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Service Desk Maturation Vital as Healthcare IT Demands Change

10/14/2013 by: The SunView Team


The healthcare industry has faced a period of upheaval. Over the course of the past few years, the move from initial electronic health record deployment to more sophisticated information technology use has commenced. This has left many hospitals with faltering technology budgets, and a need to improve operations without adding more strain on IT departments. The pace of change has been especially rapid and IT teams have been forced to introduce new functionality even if they are not really prepared to support all of it efficiently.

The end result of this change, in many cases, is a situation in which IT departments are left scrambling to maintain uptime, ensure physicians have access to the services they need and protect data without all of the secondary tools they need to do so. Deploying IT service desk solutions in place of homemade help desk architectures can play a key role in helping hospital IT departments introduce the functionality they need to keep up with a new wave of services hitting the sector.

Looking at New Challenges Facing Healthcare Organizations
The widespread use of EHRs has established the potential for easy data sharing from a wide range of sources. Ideally, this would mean that a physician can open a suite of applications, upload patient data and use the services to make efficient, informed decisions during consultation. This kind of application functionality depends on effective integration between hospitals, clinics, rehab centers, physician offices and health information exchanges.

In other words, you have plenty of applications and services integrating with one another, and one minor incident can lead to a glitch that gives physicians data that is not accurate or up to date. Alternately, databases could end up publishing sensitive patient data online, test and operational databases could be desynchronized or an application may run into authorization problems that prevent doctors and nurses from accessing data.

These kinds of glitch incidents can be a common problem in increasingly complex healthcare IT environments, making a more advanced service desk architecture integral in the sector. This is especially true as HIPAA regulations and other guidelines come into play.

Advancing the Service Desk to Support More Reliable Operations
Reliability is vital in healthcare and one of the best ways to improve reliability is to introduce repeatability. When basic fixes for incidents are performed the same way, every time, IT operations teams can more easily track which incidents are normal and frequent as opposed to rare outliers. This makes it easier to automate certain aspects of incident management and progress to solving problems.

IT managers using an advanced service desk can automate basic incident management and use data gathered by the system to identify problems. From there, a change management platform can be used to securely make configuration adjustments to improve application reliability. An advanced service desk can do all of this with self-documentation in the background. Automation software tracks its own actions and the service desk identifies who makes changes, what they adjust and what the result was. All of these actions have considerable regulatory implications and are an ideal fit considering HIPAA guidelines.