AIX > Case Studies > Healthcare

Taking a Breather

There's little question that computing technology has vastly improved how people conduct their business, whether they're home users relying on banking software such as Quicken to balance their checkbooks or large enterprises with sweeping end-to-end IT infrastructures that help them track and proactively react to customer behavior.

But much of this technology has become so ubiquitous that users often take it for granted, simply using it without giving it a second thought. Of course, this should be the ultimate goal of a sound IT policy, with end users simply logging into systems and doing their business, never worrying about issues such as IP sockets, database management and server administration.

The importance of an ingrained technology mindset becomes especially apparent when a company--or an individual for that matter--realizes that its manual processes are hampering operations. Such was the case with the Madrid, Spain-based Medical Practice Group (MPG). Prior to adopting a technology infrastructure based on an IBM* eServer pSeries* server, it had been operating in a Windows*-based IT environment.

MPG's operational environment required many manual tasks that its IT infrastructure wasn't built to handle. Now, however, thanks not only to the pSeries server running the Linux* OS, but also the assistance of IBM business partner Koolsite Soluciones Informaticas (which helped MPG move to the pSeries server and developed many of MPG's new applications), those tasks have been largely automated, finally allowing MPG's staff of 12 to take a breather.

One by One

MPG, established in 1994 as part of the Ilustre Colegio Oficial de Medicos de Madrid, offers continuing education for medical students and other healthcare professionals. The contracted doctors MPG works with to offer training and education also provide assistance as medical consultants, emergency healthcare workers, English and Spanish medical-text translators, and scientific experts for a medical publication and a Spanish-language television station.

MPG currently has a relationship with, "124 doctors, although that depends on our needs," says Cristina Fernandez, MPG's systems administrator (and sole IT employee). Similarly, the number of MPG students varies, ranging from "courses with 10 students, with 50 students and with 100 students," Fernandez adds. (She says there are around two to three courses a week.) Of course, both educator and student information has to be kept current, with teachers invoicing for services rendered and students requesting certification information.

Jim Utsler, IBM Systems Magazine senior writer, has been covering the technology field for more than a decade. Jim can be reached at

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