needs, MiHIN needed to move from their existing co-located data center to one with unlimited potential.

Solution

MiHIN worked with Cloudticity to fully migrate to the AWS Cloud within 90 days. The organization uses the Cloudticity Oxygen platform and works with Cloudticity as its managed service provider. Since its migration to AWS, MiHIN has worked with Cloudticity to build out a compliance platform and has gotten HITRUST-certified.

Benefit

MiHIN has worked with Cloudticity to generate cost savings and evolve its expertise of and experience with AWS. Today, the growing 150-person MiHIN team embraces a cloud-first mentality for all product and service development. The organization has created a new division called Advanced Cloud Services to harness its potential to drive innovation in the AWS cloud.

About Cloudticity

Cloudticity helps healthcare organizations design, build, migrate, manage, and optimize HIPAA-compliant solutions on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Cloudticity helps providers, payers, and companies that sell to the healthcare industry remain secure, compliant, and highly available to patients and the customers relying on them. Cloudticity is HITRUST-Certified.

Published November 2019