Uncovering the Benefits of Service Management in Healthcare

The healthcare industry has been tested like no other over the past two and a half years, battling the pandemic, surging patient numbers, and a workforce more dispersed than ever.

An added complication for healthcare providers is the nature of the data they handle. Many businesses were able to quickly roll out a public cloud-based collaboration solution to their entire workforce and carry on operations seamlessly. However, laws and regulations govern how patient data can be held and shared, meaning that most hospitals and clinics still rely on on-premises communications systems.

These systems are complex, particularly in fluid environments like hospitals, and even more so when back-office workers switch to remote working in the thousands, as they did in 2020 when the pandemic first hit.

It’s no surprise, then, that the healthcare industry is one of the biggest for Akkadian Labs. In fact, according to a recent report, 50% of the top hospitals in the US are Akkadian customers.

Several products from service management providers are highly effective at streamlining workflows for healthcare organizations – from automated provisioning, to receptionist consoles, to site deployment tools that can set up entire new campuses.

“They are coming to us and asking us to help streamline the management of these on-prem systems,” David Levy, Director of Marketing at Akkadian Labs, told UC Today.

“There are many pain points related to the management of UC in healthcare. There are lots of devices; there’s lots of fluidity in terms of people that need to be on those systems; you have patients checking in and checking out; and there are lots of public space phones.

“IT teams are overloaded, overworked and need a cost-effective tool to increase productivity and efficiency.”

The pandemic has only intensified the strain on IT resources in healthcare. Frontline workers have stayed working on-site, whereas back-office workers have become remote, creating two environments for UC engineers to manage. Then, there is the addition of new cloud-based tools to enable remote consultations – adding to the existing on-prem UC estate.

Levy pointed to one example where Akkadian was able to help provision 1,500 users with messaging and video applications over a single weekend for a healthcare organization. Within a few weeks, this organization eventually rolled out the same tools for 14,000 employees, allowing them to work remotely.

It’s important, however, to stress that challenges in the healthcare space existed well before the pandemic.

In the US, for example, mergers and acquisitions are frequent and often result in two separate UC estates needing to be pulled together.

“One tool we have getting traction in the healthcare industry is our Site Builder tool,” Levy said.

“This deploys UC at new locations. There’s an intense level of mergers and acquisitions in hospitals, and the Site Builder tool makes the process of bringing a new site onto the parent’s standard UC platform quick, easy and repeatable.”

Wider Integrations

UC is, of course, not the only technology being used by healthcare providers. Service management platforms allow the IT team to bring different products together to make life easier for admin teams and ultimately deliver better service to patients.

Electronic medical records software is essentially the operating system for hospitals, and huge benefits come with integrating this software with UC.

For example, a service typically offered by hospitals will be to provide a patient with a dedicated phone number that they can use to contact family members. The problem arises when this patient moves locations frequently, between different rooms and clinics.

“Our RESTful API can talk to the healthcare industry standard API, which is FHIR,” Levy said.

“We can integrate with FHIR to have the patient’s phone number follow them as they get moved from room to room. This is a hard problem to solve and an annoying problem because patients don’t want to lose communication with their families.

“Another big feature here is remote phone control because UC engineers don’t want to go into the patient’s room, and they don’t have to with Akkadian Provisioning Manager.

“The business case for a service management tool in healthcare is that it’s a single pane of glass for fast, error-free provisioning. You’re freeing up your IT team to get away from manual tasks and focus on strategic projects.”



This post originally appeared on Service Management - Enterprise - Channel News - UC Today.

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