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Though they may not operate on patients or view x-rays, the IT team at Atlantic Health System (AHS) certainly enables the entire hospital staff in giving patients the healthcare they need. Prior to implementing Cherwell® Service Management, the AHS IT team was supplying and providing support for equipment, hardware, and more than 400 predominantly healthcare specific software applications across four hospitals and 20 outpatient locations - an endeavor as complicated as a heart transplant. And, because of the IT service management tool they were using, there was no improvement in sight.
AHS purchased its prior IT service management tool in hopes it would not only help optimize IT’s processes, but also assist in meeting the hospitals’ and outpatient locations’ needs as they arose. In practice however, the legacy system was labor-intensive and difficult to expand, requiring resources AHS could not spare. The IT team knew they would benefit from implementing and automating ITIL processes, particularly Incident and Change Management, but the legacy technology didn’t support these capabilities out of the box, and building from scratch was a non-starter.
Adding insult to IT injury, multiple applications in the environment did not integrate well with the prior IT service management tool. Any attempt to improve the solution or configure new capabilities was impractical given the time required to ensure existing processes wouldn’t break. Moreover, these configuration difficulties caused incidents, occurring so often that the team at AHS found itself spending time fighting fires related to the tool instead of fulfilling its service delivery initiatives. IT was unable to optimize its own processes, much less become proactive in creating the solutions they aspired to provide.
AHS knew it was time to make a change in how they approached IT service management. “IT was stagnant without the ability to leverage ITIL processes. We wanted to create a system that gave greater flexibility and efficiency in delivering IT services,” says Frank McKenna, the Information Service and Support Director of Customer Service and Information Security at AHS. At the same time, AHS saw a sharp increase in business and demands for support. Dan Sisto, the Information Service and Support Manager of Client Service, explains, “We knew that the current system was not going to take us into the future.”
As it turned out, Cherwell Service Management was the shot in the arm AHS needed. Right out of the gates, AHS implemented ITIL Incident Management and Change Management. A Configuration Management Database (CMDB) soon followed, and since then, Cherwell has enabled what Sisto refers to as a “grassroots movement of IT improvement,” ushering in a whole host of new capabilities and rapid-fire process improvements.
In addition to implementing key ITIL processes, McKenna was also able to easily integrate Cherwell Service Management with other crucial IT applications because of the platform’s “openness.” Cherwell’s modern metadata platform allows AHS’s IT team to make changes at the application level without fear of breaking the code, or losing customizations when they upgrade to the next version.
Not only does Cherwell Service Management play nicely with other third party solutions, but AHS can easily build and configure their own modular applications on top of the Cherwell platform. AHS has designed over ten different applications for hospital and outpatient location needs, as well as applications for HR, Payroll, and Employee wellness. In fact, AHS built an IT governance application within Cherwell to brainstorm across multiple locations new ways to use the platform itself and to manage the delivery of those very projects.
With Cherwell Service Management, the AHS IT team has achieved the fast-paced and flexible IT service delivery system they had always envisioned. And perhaps best of all, they didn’t need expensive programming resources to do it. Sisto explains, “Now there’s a new excitement and higher expectations around IT service management. We’re always asking, ‘What can we do to enhance service to customers?’ There are so many possibilities in Cherwell, we simply can’t build them fast enough!”
AHS made many significant IT improvements in a short period of time, while simultaneously saving money. By abandoning their previous legacy IT service management solution, AHS saves, by Sisto’s estimates, $100,000 per year in upgrade, configuration, and maintenance costs.
Being in the healthcare industry, the value of AHS’s IT services has an added weight the IT team takes seriously. “Patient care is always our top priority. Our department has always had a full recognition of the purpose our services fulfill,” Sisto explains. “The implementation of Cherwell means we can build better, more cost-effective solutions which, in turn, allow everyone to invest in and focus on higher-value activities that result in higher quality care."
Sisto continues, “The implementation of Cherwell at Atlantic Health System is the catalyst for taking IT service management two maturity levels above where we were. Cherwell provides personalized support that ensures we are successful now and in the future. Now when people ask, ‘Can you do this with Cherwell?’ our answer is, ‘Cherwell? Sure will!’”
"The implementation of Cherwell means we can build better, more cost-effective solutions which, in turn, allow everyone to invest in and focus on higher-value activities that result in higher quality care."
Dan Sisto - Information Service & Support Manager
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