Founded in 2000, healthAlliance NZ Ltd. provides shared services to the two largest District Health Boards (DHB) in New Zealand. The company oversees finance, recruitment, payroll, information services, procurement, and materials management for the DHB’s 12,000 employees, who serve over one million people in the country’s North Shore region.
From healthy service to automated workflowHealthAlliance NZ realized its success was dependent on providing the best technology infrastructure to its DHB service customers so that they could enable the highest quality patient care possible. Once the DHBs had the best IT solutions, healthAlliance NZ realized it needed to become more efficient in delivering IS support. Over the next two years, healthAlliance identified other areas of potential improvement as well, such as improving payroll service delivery, enabling better business reporting, establishing a new regulatory compliance framework, and automating IT user account administration, among other goals. But better support for its healthcare workforce was, at first, the highest priority. “A key performance measure of our IS service is customer satisfaction,” said Phil Brimacombe, CIO of healthAlliance NZ. “The IS helpdesk was absolutely drowning in calls from people ringing up wanting to know the status of their requests.”
In addition, the original payroll service application needed a solution that would help reduce the time it took to rectify errors and to streamline support as well. All of these improved services required a fresh look at its management platform. Over a two-year period, the healthAlliance NZ IT team implemented a four-stage roll-out of Symantec Altiris products to upgrade everything from its material management to IT workflow.
The second phase called for the installation of Altiris Analytics Solution Add-on. This key software component quickly allowed business cost center managers throughout the system to produce ad hoc reports from simple queries of the Altiris configuration management database without the aid of IS personnel. This tool greatly facilitated decision making in the IT department; in the past, the department cost center managers needed to ask IS personnel to run reports for them as the previous reporting tool was too time-consuming and complicated for them to use properly.
Phase three called for the implementation of the Altiris Workflow Solution Add-On to automate the design and monitoring of IS work processes. Using wizards and intuitive tools, users can create policies that avoid bottlenecks and errors and adequately account for the hardware and software platforms that carry out the processes. Helpdesk Interaction Evaluation and User Software Request processes have been published. By automating much of its helpdesk and user request functions, healthAlliance eliminates costly IT interventions wherever possible. For example, when a user requests new software, the appropriate license is assigned, and the correct account is charged automatically as the software is delivered over the network.
The last phase entailed a second installation of Altiris Helpdesk Solution for the payroll department. “Six weeks after deployment in the IS department, the healthAlliance chief operating officer came to the healthAlliance IS team and said, ‘I want that IS helpdesk solution for my payroll staff,’” said Alistair Mascarenhas, the service delivery team leader for healthAlliance NZ. “That’s how successful the Altiris Helpdesk Solution for Information Services implementation was.” The Altiris Helpdesk Solution was deployed for the critical payroll application helpdesk then to eliminate errors and to expedite all support requests. Using the Altiris solution, healthcareAlliance NZ has helped payroll significantly streamline its support requirements and eliminate duplicate requests while speeding live replies and on-site calls where needed.
Service and SLA savingsAccording to an exhaustive study performed by the Alchemy Group, after a four year period, healthAlliance NZ will save over $1.2 million in cost avoidance and labor reduction due to the integrated Altiris product deployment throughout its enterprise. Among the areas that will see the greatest return are business reporting costs and helpdesk labor costs. These two areas alone required labor-intensive intervention; the Altiris solutions now significantly automate and eliminate personnel interventions in these two areas.
On of the greatest areas of improvement, however, was in service level agreement compliance. The Altiris solution eliminated paperwork for software requests, automated software delivery, and better tracked customer requests. Better tracking of events combined with customer feedback led to more accurate SLA tracking. As a result, healthcareAlliance NZ SLA compliance rose from 55 percent in July 2008 to 93 percent in November 2008.
“I don’t hear any more clinicians complaining about our helpdesk,” said Phil Brimacombe, CIO of healthAlliance NZ. “So I’m really pleased with what Altiris Helpdesk Solution is doing for us.”
Management upgrades step-by-step In its first phase, healthAlliance NZ deployed Altiris Service and Asset Management Suite to better automate the entire life cycle of its IS assets. With the new solution the team monitors hardware and software licensing, deployment, and individual configurations for real-time updates on all client assets. Integration with the helpdesk is especially useful during support sessions.