Optimization of basic IT services provides 12,000 users with the foundations for further digitalization.
Ensure the smooth implementation of an electronic patient record (EPR) system by helping the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) to significantly improve its service management processes. Make information on patients and their care available anywhere and anytime. Ensure that disruptions are resolved quickly and expertly so that any adverse effect on care is minimized.
“The aim? To make customer value and users our key focus area and to engage staff in continuous improvement.”
MAARTJE STORM, RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT MANAGER AND INTERIM CARE INFORMATION MANAGEMENT MANAGER, UMCG
doctors in training
About the University Medical Center Groningen
The UMCG is one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands and the largest employer in the Northern Netherlands. The center has over 12,000 employees who are involved in patient care, research, and medical education and training all with a common goal: “building the future of health”. The UMCG is the only university medical center in the Northern Netherlands. It offers complex care to patients requiring complicated tests and/or treatment, and to those suffering from rare or multiple disorders. The UMCG’s educational programs are highly regarded and offer numerous challenging extras. For example, the Bachelor of Medicine program can be followed in English. Moreover, there is a special research-focused program for outstanding students that offers the opportunity to be awarded a PhD while still studying. The UMCG performs research into new techniques and treatments, new drugs and new forms of care with a constant focus on healthy and active aging. The center works in close collaboration with the University of Groningen. The fundamental and clinical research performed at the UMCG is among the best in the world.
The UMCG needed to implement a new EPR (Electronic Patient Record) system to be accessed by over 12,000 employees. This meant that the entire organization would be working digitally. Quint’s assignment was to help the UMCG’s IT organization to significantly improve the existing service management processes and service desk, and thus ensure that the EPR implementation and digital working would be a success. The UMCG’s choice to merge the Medical Technology and IT business functions, to be known in future as the Medical Information Technology (MIT) department, presented a special challenge. Quint was asked to provide advice on integration issues regarding both MIT services and chain management.
The UMCG asked Quint to take on this assignment thanks to the wealth of experience Quint’s consultants have in improving process-driven working while devoting attention to aspects of change and the empowerment of employees. Quint’s method concentrated on a coaching approach: demonstrate it, do it together, do it alone. Quint tackled the project in collaboration with key personnel from the UMCG. The main focus was on process-driven working with the aim of creating customer value. To this end, the work units or process activities of the teams were examined together with the added value these delivered for the client. Activities that were time consuming but generated no value were subsequently addressed as they arose. By making improvements and collaborating effectively, the results for internal users and customers became measurable. This led to a broad acceptance of the approach throughout the organization.
Earning Capacity & Burning Capacity
First, the backlog of open incidents and service requests was examined along with the tooling and processes. In this way, the UMCG gained a greater understanding of what the completion of activities involved and of any related blockades in providing the services, so that these could subsequently be resolved step by step. This meant working with the aspects “earning” (spending time on adding value) and “burning” (activities that are necessary but do not deliver added value). These concepts are derived from Lean Management and introducing them helped, step by step, to generate more customer value from the processes.
Subsequently, analysis techniques were introduced at the service desk so that what was going on could be seen as quickly as possible. This was definitely not an unnecessary luxury because with the introduction of the EPR system the number of calls per day to the MIT service desk increased considerably. Although additional employees were deployed and super users and floor walkers were active, the MIT service desk and the departments still had to be prepared and team leaders still had to know what to focus on. The motto was: maintain an overview, resolve incidents quickly, collaborate with other departments and analyze problems to prevent them from recurring. Under Quint’s supervision, the departments involved themselves defined – within the set strategic frameworks – how their processes should be designed, something the UMCG IT organization greatly appreciated.
What Solutions Were Chosen?
- Optimization of the collaboration (service management) between the departments.
- Improvement of the incident management, service request management and change management processes along with the related tooling.
- Introduction of the “Shift Left” principle at the MIT service desk so that incidents can be handled more quickly by the first line, and structural problems can be identified to reduce work pressure.
- Constant communication in the form of daily stand-ups as well as exchanging feedback with the service desk, EPR project team members and representatives from the MIT department in order to quickly identify, discuss and prioritize operational issues and tackle them in order.
- A Service Level Management process for both IT and medical technology with a product and services catalog containing all services provided by the MIT department and service level agreements for the chain covering IT services as well as the medical systems; the point where IT and medical technology come together.
After the first, intensive period – with a separate desk for user support – in March the MIT Service Desk was fully operational for all services, including EPR. The IT organization was ready to take over the helm. Tools were available, and the balance of work and division of work had been optimized. Moreover, thanks to sound reporting and dashboards, the Medical Information Technology department was able to manage the hyper-care situation following the implementation of the EPR system. It was also able to handle service requests and resolve incidents quickly. The results achieved were:
- Significant reduction in the handling time of incidents and service requests received by the MIT service desk.
- Implementation of an improved working method for the service desk so that a better overview can be maintained and predictability has increased.
- Elimination of the backlog of open incidents.
- Implementation of the EPR system – despite the many challenges – was able to progress smoothly.
- Sound agreements with internal customers about the provision of services based on newly drawn up SLAs.
- A first version of the product and services catalog of all the services provided by IT and Medical Technology.
- Realization of the first phase of a controlled integration of IT and Medical Technology and the drawing up of a plan for the next phases.