You know what it’s like to be a part of a Healthcare IT operations team—between the seemingly endless support tickets, resource constraints and demand to continually improve the quality of IT services, it’s a lot of pressure. Especially when budgets either stay the same or get slashed.
These are challenges facing most Healthcare IT CIOs. Once such CIO who faced these challenges is Val King, CIO of Val Verde Regional Medical Center (VVRMC).
When Val took over as CIO of VVRMC, his vision and mission became clear: improve patient care by ensuring that physicians and healthcare workers have the ability to seamlessly access vital applications, specifically McKesson Paragon—all while reducing costs.
It’s no small feat, but Val has a plan, which is a proactive approach to managing his organization with IT Operations Tools and technology that are built for proactive-minded IT teams. For Val, this means identifying IT operations challenges and getting ahead of them before they become serious problems.
The Big Challenge: Reduce IT Support Costs & Improve Quality of Services Delivered
At the top of Val’s list of challenges was the ongoing cost of IT support and the quality of the IT services his team delivered to doctors and healthcare workers. He knew that in transitioning to digital systems there would be a constant increase in the number of projects, but the IT staff would remain capped.
Val knew that to achieve his goal he would need to decrease the frequency of performance issues by being proactive in his approach to IT operations and thereby reducing the number of support tickets and the cost to service those support tickets. This would improve the experience of physicians, healthcare workers, and ultimately patients.
In implementing his plan to reduce costs, Val found significant obstacles in four key areas:
- The existing legacy IT infrastructure was not sufficient to support the delivery of McKesson applications to every user.
- A lack of any cohesive monitoring strategy that focused on improving end user experience.
- The need for a proactive technology that could act as an early warning system for the McKesson application that would let the team know there were issues, so they could fix them before end users were impacted.
- Finding a Citrix and McKesson performance monitoring solution that was budget-friendly and didn’t require a lot of initial customization and ongoing support from a staff member or specialized consultants.
Steps to Success
The first step was to ensure that VVRMC had a solid IT infrastructure base that could support the number of end users who needed uninterrupted access to their applications. Val worked to gain the support of the hospital CEO and Board to upgrade the IT delivery infrastructure, including the network, and implementing Citrix to deliver McKesson applications to physicians and healthcare workers.
The second step was to establish a proactive monitoring strategy that focused on the end user experience with McKesson, while also incorporating information from Citrix, VMware, and the supporting infrastructure. This would provide his team with visibility into all the elements, allowing the team to quickly isolate root cause and undertake real resolution actions.
This step proved especially difficult for Val and his team. Most products on the market are expensive, difficult to implement, and are architected for a different time when server and desktop virtualization didn’t exist. Most importantly, these products lack the ability to correlate Citrix end user experience, McKesson application performance data, and supporting infrastructure performance metrics, including VMware.
Eventually, Val found Goliath Technologies, which is purpose-built for proactive monitoring, analysis, reporting, and remediation and offers an application module for McKesson. Goliath’s software was able to bring together Citrix, Virtual Servers, such as VMware, End User Experience, McKesson, and existing legacy infrastructure into a single view—all at a price point that was lower than any alternative solution.
By upgrading the infrastructure and implementing Goliath’s Proactive Performance Monitoring software, Val was able to both lower support ticket costs and improve access to applications.
Leveraging Goliath’s alerting functionality, support ticket volume dropped by 20%. Goliath’s software made this reduction in support tickets possible by proactively identifying problems and triggering alerts before end users were impacted.
The escalation costs of support tickets also dropped significantly. Level 1 support tickets normally cost $22 at VVRMC, but with Goliath’s automated fix actions, the software can fix the problem without having to get a person involved. This led to the cost of a Level 1 ticket dropping to only 50 cents, which is a 98% cost reduction.
Of course, these reductions, while positive, are ultimately second to the actual experience of the physicians and healthcare workers that rely on Val and his team. After implementing his Proactive approach to IT Operations and deploying Goliath’s software, an internal survey found that the team’s Quality of Service Rating among end users improved by 17%, leading to an overall approval rating of 93%.
Even with all these positive outcomes, Val admits that there is still work to be done. However, he and his team know they are on the right track and are confident that when a physician or healthcare worker is meeting with a patient that they will be able to access the applications they need to deliver the best patient care possible.
If you would like to learn more about Val’s proactive approach to managing IT Operations, view a recording of his CIO Insight Webinar.