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HMH scales remote collaboration securely with Google

Achieving security at every step 

Like so many other healthcare organizations, we’ve been concerned about ransomware assaults. This is part of why we moved to Google Workspace and distributed over 3,000 Chrome OS devices in kiosk mode in March of 2020, when many of us went remote due to the pandemic. We were very concerned about team members accessing corporate applications through home devices that were operating EOL operating systems (WIN7), as well as a general lack of antivirus and encryption measures.

We were protected by the fact that Google’s software and hardware both had constructed-in security features that we desired to stave off sophisticated attackers. For example, Chrome OS routinely updates to the latest security update and encrypts data dwelling outdoors the cloud on the hardware. These features protected us from security-related disruptions, letting us securely move a huge library of file shares and emails across thousands of accounts to Google Chrome OS in just 4 months.

A year later, in March 2021, we migrated the enterprise over to Google Workspace and saw an immediate reduction in spam by 30% from the inherent constructed-in AI/ML. This meant staff were less likely to receive (and click through) phishing attempts. My team could connect, create, and collaborate easily and securely—even as more of us were working from home and desired to entry sensitive data remotely. 

Leveling the playing field

As an organization, we were surprised by how many team members didn’t have personal computers at home. We quickly decided that if we desired team members to work from home, the health community would have to supply hardware. Chromebooks’ lower price tag compared to PCs—on top of their constructed-in security controls—allowed us to purchase, deploy, and support that initial distribution of 3,000 Chromebooks to team members in less than 3 weeks, providing devices to every eligible remote employee instead of just a select few. This was vital to reaching our equitable technology goal as part of our variety and inclusion initiative: everybody has the same tools to do fine work.

When all representatives have what they need to do their jobs well, we get better patient outcomes. Before we began this cloud adoption journey, patient and staff experiences were different inside the hospitals and outdoors of them. 

Now it’s the same wherever our staff is, and we’ve seen efficiency and accessibility benefits extend to the patient side. For example, we constructed a web-based contact center that helps 80 locations that use Workspace and Chrome OS devices. Since customer service, admin, and providers are all on the same system, it has become a 1-stop store for sufferers.

Furthermore, through the Grow with Google program, we were able to provide another advantage to representatives that drove our equity goals. Google skilled 50 non-IT staff members—from environmental services, food and vitamin, and other non-tech areas who were interested in making a career change to IT—on the Google products we were using. They may not have thought about switching to a career in IT before the Grow with Google program came to our organization, but through this partnership, they now have that opportunity.

A strategic, lengthy-term partner

With any large-scale rollout, the work doesn’t end once laptops are in employee palms. Google has proven their dedication to lengthy-term collaboration as they continuously optimize their products for the unique needs of healthcare providers and go the extra mile in tailoring tools to our staff’s workflows. 

For example, on the Chrome OS side, the Google team has helped our registration desks and document facilities with device integration for hardware like credit card readers and e-signature pads. They’ve also helped us meet security and privacy requirements mandated by state and federal governments around HIPAA, Medicaid, and Medicare reimbursements. Over this next year, we’ll gaze at a feature roadmap with Google Cloud to deliver further enhancements, iterating on the product itself to meet our needs for the present and the prospective.

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