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5 Service Desk Essentials for Healthcare

05/08/2014 by: The SunView Team

Change management is a common point for discussions in healthcare IT departments, but sometimes organizations can get so focused on advanced issues like change that they forget to set a good foundation. Issues like incident and problem management make up the core of the IT service desk and play an vital role in helping healthcare organizations sustain effective operations. Getting these key elements of the service desk in shape is integral to making forward progress on technology projects.

These five service desk essentials can help hospitals and other healthcare organizations establish a more stable, secure and responsive technology environment:

1. Incident Management
Being able to handle day-to-day incidents is incredibly important in any sector, but it is particularly true in healthcare, where clinical staff can find themselves unable to work with patients effectively if applications become unavailable. Incidents can get in the way of patient care - like times when people forget their password or an application experiences an unusual glitch that prevents users from completing a basic operation. Healthcare organizations cannot tolerate technology issues of this sort, and incident management is key in this area.

2. Business Process Automation
Some incidents happen so often, and can be dealt with so easily, that you don't actually need a human being to handle them. Issues like password resetting are a popular example in this area, but BPA also comes up for more complicated tasks as well. One way to think of this is that any task that is always handled through the same set of processes can be automated. All organizations need to do is add these BPAs to their process in order to automatically perform those operations and create a built-in audit trail. BPA solutions not only ease operational burdens for IT teams, they also make sure users get immediate response to their issues.

3. Self-Service
It is generally safe to assume that clinical staff members are fairly intelligent people. You may not think of them as tech savvy, but they are often able to read through forums, identify what issue they are facing and follow the solutions you suggest. This can alleviate the operational burden facing IT teams and position healthcare organizations to maximize IT efficiency by dealing with small issues without difficulty.

4. Ticketing
With rising electronic health record (EHR) system use, more diverse application systems, widespread mobile device use and many specialized IT tools, healthcare IT teams can face a large number of service requests. This high volume of issues makes service request management integral to day-to-day operations, and a good ticketing solution makes that possible. A good ticketing solution prioritizes service requests and enables service desk teams to handle the right issues at the right times to maximize value for end users.

5. Problem Management
Dealing with problems is the foundation of any successful service desk strategy. Not every organization will need to deal with problems, but hospitals with complex IT setups can face staggering technology challenges. Incident management can help such entities deal with basic service requests quickly and easily, but the solution is only designed to get things functioning again. Problem management, on the other hand, is about identifying the underlying issues that cause incidents to emerge and solving them.

Where incident management focuses on rapid resolution of minor issues, problem management emphasizes actually solving underlying IT flaws and making progress toward a better IT setup.

Healthcare organizations face numerous technology challenges, particularly as they must balance a continual need for innovation alongside challenging budgetary requirements. Effective service desk and IT service desk solutions can set a foundation for successful operations, and these essential solutions play a key role in this process.

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