Hospital boosts help desk

By Bernie Monegain
12:00 AM

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital has boosted customer service by upgrading its help desk technology. Today clinicians spend a lot less time trying to explain their technology problems to the help desk and a lot more time caring for children.

Both the clinical and IT teams see the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, a 423-bed facility, as a leader in delivering care to children, said Karen Maas, director of information services customer services at Cincinnati Children’s. To continue and hone its leadership role, the IT team knew it needed to streamline how every department in the hospital received help with computer and application problems.

The hospital wanted to avoid what Maas refers to as “the unnecessary scrambling going on.” Today, a couple of years after the planning began, the hospital is reaping the benefits of a timely and effective IT service department.

Cincinnati Children’s had been using a dated version of iET Help Desk, The IT team decided to upgrade that technology to accommodate the many business processes that had evolved over the years since it first launched its help desk. Before any technology upgrade could occur came the tedious, but critical work of examining and realigning business processes, said Maas.

“It’s always about people, processes and tools, said Maas. “We did a lot of customizing of tools.

Cincinnati Children’s had numerous points of support, said R.J. Granspre, vice president, North American sales and marketing for Framingham, Mass.-based iET Solutions. “They needed 24-by-7 support and better notification procedures. They wanted to bring together disparate processes.”

IET works with financial institutions, technology and media companies, retail and telecommunications. Among its customers are Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo and IT Flux.

“Customers greatly value solutions that are flexible and easily customizable and can easily be integrated into existing IT infrastructures,” said Michael Scheib, president and CEO of iET Solutions.

Though healthcare presents a unique set of challenges, Granspre knew iET would be a good fit for Cincinnati Children’s, he said.

Both iET and Cincinnati were committed to best practices, he said.

With iET’s help, the hospital created an automated paging system, safety nets for medical devices, and it connected its clinical engineering department with its information services department.

The service desk is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are about 80 frontline people, with a total staff of about 200.

Centralizing service has been critical to better IT service throughout the organization, Maas said, and, in turn, better patient care. The idea is to avoid having a clinician spend time tracking down IT help and to keep to a minimum the time spent explaining the problem on the phone.

The time from problem to resolution has improved by 70 percent, according to Maas. The service desk hang-up rate that used to be 11.3 percent is now 3.77 percent.

As Cincinnati Children’s enters Phase 2 of its projects, the IT team will focus even more sharply on metrics to raise service levels and tighten response time, Maas said.

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