How to ensure high-quality service without straining your IT team

Information technology permeates the healthcare ecosystem; virtually every member of the hospital staff, from administrators to physicians is now reliant on fast, accurate data. In this environment, it is not uncommon for hospital IT departments to become overwhelmed.

During a May 12 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by TeamDynamix, Andrew Graf, the chief product strategist for TeamDynamix shared with health IT leaders how to reduce strain on IT teams and still offer high-quality service.

Tip No. 1: Simplify how you work

Many healthcare IT departments use different platforms to do different types of work. Service, projects and operations are often managed on different platforms.

"Typically what we find is these different types of work get managed on different platforms, which really spreads our resources thin, and it's really difficult for leadership to make confident decisions and truly understand what's going on in the organization," Graf said. 

Covenant Healthcare, a seven-hospital health system based in Saginaw, Mich., uses TeamDynamix for both IT Service Management and Project Management, together on one platform.  With this the CIO can operate from a single dashboard; tickets, change requests, project risks, project timelines and even an IT news feed are all in one place.

"I have my own CIO dashboard," said Frank Fear, chief information officer at Covenant Healthcare. "In one look, I can see any negative survey that's come in in the last 24 hours, then pivot over and look at any project that has a status of red that needs my attention, then pivot over and look at what's going live in the next 30 days, then pivot over and see what critical tickets have come in from the help desk." 

Having a simplified view of all of the work going on in the department equips health IT leaders with the information they need to better allocate the team's resources. 

Tip No. 2: Utilize self-service technology and knowledge-centered service 

This means creating resources for users to solve their own tech-related problems without needing to call the IT department. Over time, the IT team will spend less time solving problems that users can solve on their own. 

It also saves the department money, explains Graf. In this session, he points to data from HDI (Help Desk Institute) stating that the average cost of a level 1 support call is $22, while the average cost of a self-service incident is just $2. 

TeamDynamix offers a self-service portal that health systems like Covenant provide their end-users with 24/7 access to a knowledge base and integrated support request system.  Graf said the portal is easy to navigate, uses clear language and is accessible on mobile devices without needing to download an app. 

By using self-service technology and knowledge-centered service, health systems can reduce the time their IT teams spend assisting others with tech-related problems to free up time for other projects. 

Tip No. 3: Leverage a project management office

A project management office, or PMO, typically oversees the framework for reviewing potential projects the department may take on, helps prioritize projects and suggests or mandates standards for how projects are managed, said Graf. 

Sixty-one percent of healthcare organizations do not have a formal PMO, according to a survey conducted by TeamDynamix. But, a strong PMO can help guide IT departments through changes in priorities or budget shifts. A PMO can help departments determine which projects to delay to prioritize more pressing issues without damaging operational work, according to Graf. 

Graf advised health IT leaders to think about what operational pains they're suffering to figure out whether a PMO may help. If projects are already being managed efficiently, a PMO could potentially focus on other things, such as managing intake to make sure teams have the resources they need to complete their projects. 

By simplifying work, using self-service technology and utilizing a project management office, health IT leaders can ensure a team's resources will not become strained and teams can continue to offer high-quality service. 

To view this full presentation from TeamDynamix, click here.  Or you can visit their website www.teamdynamix.com to access more market studies, product information and customer stories.

More articles on health IT:
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How many hospital beds Epic, Cerner, Meditech, Allscripts won & lost in 2019
HCA launches $25M innovation fund

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