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IT


BUSINESS NEEDS


The initial six hospitals acquired to begin Steward Health Care had not been able to keep technologically up-to-date. With the rapid addition of five hospitals, the organization sought to realize economies of scale in order to maximize efficiency, improve service availability, minimize costs, and improve patient care. From a technological perspective, this meant merging the various hospitals’ disparate IT systems into a coherent whole. This would minimize IT infrastructure and support costs, while providing the system-wide communication and collaboration capabilities that today’s medical care demands.


“We were tasked with modernizing the technology,” explains Mary Buonanno, Steward Health Care’s Vice President, Partner Services. “Some of the underlying infrastructure really needed upgrading. For instance, the email system of the original six hospitals was 10 years old, and they were running Microsoft Exchange 2003. In addition, there was minimal support from a personnel perspective—just one and a half people. We had old versions of Internet Explorer, old versions of Windows. The aged systems were making it challenging for hospital physicians and staff to access email on their computers and smartphones, limiting their ability to collaborate and communicate on patient care.


“Even though the phones were technically compatible with the email system,” Buonanno said, “there were still things that didn't work and you would have glitches because the backend was more than 10 years old.


“Doctors are quite frequently not in their offices,” she continued. “They're up on the floor seeing patients, so when they can’t get their business email on their phone, that's a big deal. Email sporadically working and physicians and executives not being able to communicate was definitely causing hardships.”


“We were tasked with modernizing the technology.”


“Even though the phones were technically compatible with the email system,”


Mary Buonanno, Steward Health Care’s Vice President, Partner Services.


Steward Health Care sought a technology partner to help not only modernize its IT systems, but move them to a more flexible and less support-intensive cloud-based option. Buonanno considered both Google and Microsoft as technology partners, but ultimately selected Microsoft Enterprise Services with Cloud Vantage.


Buonanno needed a partner who could overcome Steward’s most vexing challenge: “How do we co-mingle some of the clinic applications that may be older with the new cloud-based technology we wanted to implement, while also keeping an eye on the future?”


47 2


INSIGHT ON


HOSPITAL & HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT VOL. 3 ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 2014


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