With 625 beds, 900 staff physicians, more than 3,000 employees and 800 in-service volunteers, Huntington Memorial Hospital of Pasadena, CA, provides full-service, state-of-the-art medical care and community services to individuals throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
Renowned for programs in cancer care, neurosciences and heart and vascular services, Huntington Hospital is also an active teaching hospital with an affiliation with the U.S.C. Keck School of Medicine and Graduate Medical Education programs in internal medicine and general surgery. Huntington Hospital has the only Level II trauma center as well as the only neonatal intensive care unit in the region.
Responsibility for the well-being of the hospital’s extensive and varied IT environment belongs to Director of Information Services Henry Jenkins. To ensure that the clinical and administrative staff at the hospital have the IT services they need (when they need them) he has put his department on a progressive regimen of ITIL best practices.
Focus on Process
"There are three aspects to any IT department," Jenkins says, "people, process and technology." During his first two and half years with the hospital, Jenkins has overseen significant improvements to the technology as well as the development of skills his staff needs to support the IT environment. The IT department, however, was still relying on an underpowered and outdated IT Service Management (ITSM) tool. It was time to focus on process.
After reviewing several ITSM vendors, Jenkins and his team decided on a solution from ServiceNow. Jenkins had worked with Logicalis at other organizations before joining Huntington Hospital and knew that Logicalis was a certified partner of ServiceNow. He says Logicalis’ extensive experience with healthcare clients helped him persuade his senior management to contract with Logicalis to implement ServiceNow.
A Trojan Horse with ITIL Inside
Jenkins drew on a classic metaphor to help move his department toward a more robust ITSM strategy. He knew that implementing ITIL best practices would require significant changes within the IT department, and his research convinced him that ServiceNow would be an effective "Trojan horse" from which to launch an ITIL initiative.
"Once we start focusing more on service and prioritizing by clearly defined rules, people get into the habit that they will be measured and they are accountable," Jenkins says. "Then we can look at where the hot spots are and correct those issues from a service perspective. The amount of data flowing in healthcare is incredible," he adds. "That’s the reason why upgrading process maturity is so important."
First Point of Contact
Upgrading process maturity to a new level was the shared goal of Rod Linsalato, who, as manager, IT service desk is on the front lines of keeping IT services flowing without interruption throughout the hospital. It’s his department that gets called when an end user has a problem with technology. "We are the first point of contact for everything IT related," Linsalato says.
The initial implementation of ServiceNow by the Logicalis IT Service Management Practice involved development of a Service Catalog as well as Incident, Problem, Configuration and Request Management best practices leveraging ITIL v3 Lifecycle. Although the scope of the implementation was limited relative to the extensive capabilities of ServiceNow, the scope of the IT systems covered includes everything from desktops, laptops and thin clients on the end user side to server, storage, network devices and applications on the IT side.
To be effective, ServiceNow has to be basically implanted in the interface between IT and the community of users it serves. It can be a daunting process that requires a detailed requirements study as well as the articulation and standardization of virtually every aspect of the delivery of IT as a service. Logicalis worked closely with Linsalato over the course of three months to collect requirements and design, develop and deploy the ServiceNow solution.
A Nice Surprise
"The implementation was actually smoother than I anticipated," Linsalato says. "It was a nice surprise. Logicalis had pre-designed templates for everything so all we had to do was fill them out. They were on site for a week, and throughout the process, Logicalis Technical Consultant Mike Mesri was very helpful and responsive. If I had changes, he could often take care of them on the spot. If I had questions, he would send a detailed response."
Asked if there was a particular aspect of the ServiceNow solution that he likes best, without hesitation, Linsalato says, "The metrics. Now instead of having to export everything from an Excel spreadsheet, I can pull a report anytime I want. What used to take me five hours now takes 30 minutes. I can also see which tickets are not being resolved; and if we see a lot of calls against a specific device, we can replace it. ServiceNow gives us a view into the IT that is the foundation of the whole hospital and has made it a lot easier to deal with all the problems that our users have."
IT Becomes a Brand
Jenkins recognizes that the adoption of ITIL best practices is a long-term process that requires cultural as well as technical changes. "A lot of IT engineers see themselves as artisans and feel that everything they do is unique, the product of one creative mind," Jenkins says. "But the truth is that a lot of operational work should be more standardized. We need to use the same language and the same metrics to find where our service is inconsistent, and make it consistent. Then, in fact, IT becomes a brand: something you can rely on and trust. And you get there through process, standardization and measurement."
"If we can make a relatively small investment in tools and processes that result in far greater return on what IT can deliver, then I think that is a good investment," he adds. "The ServiceNow implementation that Logicalis helped us with has been an example of that."
Jenkins notes Huntington Hospital generates more than $500 million in revenue a year. It has all the complexity of a midsized enterprise with the significant additional technical and compliance complications associated with healthcare.
Best Practice Framework
"Without something like ServiceNow, you are basically flying a 747 without instruments," Jenkins says. "How smart is that? You want all the gauges and all the maps you need to get to your destination, and that is exactly what we are trying to do. Turning to a well-established best practice framework is the easiest roadmap to follow. The implementation, the socialization and internal change management…yeah, that’s not easy. But knowing the right direction to go in at least gets you started. And that’s where we are today."
Asked if implementing ServiceNow has enhanced the hospital’s ability to serve patients, Jenkins responds, "IT’s role is indirect, but if we can reduce or eliminate downtime because we have a more responsive, more proactive IT department, then our clinicians are wasting less time dinking around with the technology and can spend more time actually treating their patients. That’s our goal."