By Sarah Mansheim
“It’s a lot like Raiders of the Lost Ark,” says EvriChart’s Gary Osborne as he steps into the health information management company’s storage area. He’s right – the 50,000 square feet facility is reminiscent of the classic movie’s Hangar 51, with row upon row of shelving, but EvriChart isn’t storing ancient artifacts, it’s storing medical records.
The White Sulphur Springs company, located on Mountain Avenue across from the elementary school, manages health information for small to medium-sized hospitals across the United States. In addition to physically storing medical records in warehouses in West Virginia, Virginia and Missouri, EvriChart also converts medical facility paper data into digital files, while also developing software to help them manage it.
Simply put, “we provide physical storage and develop software that allows hospitals to move data securely,” says Director of Marketing Sarah Elkins.
Elkins says EvriChart employs about 50 people from the Greenbrier Valley in their White Sulphur facility. The company just acquired SecureStore, another medical data warehousing facility in Springfield, MO, bringing 30 more employees and two more warehouses into the EvriChart fold.
A tour of the sprawling White Sulphur facility reveals a high tech, physically secure world where the employees are charged with not only storing and retrieving medical data, but also keeping it safe from would-be thieves. Almost every door is locked, and employees require a coded security card to gain entry to offices and the warehouse.
Chief Information Officer and co-owner Tony Maro says keeping data secure is necessary to be compliant with HIPAA laws, in addition to laws protecting consumers’ healthcare information, which can vary state to state. Because the company handles data from across the country, EvriChart must be compliant with every state’s laws. Also, Maro has developed software to keep patients’ data secure from online hackers, people who, he says, are after information such as addresses and social security numbers.
Maro says the company has shields in place to protect EvriChart from almost “daily attacks” from hackers – although he says that the company has not been the victim of a targeted online attack. To make sure their virtual walls are indeed impassable, EvriChart pays a security company to conduct a yearly penetration test to ensure the company’s security system is up to snuff. So far, he says, no one has been able to get through.
With only a small percentage of U.S. hospitals being completely electronic (EvriChart President Robert Lynch puts the number at a miniscule 3.4 percent), EvriChart has plenty of room to grow its business. Lynch says 61 percent of hospitals are transitioning from paper to paperless data storage, and having a place like EvriChart to store their paper records can help them make that transition smoother.
“Most people opt for a hybrid world,” says Lynch, where there is mixture of computer data and paper records in medical offices.
And what happens when they fill a Hangar 51-style warehouse with boxes or records? They buy a new one, jokes Osborne. Hence, he says, the acquisition of the company in Missouri. He says the warehouse in White Sulphur is the smallest one EvriChart owns, and he estimates that it is holding about 800,000 boxes.
Each box is given a bar code, and EvriChart employees can pull up any chart a hospital may need and have it delivered electronically back to the hospital within an hour. This means if a man has a heart attack in, say, Kansas, and his medical records are stored in one of EvriChart’s warehouses, EvriChart receives an email requesting the patient’s chart, locates the chart in a box using its bar code designation, scans the chart into a computer and then emails it back to the hospital over a secure network.
Elkins says that despite its far-reaching business, EvriChart is rooted in the community. The company’s chief operations officer, John King, is a White Sulphur native and uses his company’s presence in the Greenbrier Valley to provide financial support to the community. EvriChart regularly donates funds to WSS Elementary and also supports Greenbrier Valley Theatre, Carnegie Hall and the Greenbrier Humane Society. King’s brother, Pat King, is a co-owner along with Gayle Keith, a Roanoke, VA, resident, and Maro, a Louisiana native who moved to the area in 2002.
“EvriChart is hugely family friendly,” says Elkins, a mother of a grade schooler. “There is a lot of flexibility. We have a desire to find the best people in the area.” Right now, EvriChart is looking for a software engineer in the White Sulphur Springs office, adding another full-time job to the Spa City work force. So, says Elkins, even though the services EvriChart provides don’t necessarily touch the community, its hiring practices, friendly working environment and commitment to local causes certainly does.
EvriChart is located on Mountain Avenue in White Sulphur Springs.