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Press It & Get It: The On Demand Hospital

Posted by Chris Richie on Feb 29, 2016 11:35:46 AM

In nurses, mainspring healthcare solutions, himss, itsm, cherwell, IT, itil


“Place it. Press it. Get it.” Thus reads the marketing copy on the Amazon Dash Button webpage. Instantaneous and on demand, you stick the Wi-Fi-enabled button by its corresponding product and whenever you’re running low on coffee or razors or baby formula, you press it and get it. That’s the type of user experience and automated process Mainspring is bringing to hospital operations; where nurses and clinicians get their on demand requests quickly and easily fulfilled, while support services (whether it’s clinical engineering, facilities, environmental services, etc.) have the proper tools and workflow to effectively deliver that request.

Press It & Get It

Mainspring has partnered with Cherwell Software, a company with decades of experience in ITIL and ITSM (IT service management), to widen the scope of our Hospital Operations Management platform, to now include the hospital IT department. For hospitals this means that a nurse or clinician doesn’t have to worry if their requesting the IT help desk for an electronic health records (EHR) issue, or the facilities department to fix a flickering light. A simple user interface from a web portal or mobile device allows them to easily input their request, and the system routes that request to the corresponding department. The request could be routed to the IT department and logged into Cherwell’s ITSM platform, or if it’s for clinical engineering, facilities, or environmental services, the request is routed and logged to those departments using Mainspring’s CMMS.

The demand for streamlining hospital operations has never been greater. From 1995 to 2010 there was a 62% increase in the number of clinical assets per hospital bed in this country. From an IT perspective, during most of that time, “app” was what you got before the main course, while the iPhone app store only went live in 2008. That year just 9% of hospitals in this country had adopted basic electronic health records. By 2014, 76% of all hospital had adopted basic EHR. While the healthcare industry has undergone a radical transformation with regards to IT in the past decade, in the next few years IT will play an even larger role, as the healthcare industry moves towards its goals of interoperability and healthcare professionals manage and even greater abundance of complex “connected” equipment. The fact is, the hard lines between what is an IT problem and what is a clinical engineering problem are disappearing.  

Fast Implementation, Quick ROI 

Agile, cost effective software solutions like Cherwell’s have been successful in large part because they’ve been able to be quickly and easily implemented during the big EHR rollouts of the past few years. Moving forward, hospitals need to deliver on the promise of technology delivering efficiency and lowering costs — with flexible and integrated ITSM solutions a critical component of that success. In an article with Healthcare IT News, IDC Research Director Judy Hanover says hospitals are now “pulling away from an EHR application-centered focus and looking at the broader IT ecosystem."

Prior to rolling out its comprehensive EHR system, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, a New England-based integrated health delivery network (and coincidentally a Mainspring client), was operating on 12 disparate ITSM products, before consolidating onto the Cherwell Service Management (CSM) ITSM solution suite. CSM was successfully piloted in just four weeks to support the first EHR module for in-patient pharmacy. Due to the success of the pilot, the hospital’s executive leadership decided that CSM would fully support the EHR rollout. Just six months later, CSM was fully implemented into production at the hospital. The team was two weeks ahead of schedule and completed the rollout four months before the EHR go-live.

Hospitals are coming around to the fact that these types of solutions exist. It’s about time. There’s something wrong with the picture when you contrast the advancements in retail and the process of requesting laundry detergent, against nurses requesting infusion pumps for sick patients in need of medicine. These nurses are still having their calls manually routed through dispatch centers, and then having to play the waiting game. That’s when the system starts to break down. When staff can’t reliably get what they need from other departments, trust starts to erode between those departments and staff start taking matters into their own hands. Mainspring has seen this happen across hospitals with equipment hoarding, when nurses can’t reliably get the equipment they need, when they need it. Cherwell has seen it with shadow IT, where staff start using systems and solutions without approval or knowledge from the IT department. In both cases, the staff are looking for a quick fix and don’t believe they’ll get it from their support departments. In both cases there is an inherent lack of trust that support services will step up to the plate and deliver. It’s when the system works, that you begin to rebuild trust between departments. So when they press it, they know they’ll get it.


Transforming Hospital Operations with Cherwell & Mainspring