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Supporting a Large-scale Technology Deployment for a Hospital’s Grand Opening

Healthcare | Technology Deployment

Our client, a national provider of integration technology, engaged TEKsystems on behalf of a large Chicago-based hospital to complete a PC IMAC deployment project for approximately 3,850 new and relocated PCs and LCDs.

Our client, a leading provider of integrated information technology solutions, provides technology products and business services to more than 250,000 small, medium and large business, government, education and healthcare organizations in the U.S. and Canada. This Fortune 500 company has been a partner of TEKsystems since 2007.

Innovations in technology are continually driving business development and improvement. Organizations must adapt to these developments to stay on the cutting edge of technology and reap the benefits of performance enhancements and reduced costs that often go hand-in-hand with newer technology. In addition, updating or replacing outdated software and hardware is necessary for an organization to stay relevant within their industry and to maximize their business opportunities. Aging technology left in place can result in significant business setbacks, such as costly security breaches, inadequate or unavailable technical support, and an inability to be seen as a progressive business. Additionally, outdated technology may no longer be compatible with newer software releases, making communication between systems both inside and outside of the organization challenging.

In an ever-changing healthcare landscape, it is extremely important for hospitals to stay current, utilizing the most innovative technologies, so they can offer their patients the best care possible. As more healthcare organizations shift to electronic medical records (EMR) and modernize their systems to meet regulatory requirements, such as ICD-10 compliance, they are challenged to update or replace legacy computer systems, which can often be a timely, costly and complex process depending on the size of the facility.

Maintaining patient records and viewing vital, real‑time patient health information is essential for hospitals to run smoothly and effectively. Hospitals often struggle executing tight technology rollout schedules that also minimize disruptions to patient care and facility functionality. Hospitals can’t have “downtime” to fully update or replace equipment and technology all at once because they admit and treat patients around the clock. Staggered rollouts are often utilized for in-facility work; however, this approach can be more time-consuming and costly. Hospitals strive to strike the balance between timely equipment deployments that are both cost‑effective and minimize disruption to their daily operations.

Kronos Clock, LCD monitors, Personal computers

Prompted by an acquisition of property downtown, a large Chicago-based hospital needed to relocate patients and equipment from numerous city facilities to its new, downtown facility. The hospital required resources and project management expertise to install, move, add and change (IMAC) approximately 3,850 PCs and monitors, as well as Kronos Clocks and cable verification, at their new facility in advance of the hospital’s grand opening.

The hospital’s ribbon-cutting ceremony, to which several high-profile politicians had already been invited, was scheduled in six months so it was imperative that the PC IMAC deployment be completed on time, meaning that all computers, monitors and additional medical equipment be installed, configured and tested prior to the grand opening. The hospital’s internal IT personnel didn’t have the bandwidth to handle such a large-scale deployment in-house, so it decided that bringing in a third-party partner would be the best, most cost‑effective solution to completing the project on time.

The hospital decided to partner with our client, a national provider of integration technology, whom they relied on for the hospital’s ongoing software and hardware needs. However, our client required additional support in order to complete the deployment because they lacked the resources and project management capabilities.

TEKsystems was brought to the table for this engagement because of our long-standing relationship with our client and a pre-existing relationship with the hospital. Both our client and the hospital felt strongly that our customized solutions and project management expertise would allow for a concise and successful deployment within the allotted time.

We would employ a phased management approach to formulating and undertaking the PC IMAC deployment, consisting of planning, pilot, implementation and closeout steps, and requiring customer and leadership signoff at every phase. We would first meet with hospital leadership and discuss the parameters of the engagement, including facility status, hardware ordering and availability, PC imaging needs and any possible delays or setbacks that might hinder the project being completed by the hospital’s grand opening. We would also develop a communication plan to document escalation procedures, risk mitigation strategies and resolution activities to make sure hospital stakeholders were continually informed of progress or issues should they occur.

The project would involve remote project management and on-site team leads and deployment resources to install and provide the technical support for approximately 3,850 new and relocated PCs and monitors as well as installation of the additional medical equipment, including Kronos Clocks and cable verification. Under a per-unit model, the hospital would be billed based on the time it took to install each item. TEKsystems would provide a skilled project management team consisting of a remote project manager, an on-site project lead, team leads, warehouse/receiving coordinator, an administrator and anywhere from four to 10 PC technicians at a time depending on daily workload. The project was estimated to span 33 business weeks.

Prior to starting implementation, we would execute a pilot to ensure that the proposed solution would be the most efficient approach to processing hardware, performing on-site staging and installation. Hardware ordering and imaging would be handled by our client off the hospital premises, which meant it would be critical for our team to verify that the staging area at the hospital was set up properly to handle the volume of new equipment coming in for our team to configure. In addition, since the new hospital facility was still undergoing construction, we would need to coordinate elevator time with on-site construction contractors, as availability was extremely limited due to ongoing building work.

During the actual deployment, we would provide on-site project leadership, coordination and technical resources to complete the installation, configuration and testing of all new and relocated PCs, monitors and medical equipment at the facility. Throughout the project, we would continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure services would be carried out in accordance with the project plan and timeline, providing inventory reports to hospital leadership on a daily basis as well as communicating project updates on a weekly status call.

At the completion of the project, our project management team would provide full accounting and documentation for all work completed during the deployment and include both technical and financial results.

After starting the project under a per-unit model, it became almost immediately evident to our project management team that due to unforeseen delays in hardware availability and construction activities, a time and material (T&M) model would be a better approach to completing the project. Switching to a T&M model would allow the client to only be billed for actual time and materials, meaning downtime incurred by hardware and construction delays would no longer be billed at a higher out‑of-scope rate. Though the T&M model would be more expensive than the original per‑unit model, it would yield tremendous savings to the hospital compared to the considerable amount of out‑of‑scope charges they were facing because of the hardware and construction delays. TEKsystems, the hospital and our client agreed to convert the engagement to T&M so that the hospital could utilize our technicians freely for other IT tasks without having to worry about being charged the higher out-of‑scope rate for project scope deviations.

We built a new schedule working around the hardware setbacks, taking into account the construction schedule and hardware availability. To cut down on lost time due to shipment and construction delays, we created a new pre‑staging area that could handle a higher volume of shipments as weather improved and more hardware shipments could be delivered. Under the supervision of the warehouse/receiving coordinator, two to three hardware shipments could now be received at once, allowing our on-site team to be able to configure the systems in bulk as they arrived.

Though initially imaging was to be completed by the client off-site prior to arriving at the hospital, we assumed that responsibility in order to eliminate another step in the process and reduce downtime while waiting for the delayed hardware to arrive. We also provided added value to the hospital, filling in the time gaps waiting on hardware, by installing additional medical equipment, such as wall-mounted arms, which were outside of our original project scope.

We successfully reworked our deployment plan and completed imaging, configuration and installation of all 3,850 PCs, monitors and medical equipment in advance of the hospital’s grand opening. Due to our solution modifications, we were also able to complete the deployment in just 26 weeks—an impressive seven weeks ahead of schedule. The hospital and our client were pleased with how adaptive we were to unforeseen project hurdles and flexible we were in adjusting our project approach to realize greater cost-saving opportunities. Because of the successful deployment, the hospital has again selected our client for an upcoming deployment engagement to which TEKsystems has also been invited to participate.

TEKsystems was able to deliver a successful PC IMAC deployment solution through:

  • Responsiveness. Though the engagement was originally slated to follow a per-unit model, our project team immediately recognized that a T&M model made more sense based on hardware availability and construction delays. Not only did a T&M model work better with the on-site hardware hurdles and construction delays, it saved the client money as they would not be billed at the higher out-of-scope rate.
  • Adaptability. Our on-site project team was flexible in adjusting our solution and scheduling resources around the unexpected hardware delays. To maximize our time during unanticipated downtime, our team performed ad hoc work requested by the hospital, installing additional medical equipment that was outside of the original project scope. We also took on additional equipment imaging responsibilities to better streamline the installation process.
  • Communication. Communication with both the hospital and our client was a top priority for TEKsystems. Weekly calls and daily inventory reports ensured effective communication and escalation to leadership, keeping them abreast of time, cost and scope over the life cycle of the project.