Embracing innovation on the quest toward excellent customer service

Experts warn of the dangers of implementing new software with old processes, merely seeking 'shiny things' and balancing ubiquitous buy-in with appropriate permissions.
03:41 PM
Bill Hudson

Bill Hudson, Associate CIO, VP of IT Operations, John Muir Health

Drawing upon their experiences to offer insights into what it takes to succeed with a technology platform today — and what innovations might bring success in the future — Kevin Byrd, Senior Vice President, Business Planning at Baylor Scott & White Healthcare; Clark Kegley, Assistant Vice President, Information Services at Scripps Health; and Bill Hudson, Associate CIO, VP of IT Operations at John Muir Health, spoke during the panel discussion titled Innovation in Healthcare with ServiceNow, Yesterday, Today and Beyond, which took place at the ServiceNow Knowledge 19 conference in Las Vegas. The panel was moderated by Drew Koerner, ServiceNow Healthcare’s Chief Strategist; the discussion’s highlights are summarized below.

Koerner: If you had to give advice to an organization that is just starting with the ServiceNow platform today, what words of wisdom would you offer?

Byrd: It’s easy to have ‘shiny thing syndrome’ and want all the cool stuff. But if you don’t do the basics well, you’re not going to have a positive impact on your organization. So, to start, look at the small challenges that your organization wrestles with — things such as the human resources onboarding process or how long it takes to get a computer in the hands of customers. Start with those things and focus on the basics.

We have also found that it is important to keep things simple. My team handles all the project and enhancement requests for our entire organization. We get about 150 a month. That’s a large volume. And so, we tried to use a request form that asked our customers all kinds of questions. But we found that it is much better to use a simple form with just four questions: ‘What’s your name? What’s your problem? What’s your expected outcome? And do you have any ideas for a solution?’ It’s counterintuitive, but we’ve gotten so much better data and much more well-thought-out descriptions of what the problem is by not asking for too much information.

Kegley: You need to have buy-in up and down your organization — especially from your leadership. It’s not an option to use the platform; everybody must buy into it, use it, and commit to it. It is also important to clearly understand roles, responsibilities, and access. Make sure you think through these issues before implementing the platform. Don’t just give everybody the ability to do everything. We have 1,000 people in information systems. Every single person in IS had the permission to open a project. We had 1,200 active projects. Nobody knew where they came from, and most of them didn’t have resource plans. It was done under the guise of agility and responsiveness, but there were unintended consequences. It was over  agile, overresponsive. So, it took a year for us to fix that and clean that up. We started by restricting access and implementing a process around portfolio management. So, we now get projects scoped and scheduled; and then we hand them off to our project management office; and they handle execution of the projects.

"When implementing a new platform, you should take the opportunity to look at how you should be doing things to meet future needs."

Bill Hudson, Associate CIO, VP of IT Operations, John Muir Health

Hudson: I’m a firm believer that if you implement new software with old processes, all you get is new software that doesn’t work. Times change, and there are things we’re doing today that we weren’t doing five years ago. So, when implementing a new platform, you should take the opportunity to look at how you should be doing things to meet future needs.

Koerner: How can organizations benefit from innovation now and in the future?

Kegley: Your typical private practice entity is not going to have the same buying power as a health system. So, they are not going to have the capability to buy a PC or a printer at the same price point that a system can.

So, we offer that to our customers. We have customers coming into our service platform

for standard services. We treat it as an account manager relationship. It’s a one-stop shop, so anything that they need in terms of hardware and other software, we can provide that to them. We are also looking to give people the same type of technology experiences inside the hospital as they have outside of the hospital. So, our long-term vision is that when people come into the hospital, we will issue an iPad for them to use. We will also issue an iPad for the family members. With this technology, they can navigate every aspect of what they’re doing within the hospital or clinic.

Byrd: The two areas that we’re focusing on primarily are operational excellence through automation and customer service. We started with HR, trying to automate some of the onboarding processes and background checks. We’re now moving toward automating some processes within IT. And, we are trying to make our organization more customer-focused. Healthcare is increasingly focusing on meeting the needs of patients.

So, we’re trying to address customer service with mobile tools and technology that we hope will change things in the future.

Hudson: Healthcare organizations are all pouring money into complex care. We are starting to think about the tools that need to come together to address the challenge. Technology can help address some of the challenges associated with complex care such as mobility and getting services for the patient at the right time and place. So, if you’re not involved, and you’re not part of that complex care conversation at your organization, it’s time for you to think about getting engaged in a very meaningful way.

About ServiceNow:

ServiceNow was started in 2004 with the belief that getting simple stuff done at work can be easy, and getting complex multi step tasks completed can be painless. From the beginning, ServiceNow envisioned a world where anyone can create powerful workflows to get enterprise work done. Today, ServiceNow, is the cloud based platform that simplifies the way we work. The ServiceNow cloud services automate, predict, digitize and optimize business processes and tasks, from IT to Customer Service to Security Operations and to Human Resources, creating a better experience for your employees, users and customers while transforming your enterprise. ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW) is how work gets done.

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