Healthcare in the Digital Age: Leveraging Remedyforce Digital Service Management Capabilities to Support Hosted Healthcare Operations

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This post is part of a 3-part series from Nuance authored by Dianne Sforza and Clitfon Teate.

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Legal mandates and the demand for more affordable yet personalized patient care are driving a major transformation in healthcare: Healthcare providers must now transition from manila file folders filled with pages of handwritten notes to electronic health records (EHRs) that are accessible at anytime from anywhere. The goal of EHR systems is to enable medical professionals to accurately capture and preserve a complete medical history on every patient and make that record available instantly across diverse stakeholders: patients, physicians, hospital medical teams, lab technicians, administrative personnel, insurance companies, and government entities.

The benefits of going digital are huge, but so are the challenges. It takes highly sophisticated technologies to enable medical professionals to interact with patients in a caring and personalized way while capturing comprehensive patient stories. That’s where Nuance Healthcare comes in. Our solutions are empowering more than 500,000 clinicians and 10,000 healthcare facilities worldwide to address the challenge. Some of these solutions are cloud based, others are hosted and delivered as a service, and some are on premises.  Supporting the customer-facing support teams and ensuring 24×7 availability of all cloud-based and hosted solutions and services are the key responsibilities of Nuance Healthcare Hosted Infrastructure Services (HHIS) organization.

Because of the critical role our solutions play in our clients’ healthcare delivery, managing our hosted infrastructure environments to ensure 24×7 availability is vital. In October 2015, we went live with BMC Remedyforce—BMC’s modern IT service management solution built on Salesforce App Cloud—to give us greater visibility into and control of our service management processes. Right from the start, Remedyforce has demonstrated its effectiveness in enabling us to transform the way we handle incidents, problems, service requests, and changes within our infrastructure environments.

This blog is the first in a three-part series describing our journey toward digital service management. This first blog focuses on the pain points that drove our decision to reinvent service management and describes some of the factors that influenced our decision to go with Remedyforce. The following two blogs will describe our progress along the way as we take increased advantage of Remedyforce capabilities.

Electronic Documentation Solutions for Healthcare Providers

Nuance Healthcare’s solutions help healthcare providers improve patient care by creating complete and compliant electronic clinical documentation in a cost-effective manner. Our solutions cover three key areas:

  • Clinical narrative capture that offers flexibility in creating documentation at the point of care
  • Diagnostic imaging on the most widely used platforms for capturing, interpreting, and reporting medical imagery
  • Compliant documentation, from coding to downstream revenue cycle and quality improvement reporting

Our solutions feature leading-edge technologies that deliver dramatic productivity improvements. For example, our award-winning, voice-enabled clinical documentation and analytics offerings enable medical professionals to spend more time interacting with patients and less time manually filling in gaps in each patient’s story. From a patient care perspective, this means our clients have complete and accurate clinical documentation that improves the quality of patient care. From a business perspective, it improves the clients’ financial position by speeding payer reimbursements.

Reinventing Customer Support for the Digital Age

Prior to implementing Remedyforce, HHIS was using an open-source tool to handle incident, service request, change, and other service management processes. Last year, we faced the reality that we could no longer deliver the kind of support our customers need without replacing our current tool with a far more capable solution that is built for the modern digital enterprise.

Some of the limitations of the previous tool included a reliance on PERL scripting, which meant we needed a team of PERL developers to enhance or tailor the tool. The tool did not have the robust functionality required to ensure effective and timely handling of incidents and problems, service requests, and changes. Moreover, there was no service catalog to facilitate interaction with our customers, nor was there a configuration management database (CMDB) for capturing asset data and maintaining visibility into the infrastructure.

With ticket volumes growing, we needed to find a replacement in fairly short order. However, we took the time to map out a clear picture of our requirements. Not surprisingly, those requirements included comprehensive service management capabilities, tight integration across service management processes, and control mechanisms that would not only ensure but could demonstrate compliance. For future development, it was important to have CMDB functionality that captures data across service management disciplines and makes the data available to all processes to increase efficiency.

One of the primary requirements was integration with Salesforce.com. Remedyforce was the only solution that met this particular requirement. It’s incredibly important to us because Nuance Healthcare and our parent company Nuance Communications have standardized on Salesforce Service Cloud. Our technical and development teams have significant skills and expertise with that platform, so the fact that Remedyforce runs on the salesforce.com platform allows us to leverage the investment in those skills and expertise.

What’s more important is the potential for stronger collaboration between our internal HHIS service desk and our customer-facing support organization, which is the first point of contact for healthcare clients into Nuance. Calls into customer technical support that require additional support for Healthcare hosted solutions are escalated to internal HHIS service desk. Tight integration between Remedyforce and Salesforce will translate into smoother communication and collaboration between the two organizations, and enhanced reporting capabilities that span the functions will give us better visibility into the customer experience.

One Step at a Time

We’re taking a step at a time instead of trying to do everything at once. To date, we’ve gone live with incident, service request, and change management. Problem and release management are slated for a later phase. We decided not to fully populate the CMDB. Instead, we’re populating in manageable increments so we can start small, learn, and then expand.

We are just beginning to tap the power of Remedyforce. We’ll keep you posted of our progress in two follow-on blogs. So stay tuned. In the meanwhile, we welcome input from healthcare providers as to how you are approaching the digital transformation of the healthcare industry and any lessons you have learned on your journey.

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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.

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Dianne Sforza

Dianne Sforza

Over a career that spans multiple industries, Dianne Sforza thrives where the application of technology not only delivers value for the company, but enables superior customer service. Although her resume may read like a compilation of unrelated experiences, this common theme, along change and continuous improvement, can be found throughout. In late 2014 joined Nuance Communications in a newly created organization within the Healthcare division. Her role as Sr. Manager of Operations & Process Improvement is to help drive change and improvement within Nuance Healthcare’s hosted services operations. Over the past decade, Dianne has been working within hosted operations and services, starting with hosted VOIP, migrating to hosted mobile applications, and currently in hosted Healthcare services. Unlike “traditional” IT Service Management focused on the delivery of IT services for internal employee consumption, Dianne’s experiences are with hosted services, solutions and applications delivered to external customers. Over the years she has excelled in adapting and applying “traditional” ITSM / ITIL best practices framework in the delivery of hosted services, bringing value to the organization while meeting the demands of external enterprise customers. Dianne looks forward to sharing her recent experiences involved with the deployment of Remedyforce within Nuance Healthcare. From deploying robots in manufacturing to leading enterprise efforts embarking upon e-commerce in a brick-and-mortar industry, Dianne is keenly aware of how change can be viewed as “disruptive”. She credits her successes in this area on strong communication and team building skills, the desire to make a positive difference, the willingness to learn and grow, and a passionate respect for all with whom she works. Outside of work, Dianne enjoys many outdoor activities with her husband and family, and loves to travel. She also takes her passion for change, growth and desire to make a difference within the communities she has lived by being an active and avid volunteer.