Sheryl Cherico, CEO of Tier3MD provided an interview on Medical IT Support to CEOCFO Magazine.

Below are a few excerpts from that interview.

CEOCFO: Ms. Cherico, what is the idea behind Tier3MD?

Ms. Cherico: Tier3 provides IT support for medical practices. It is beneficial to practices that have an in-house staff and need supplemental support, and some that may not be large enough to employ a full-time IT staff.

CEOCFO: What do you understand on a fundamental level about working with medical practices that maybe others do not realize quite as well?

Ms. Cherico: What comes to mind first is the difference in the medical practice as opposed to a lawyer’s office. Understanding the medical industry as a whole is a very important part of supporting a medical practice. Medical practices are completely different. They use an EMR, diagnostic equipment, and medical devices that interface with their medical software. They are providing patient care at a very high level, and the importance of all the devices working and working properly is critical to quality patient care.

CEOCFO: How do you engage with your clients?

Ms. Cherico: We meet with the practice manager as often as possible, and they use our knowledge as a way of improving technology in their office. . They like to talk to someone who understands medical. I can walk into someone’s office and know everything they have in there – what they use, how they use it, and what they can do better. There is a comfort level because we are so knowledgeable about the medical industry.

CEOCFO: Do you come in on an as-needed basis?

Ms. Cherico: The easiest for us to do is a recurring monthly service contract. What this does is allows us to be proactive without nickel and diming the customer. We monitor the systems 24/7, so if we see something we do not have to wait for approval, charge an hourly rate or do a quote, we just go out there and take care of it. Being proactive is extremely important, and I find that in the break/fix model proactive maintenance completely lacks.

CEOCFO: Do most medical practices realize they should have that level?

Ms. Cherico: I see the change over the years. At first, they really did not know why they needed IT because they had the practice manager’s son come in after work and move computers around. I think with the emergence of the electronic health records and incentives given to adopt electronic health records, it has brought an awareness to the IT support. Doctors have gone from low tolerance to no tolerance on down time. They can be seeing a patient, and if their systems are down, that is trouble. They are starting to realize now, and I have seen the change over the years of the importance of a stable network.

CEOCFO: Do you find that even if there is an IT person on premise that medical practices are starting to see the need to have an outside service as well?

Ms. Cherico: Absolutely, and there are a couple reasons for that. One is the single IT person kind of works in a vacuum. They do not know everything, and they cannot do everything. They are becoming aware of this. If the IT person leaves,

CEOCFO: Do you need to go on premise often because of the equipment or are you able to handle most of that remotely?

Ms. Cherico: Most of it is done remotely, but we still like to go on site. We will take a day to go on site and just spend it with that client and ask what they need. We take a little list of tickets and we go out there and handle them personally. I do not want to lose that personal touch.

CEOCFO: Do you find that the office staff that you are dealing with tends to tell you what is going on?

Ms. Cherico: When I go into an office, I cannot tell you how many times I have seen the taskbar on the bottom on the side or up at the top or somewhere else on their monitor. I will ask if they put it there, and they will say no and they did not know what happened. I go ahead and drag it and show them what to do if it happens again. Sometimes I will walk through an office and see someone doing something, and then I will give them a suggestion. This is the part of the job myself and all my staff like best!


CEOCFO: What is your geographic range today?

Ms. Cherico: It is national.


CEOCFO: How do you find your people? What are the intangibles over and above the technical skills?

Ms. Cherico: A lot of times, I will get people who already work in a medical office who will call me and want to work with us. If it is not a client, I can hire them. If it is a client, I would not take their IT staff. Every time I hire, I try to find someone who has one skill that no one on our team has. We are extremely diverse, and that is what I need. I cannot have everybody who knows the same thing.


CEOCFO: What surprised you as the business has grown and developed?

Ms. Cherico: That I have to run a business. I am a network engineer. I started off being a network engineer, and I did not start off having employees, accountants, lawyers and buildings. I do not have an MBA. I have Microsoft certification, health care certification and security certification. I am like my doctors in a sense. My doctors go out and practice medicine to become a business owner, and I go through some of the same aches and pains they go through.


CEOCFO: Tell us about the move to mobile and how you are helping your clients with that.

Ms. Cherico: We have a product for mobile device management where we connect it and put it on your devices. That allows us to wipe it away if you lose it and encrypt it if it is not an encrypted. I cannot stress enough to my clients to get some kind of mobile device management. I went to an industry conference a few years black, and the HHS director was the speaker. The first thing they said was each person has five devices that the IT department needs to secure. I myself have six. They have their desktop PC, they laptop PC, an iPad, probably an iPhone, and then they may have some kind of Mac computer.

CEOCFO: Why is giving back important for your company?

Ms. Cherico: Because I am nothing without my employees. I am nothing without the team that surrounds me. They are the most important part of this company, I am not. I could go away today and this company could run without me. In terms of charities, I am a breast cancer survivor, and the incoming President for the Georgia Breast Cancer Coalition. I do the Susan Komen walk because it is an experience, but I am also very involved in animal rescue. I am on the board of directors for Lifeline Animal Project. It is a $7 million 501C3, and we manage the largest animal shelters in Georgia. We have dropped the euthanasia rate by 60 percent at least, if not more. Animals and breast cancer are my passions.


CEOCFO: What is next for Tier3? What might be different a year from now?

Ms. Cherico: A year from now, I want to more physical offices nationally. I have hired a new president of development of business strategies who has been with me since March, and he is working on that national program. Since he has been with us, he has opened up Oklahoma, and we are working very closely to try and expand into other cities. I am looking to acquire small IT companies. I think that is the best way, instead of starting from scratch.


CEOCFO: Put it all together for our readers. Why choose Tier3MD?

Ms. Cherico: Because I think we are the gold standard in medical grade IT support. We are one of the few who actually focuses on the medical industry as a whole.

For the full interview, visit CEOCFO