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Building an IT Service Management Foundation for Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

HEALTHCARE | IT Service MANAGEMENT



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With little IT Service Management (ITSM) process knowledge and effective service management practices, Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center needed to define process gaps and build out a foundational service management program. TEKsystems provided ITSM and organizational change management (OCM) expertise in the development of the Medical Center’s service management office and IT service strategy.

Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is a leading university health center located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. TEKsystems has partnered with the health and medical services provider since 2011.

ServiceNow

The healthcare industry is ever-changing. External influences, like increased government regulation and merger and acquisition activities, are constantly emerging and shaping the decisions healthcare providers make. Acknowledging and responding to external changes is critical for healthcare organizations to maintain stability. To differentiate from industry peers and gain a competitive advantage, organizations should also evaluate whether they are maximizing the value of internal assets—those which they can better control than the external environment.

The IT function is a critical part of any business, especially in healthcare, considering relevant technology advancements such as electronic health records (EHR), the rise of mobile health and the emphasis on information security. The heightened pressure from external factors demand that healthcare organizations offer a secure and integrated infrastructure that can meet the needs of the marketplace. Optimizing the IT function can help streamline activities and increase overall operational efficiencies—making an organization poised to compete.

As a university health system, Hershey Medical Center provides services through four key components: education via Penn State College of Medicine, academic research, clinical and medical. The IT organization within the Medical Center operated in silos across these four business partners. Optimized IT Service Management (ITSM) practices would help the Medical Center thrive as an organization; specifically, enabling effective ITSM would drive increased collaboration and decreased potential inefficiencies created from operating in silos. Only, the Medical Center did not have a service management foundation—or a process to build one.

Although dedicated IT teams each aspired to excel in customer service and service delivery around individual technologies, IT service effectiveness was challenging to achieve with the absence of formal service management standards, service management governance, policies and process owners. And in addition to the complex external healthcare landscape, the client was also experiencing internal organizational changes that heightened the pressure to become more efficient:

Growth

Having recently acquired a regional hospital, Penn State Health was rapidly expanding. As opposed to growing organically, growth through mergers and acquisitions meant the enterprise was disjointed, resulting in multiple operational inefficiencies.

New domain

The client is also moving to a new domain, Penn State Health, an integrated network of healthcare providers. This transition drives the need for increased self-service and automation of services.

Additionally, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center wanted to be recognized as a top-10 member of the University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), an organization comprising leading academic medical centers across the country. Membership in the UHC is based on high performance, superior quality and safety excellence. Rating systems and satisfaction surveys, offered by Leapfrog Group and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), provide increasing patient visibility into hospital and doctor quality. More than ever before, patients are able to make very informed decisions about where they receive care. Scoring well on these rating systems and receiving industry recognition via a high UHC ranking would help boost revenue and growth. But Hershey Medical Center was unsure how to achieve this goal.

Addressing the operational inefficiencies would be instrumental in helping Hershey Medical Center remain competitive and further its position as a leading healthcare provider and potential top-10 UHC member. Without the structure or processes in place to build an ITSM foundation, the client needed to understand the IT investments required to develop the right mix of IT services to deliver greater healthcare value. They needed a well-defined IT service strategy, under an enterprise shared services model, that would be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the Medical Center’s complex environment.

Defining the core objectives

Under an enterprise shared services model, the silos of the IT function would be integrated and service ownership and infrastructure would be shared, making the organization more efficient. A shared services model requires sophisticated processes and an adaptive organizational culture. Without a foundation for service management in place to build an effective service strategy, Hershey Medical Center needed the support of a third-party provider that possessed expertise in process and service management. In addition, organizational change management (OCM) expertise would be crucial to helping the organization readily adapt.

The partner of choice would need to:

  • Validate the process maturity level, identify the desired future state and develop a process improvement roadmap
  • Define gaps for continual service improvement
  • Increase consistency and standardization of processes, terminology, language and methodology
  • Educate the organization on ITIL framework, methodology and best practices so everyone impacted can speak the same language
  • Shift thinking away from the current silo approach and toward an end-to-end services mentality
Sharing a common perspective on ITSM

TEKsystems’ perspective on ITSM goals and the criticality of OCM resonated with the client decision maker. Our emphasis on OCM was compelling: Expecting an entire organization to adopt new roles and new processes without addressing OCM would be a major oversight and would essentially set the organization up for failure. Hershey Medical Center agreed.

Mapping the best-fit solution

TEKsystems would perform an assessment and develop a service strategy that directly aligns with Hershey Medical Center’s core vision and mission, supports client business partners and drives their success. Our assessment would involve the following components:

  • Strategy workshops with client leadership to understand what works currently
  • Review current service capabilities
  • Establish service management organization (SMO) structure and roles
  • Develop a service strategy charter
  • Provide an OCM toolkit

During the five-week assessment, the TEKsystems team would evaluate IT services based on the value they provide Hershey Medical Center and priority business partners—education, academic research, clinical and medical. We would highlight the direct impact each service has on critical success measures, including enrollment, medical record accuracy and confidentiality, clinical pathology services that enable proper diagnosis, and faster “lab to bedside” discovery (i.e., bringing clinical research into production).

If our recommendations were to be followed, Hershey Medical Center would gain more visibility into their IT services and how to maximize their business value. Through the lens of the four business partners, we would identify specific services to improve as part of the Medical Center’s service strategy. For example, consider the reimbursements the client receives from insurance companies. An outage or any server downtime causes potential processing delays of these reimbursements. The impact of these outages fluctuates depending on volume and peak activity. Following our recommendations, the Medical Center would be able to link outages to precise dollar amounts, enabling them to better understand the impact of every outage based on when it occurs.

With client participation and insight, TEKsystems would explore the 4 Ps of Hershey Medical Center’s IT service strategy:

  1. Perspective – What is your IT vision and direction?
  2. Position – How do you intend to deliver IT services? What are your competitive advantages?
  3. Plans – What is your current plan to get to your desired state?
  4. Patterns – What is repeatable and ongoing that you can leverage across IT resources to drive down costs?
Choosing TEKsystems

TEKsystems was selected to perform the comprehensive assessment for several reasons. Along with sharing a mutual perspective on ITSM best practices, the client agreed with our engagement approach and emphasis on OCM. We have dedicated ITSM and OCM practices that would lend deep subject matter expertise to this engagement. Further, with more than 30 years of experience as an IT staffing, IT talent management and IT services provider, we also offer a breadth of experience across a variety of industries, and healthcare services is one of the core industries that we support. Between ITSM, OCM and our healthcare expertise, TEKsystems was uniquely positioned to provide specialized experience that closely aligned with Hershey Medical Center’s needs.

TEKsystems successfully completed the service strategy assessment, first developing an understanding of their current state and challenges, then working toward an ITSM strategic roadmap that aligns with and drives their vision and mission and supports their main business partners—education, academic research, clinical and medical. The assessment was completed in a period of five weeks. The client was pleased with the work we completed during the course of the assessment—so much so that TEKsystems was selected to implement the service strategy.

Hershey Medical Center received two key deliverables from the initial assessment:

Deliverable 1: IT service strategy charter
  • Business and IT alignment and integration
  • Business relationship management
  • IT service vision/future-state documents (i.e., vision, mission, strategy, goals and objectives)
  • Stakeholder matrix
  • Service portfolio
  • SWOT analysis
  • Service strategy
  • Measurement and metrics planning
  • Roles and descriptions in the SMO such as analyst, service level manager and configuration manager
  • OCM education and advising on new roles that would be introduced
Deliverable 2: OCM toolkit
  • OCM approach
  • Communication approach
  • Reinforcement and sustainment approach
  • Resistance management approach
  • Sponsor coalition roadmap
  • Sponsor approach
  • Stakeholder analysis approach
  • OCM implementation plan
  • Coaching and mentoring template
  • Communication plan template

From the assessment, we provided Hershey Medical Center with a roadmap for implementing the ITSM strategy. Leveraging ServiceNow service management platform, TEKsystems will perform this alignment and implementation over a six-month period. We will conduct IT service reviews for four core IT services that are tied to the four main business partners. The IT services will be identified based on their weight in driving the main business.

Ultimately, our implementation will enable the alignment of ITSM processes (e.g., incident management, change management, configuration management and service level management) to support true IT services throughout the entire life cycle.

CROSS-PRACTICE COLLABORATION

Cross-practice collaboration between TEKsystems’ ITSM and OCM practices played a critical role in our success to date, as OCM support helped facilitate modified behavior. Although the primary focus of this engagement was on developing an IT service strategy, we recognized the tremendous value of embedding OCM into the client’s service management. We brought in subject matter experts from both the ITSM and OCM angles, and through this collaborative approach, we developed a strategy and implementation plan. Given the new processes, technologies and roles we were introducing at Hershey Medical Center, understanding the impacts to employee roles and responsibilities and how to use it to their advantage was crucial, and our cross-practice approach enabled us to provide that support.

CLIENT UNDERSTANDING

The TEKsystems team did due diligence to ensure complete understanding of Hershey Medical Center’s needs, current environment, business model and key challenges. There were many client leaders and stakeholder opinions that factored into the IT service strategy, and we kept them involved throughout the engagement.

EXPERIENCE

Not only do we have dedicated ITSM and OCM practices, but healthcare is one of the core industries that TEKsystems supports. We support more than 700 healthcare clients each year, and we have vertical-specific competencies to address the most timely and sensitive pressures facing the industry today, including information security, EHRs and the rise of mobile health. This experience paired with our ITSM and OCM expertise and experience, well-prepared us to understand the complexities of Hershey Medical Center’s environment and deliver to their needs.

“The TEKsystems team spent a great deal of time listening and understanding the unique challenges that Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center faced with current inefficient IT operations. The collaboration between TEKsystems’ ITSM and OCM practices along with their unparalleled dedication to the Medical Center stakeholders led to the development of a service strategy that the Medical Center is currently implementing. To increase efficiency and optimize the value of IT, with the continuing engagement of the TEKsystems team, Hershey Medical Center is deploying an enterprise shared services model to operate more efficiently with our priority business partners: Penn State College of Medicine, academic research, clinical and medical. By establishing a service management organization, the Medical Center is streamlining our end-to-end services by aligning the business with our IT organization. To ensure the proper level of sponsorship, adoption and sustainability, the Medical Center committed to including a rigorous organizational change management approach that TEKsystems developed and is currently delivering to the IT organization and eventually across to our business partners. We truly appreciated working with the professional TEKsystems team and were extremely satisfied with their ability to deliver exceedingly above the Medical Center’s expected results.” –Director, Service Management and Delivery