Pennsylvania Dermatology Partners, Inc.

Pennsylvania Dermatology Partners Inc. i a merger of 14 dermatology clinics in Alabama/USA

  • Replacement of Windows Active Directory
  • Mail solution for secure exchange of confidential patient information
  • Collaborative working of files via filesync solution
  • Easy administration and maintenance by non-IT professionals
  • UCS as master and backup server in the headquarters and UCS slave server in the branches
  • Integrated IDM with Univention Management System
  • Integration of OX Documents and OX Guard
  • Connection of Nextcloud with integrated Collabora

Pennsylvania Dermatology Partners, Inc. is located in the east of the USA, an association of 14 dermatology clinics with independent locations and a central headquarter with a total of 65 employees. In cooperation with Univention, the outdated Windows Active Directory environment was converted to UCS. As additional services, Open-Xchange including OX Documents and OX Guard for secure communication between medical staff and patients were initiated. The private cloud solution Nextloud with integrated Collabora was chosen for the collaborative processing of documents within the administration.

Challenge – Outdated Windows Environment and Heterogeneous Structure

The Windows Active Directory environment and the mail software used so far were no longer up to date and the very heterogeneous structure of the IT environment was to be given central management. It should also be possible to grant each office different access to the applications. In the past, the cumbersome administrable mixed server environment had always caused problems and high efforts. In their search for solutions, the management came across Univention Corporate Server and were convinced, among other things, by its user-friendly web interface and the uncomplicated administration of the integrated mail software. In addition, it was equally important to the management and IT department, that they would help to shape the new digital structure right from the beginning.

New System Environment for Centralized Management

To ensure all this, Pennsylvania Dermatology Partners, Inc. decided to completely abandon Windows Active Directory and to rely on Univention Corporate Server and an integrated environment. In addition to the intuitive administration interface, the simple integration of groupware solutions was of particular interest – a possibility that was previously missing and unnecessarily complicated the communication of the 65 employees. A UCS Master and a UCS Backup in the Headquater as well as a UCS Backup Offside in the data center were to be used for this purpose. One UCS slave server was to be used at each location.

Secure Communication and Collaboration Thanks to OX, Nextcloud and Collabora

The request for an implemented groupware led to the issue of data control, which is of particular relevance in the medical sector. The decision was finally made in favor of the Open-Xchange solution represented in the Univention App Center in combination with OX Documents and OX Guard. This enables the use of cloud-based office applications, such as spreadsheets, without the need to install native programs in the individual branches. Employees could securely access relevant patient data from any device and from any location without having to load the data onto their own devices. The OX Guard encryption solution is primarily used by medical staff to securely exchange confidential documents with patients.

As further tools for collaborative work, especially between the administrative staff of Pennsylvania Dermatology Partners, it was decided to introduce the private cloud solution Nextcloud in combination with the online office tool Collabora, which enables simultaneous editing of documents online.
The big advantage of the integrated solution is that the OX appliances as well as Nextcloud and Collabora can be managed centrally via the Univention Management System and can be accessed by individual employees.

It was very convincing that the Univention team had precisely captured the needs we had and advised us so competently that we were able to implement the project over long distances independently by ourself. We were surprised at how easy it was to migrate from Windows, converted all 14 offices to a pure Linux topography, and were able to integrate further applications from the Univention App Center into our environment without any complications. – Andrew C. Frankel, Head of the IT department

Independent Implementation, Supporting Expertise

As intended from the very beginning, the local administrative staff carried out a large part of the “relocation” of the IT infrastructure themselves and already learned how to use the new software. However, Univention’s Professional Service team was able to provide practical support in some instances. For example, the Univention North America staff helped when problems arose during the installation of Open-Xchange on one of the satellite servers and acted as intermediaries and central contact persons to ensure smooth communication with the manufacturers of the other apps from the Univention App Center. The close cooperation between Pennsylvania Dermatology Partners, Inc. and Univention quickly made the comprehensive renewal of the entire server structure a reality.

Planned Projects – Online Tool for Continuing Professional Development

Further innovations are already planned for the future, such as the implementation of Wiselab, an online tool for continuing vocational education and training, in the management of UCS.

Summary

Andrew C. Frankel, head of the IT department: “At the beginning of our research we were particularly struck by the web interface of UCS, which we were able to examine extensively thanks to the online demo. It was then very convincing that the Univention team had precisely captured the needs we had formulated from the start and then advised us so competently that we were able to implement the project over long distances independently. We were surprised at how easy it was to migrate from Windows, converted all 14 offices to a pure Linux topography and were able to integrate further applications from the Univention App Center into our environment without any complications. For us, this was a truly transformative process, in which Univention was very attentive to the few problems that arose. We are completely satisfied with the service and find it great that Univention has much more in mind than just its own product and has made communication with its partner network so easy for us”.