Artistic Background

Regional Healthcare Provider Uses AutoMateTM Software for Complex Data Processing & Transmission

Health First, Inc. Health First, Inc.
Jose Lanza, Supervisor, IT Support and Operations


Health First is a regional healthcare provider network with facilities including three major hospitals and an array of outpatient centers in Brevard County, Florida. It employs over 5,500 employees and has over 2,000 partner providers. As a testament to the quality of care it provides, Health First was recently ranked as a Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Network (IHN), for the second year in a row by the Verispan IHN Rating System, the nation's premier rating system for healthcare networks.

The Challenge

In order to deliver quality patient care, Health First must exchange information with a large number of partners, customers, and vendors on a timely basis. Complicating this enormous task is the fact that Health First has over 15 business units using a variety of mission-critical applications. Additionally, since much of the data transferred contains sensitive patient information, security is paramount.

The Solution

Jose Lanza is in charge of the Help Desk and Data Center at Health First. Confronted with the problems of data access, distribution, and security, he turned to AutoMate five years ago for a solution. He characterizes what AutoMate does for his organization as a "God send". To date, he has 70 tasks in production and another 10 in development and testing along with a task documentation database that complements the system quite well.

Jose's biggest challenge was automating the two mainframe systems that drive the organizations billing processes. To work effectively, data needs to be sourced from a myriad of systems (including Unix, Windows, and across the network) in a multitude of different file formats. AutoMate fits the bill in this application as it downloads data files, performs extensive error-checking to ensure data quality, decrypts the PGP-encrypted files, and finally transforms the data so the mainframes can digest it.

For data distribution from Health First to its various partners, AutoMate also plays a critical role. Because security is so important, all data transmission is funneled through Jose's department. In essence, his department is a data broker which receives data from internal sources, encrypts it via PGP, and transfers the data to its destination via FTP, network copies, or database updates. Ad hoc data transfers are handled in this manner, as well as over 300 reports that must be created and delivered to multiple departments on a daily basis.

Automate has also enabled Health First to easily transfer data between internal applications. Through the use of file transfers, extensive data validation, and reformatting of data, Health First has been able to provide continuity of data between applications without the need for additional applications or modification of the current infrastructure.

The Benefits

Health First has eliminated reams of paperwork that used to be part of every business day. In the past, the exchange of data with its business partners necessitated tedious manual processes to process paperwork and data.

AutoMate has reduced costs, increased business responsiveness, and cut down on errors that were often introduced into the system with manual processing. An example involves the delivery of critical reports to various hospitals, clinics, and partners. In the past, Health First employed couriers to deliver these reports. Now this activity, which could take up to three business days, has been eliminated with the help of AutoMate.

When asked how much money AutoMate has saved for Health First, Jose Lanza just shakes his head. "I have no idea, but it is a lot", he says, "More importantly we have been able to raise the bar on the level of service provided to our Health First customers.". But that's just the beginning. Jose goes on to say "AutoMate enables us to achieve a level of accuracy and a level of execution that we simply never had before."