Andrew Dixon, Igloo's SVP of Marketing & Operations recently spoke with Alicia Stein, Associate Editor of Strategic Content at UBM Channel to discuss how Igloo is addressing issues in the health-care industry, including the consumerization of IT, collaboration, security and compliance, and the need for self-service.
Healthcare payer and provider organizations are grappling with the issue of managing and securing online communities and web-based social interactions. As those platforms grow in importance for patients, customers and employees, the need for technology solutions to manage them is growing. Igloo Software is addressing these issues as well as many others in the health-care industry, including the consumerization of IT, collaboration, security and compliance, and the need for self-service.
The company is also aware that many CIOs in health-care lack IT budgets and resources and are looking for ways to address easy file-sharing among doctors, nurses and insurance companies. We had the opportunity to speak with Andrew Dixon, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Igloo Software, to shed light on the company's healthcare solutions.
HCITS: What is Igloo's message to healthcare CIOs?
Dixon: For less than it costs to create a business account with Box [Box.com file-sharing], and for a fraction of the total cost of ownership of SharePoint, health-care CIOs can build an intranet that their employees will actually like-and will make sure it not only meets, but also exceeds, the most stringent requirements for security and compliance.
HCITS: I know that Igloo is looking to really embrace the healthcare industry; please share its plans and offerings for this space in particular.
Dixon: I think it's important to note that online communities are not new to health care. From early discussion boards on WebMD to the more targeted PatientsLikeMe, we have been sharing health stories and offering each other advice and support via the web for more than a decade. But, beyond patient care, the medical community has struggled somewhat to find ways to take advantage of technology to collaborate together. Igloo helps to fill this gap in two specific areas: research communities and practitioner communities.
HCITS: What new products or services has Igloo recently launched?
Dixon: We're constantly updating and improving, every 90 days in fact, so there's no three-year waiting times here just for a product to hit beta. Pearl is the code-name for our latest product release, and it brings over 20 new features to the table. From a file-sharing perspective, we made it a whole lot easier by switching to an HTML5, drag-and-drop interface and boosting the file limitation to up to 2 Gbytes. We're also pushing the envelope by introducing social analytics that provide reporting on user and group activity, content contributions, member engagement and influence.
HCITS: How does Igloo compare to its competitors in the healthcare space?
Dixon: We are constantly compared to SharePoint. And it makes sense, as according to Gartner, upward of 90 percent of organizations have implemented SharePoint within their organizations in some way or another. But when you dig deeper, the majority of customers are using it mostly as a glorified file-share. They've not been able to realize its full potential because it requires too much in the way of time and resources. Igloo is a SaaS solution, so there is nothing to install or maintain, and you don't have to deal with updates, patches or the maintenance of servers. Plus, it's intuitive and user-friendly, so even the most nontechnical user can manage it-no dedicated IT administrator is necessary.
HCITS: What challenges have IT executives in health care shared with Igloo?
Dixon: The biggest challenge we hear about is with limited resources-how can they keep up with the ever-changing technology needs of the organization. The traditional legacy applications like SharePoint and others take time to deploy, maintain and to configure. IT is essential for each of these tasks. And often by the time IT has a chance to address one problem, a different one has emerged.
HCITS: How does Igloo make IT executives' lives simpler to cope with those challenges?
Dixon: Igloo has a great story to tell here. As a cloud-based solution, the deployment, maintenance, patching and updates are all taken care of by us. Plus, Igloo was designed to be configurable by the end user-giving them the ability to adapt the tools quickly for any new project or priority. Think self-serve. Both of these things free up IT to focus on more strategic work while, at the same time, giving the business the agility it needs to react to new opportunities.
HCITS: What is the biggest trend you are seeing in the healthcare industry?
Dixon: What we are seeing a lot is the consumerization of IT. Users are bringing some of the technologies they use in their personal lives into the workplace. A good example of this is a consumer file-sharing tool such as Dropbox.
HCITS: So how is Igloo addressing that issue?
Dixon: Well, sometimes these consumer technologies in the workplace introduce big headaches. Consumer file-sharing tools fall into this category-they are very useful for end users, but can jeopardize the security of an entire network. Igloo is the solution with enterprise-level security. Secure file-sharing is just one of the many things that Igloo does. It has the ease of use that end users demand, while satisfying the security requirements of IT.
HCITS: Please share a customer example of Igloo's success in the healthcare space.
Dixon: The American Academy of Family Physicians, one of the largest medical organizations representing more than 100,000 family physicians and medical students nationwide. The organization relied on email as their primary way to share files and collaborate with colleagues. As a result, there was minimal sharing of information between physicians, leaving family care practices to operate on their own. To solve this problem, the AAFP is using Igloo for an online community, enabling peer networking, information sharing and practice transformation.
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