At HIMSS10, Dr. Fishman speaks to Kenneth Rubin, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Iron Mountain’s Digital Healthcare Solutions. Approximately 15% of Iron Mountain’s business is in healthcare with a portfolio of healthcare services. Mr. Rubin reviews Iron Mountain’s healthcare portfolio, which includes management of physical paper medical records, the transition into the digital paperless world, and finally, archiving and disaster recovery of digitized health information. Mr. Rubin talks about the transition services Iron Mountain can offer, in addition to the cloud computing services the company featured at HIMSS10.
Dr. Eric Fishman: This is Dr. Eric Fishman for EHRtv and we're speaking with Ken Rubin, leader of Iron Mountain's Digital Health Care business. Ken, I thank you very much for spending some time with us.
Ken Rubin: My pleasure, Eric.
Dr. Eric Fishman: Most physicians know Iron Mountain is a company that stores physical paper. I understand you still do that but I think Iron Mountain does, much, much than that. If you'd just give us a brief overview of the health care related activities of Iron Mountain, I think the viewers would like that.
Ken Rubin: Sure. It is true that our core business and our legacy experience has been in managing paper medical records in addition to all sorts of information but about 15 percent of our business is around health care. We're a large business about $3.5 billion so it's a substantial business.
Dr. Eric Fishman: So it's half a billion dollars in health care almost.
Ken Rubin: In the last 10 years, we've really diversified and created an entire portfolio of health care services. Our mission is to help organizations transition from the paper world, the physical world to the digital world. We have a whole host of services still in the physical business in terms of managing paper records but we also have services around the transition assistance - how they can convert in a cost effective way and then finally, on the digital side, we have all sorts of archiving and disaster recovery services around storing and protecting the digital version of those records.
Dr. Eric Fishman: Let's concentrate for a few moments on the conversion process which I think you're correct is probably the most important part of this process because it's the part that physicians are most scared about. They know how to take their physical records and get them off site and store it. They don't know how to take their physical records and turn them into data in their newly adopted EHR.
Ken Rubin: Our experience is that one of the things I think is misunderstood is that if you buy hardware and software all of a sudden you have an EMR system and you're off and running. The reality is that if you want to get adoption that there is some clear thinking that you need to make and processes in place to ensure that you're populating your system, you're dealing with your legacy paper information, you're converting the right amount of information and you have a system that is useful to you. What we advise organizations do is first of all they round up all their paper information and make some decisions about how much they really need to put into this. We have scanning services that help selectively scan at the right level, information put into the EMR system. Then you have decisions to make about what do you do with the paper and do you do with the real estate that that paper is occupying. We have services around shredding some of the data if it's now obsolete because the electronic form exists or they may want to postpone that for a while. Lastly, we can still deal with the paper information. A lot of real estate that your viewers likely have is expensive and you'd much rather treat patients and generate care and revenue than store old paper that nobody's every going to use.
Dr. Eric Fishman: That's certainly for sure.
Ken Rubin: So from our perspective, we can deal with the paper side as well as the scanning, the shredding and the new digital information.
Dr. Eric Fishman: Very good. Can you give us any guidelines as to how large a practice should be to determine whether they should be scanning their own charts in-house or if they should get a service bureau and still using your services to store them. Should a small office be thinking about getting a scanner and doing it themselves and a large office consider having you do the scanning itself or is that not a good --?
Ken Rubin: I don't think there are any hard and fast guidelines. Most organizations don't want to tie up staff and equipment on scanning especially in the beginning. I guess one clear rule of thumb is you have a mother lode of data in the beginning that you need to load in the system and somewhat time is of the essence and you want to snap a line and get your new system in place. If you prolong the pain of doing that and you sort of stretch it along for weeks and months, it really will create this no-man's land where some of your people are using the paper records and some are using electronic records and there's a lot of work around. So we think there is some value to having some speed in using a service. Probably not a horrible idea to have a scanner around for ad hoc scanning but it's really not an expensive service going forward and the volume isn't that high because most of your information is being created electronically.
Dr. Eric Fishman: What are you specifically showing here at HIMSS10 today?
Ken Rubin: Well, we're featuring two services. One is our cloud storage for fixed content. Whether it be medical images or EMR data, one of the things that your viewers are going to realize is that when you commit to an EMR system or a radiology system, you have a data growth issue like you've never seen before. The volume's going to grow and you're going to have to store that data and you're going to have to protect it from a disaster and you're going to have to archive that data.
Dr. Eric Fishman: That's particularly true for cardiologists for instance or people who are using images.
Ken Rubin: Absolutely. Cardiology studies average over 200 Megs a study. Most of your viewers aren't IT sophisticated, don't have IT resources around and don't want to buy hardware and manage back up and create an IT function. So we have a cloud based storage where we integrate with the application and seamlessly data is moved offsite as it's being created, being protected, being archived in a low-cost environment on a pay-as-you-go basis and it can be retrieved right through the application. So it's sort of seamless to anybody that we even exist.
Dr. Eric Fishman: You said two services?
Ken Rubin: Yes, the second service is around our transition assistance for the EHR.
Dr. Eric Fishman: That's critical.
Ken Rubin: That's what we've been talking about in this session here and it's the combination of services that really make up transition - scanning, shredding, physical and the methodology that we use to help make sure that you're actually saving money in the process and helping you actually pay for your new electronic system.
Dr. Eric Fishman: Great. Ken, I thank you very much.
Ken Rubin: Thank you.
Dr. Eric Fishman: I appreciate it. This is Dr. Eric Fishman and we've been speaking with Ken Rubin leader of Iron Mountain's digital care business at HIMSS10. Thank you.