Free Newsletter
Register for our Free Newsletters
Analysis, Inspection and Laboratory
Assisted/Independent Living
Clinical and Nursing Equipment
Design and Manufacture of Medical Equipment
Diagnostics Equipment, Monitoring and Test
Education, Training and Professional Services
Health Education and Patient Management
Health Estates Management
Healthcare Support and Information Services
Hygiene and Infection Control
IT and Communications in Healthcare
Medical Device Technology
Research and Development
Safety and Security
View All
Other Carouselweb publications
Carousel Web
Defense File
New Materials
Pro Health Zone
Pro Health Zone
Pro Security Zone
Web Lec
Pro Engineering Zone

IT and Communications in Healthcare - IT Automation

Kaseya : 21 April, 2011  (Special Report)
FOCUS ZONE REPORT - Improving the way healthcare IT systems are managed: The public sector is bracing itself for one of the toughest years yet points out Koby Amedume, Kaseya's marketing director because the cuts introduced last year mean many local authorities now face smaller budgets which could well have a detrimental impact on service provision.
IT and Communications in Healthcare - IT Automation

As the general public awakes to these realities, organisations within the sector now face the challenge of continuing to provide the same quality and standard of service, but in a much more efficient way.

When it comes to the effective provision of public healthcare, industry professionals are starting to feel the pinch, especially in the IT department. Here, faced with tighter budgets, IT teams are expected to adopt a "doing more for less" attitude; ensuring hospitals run as smoothly as possible, while helping staff to increase productivity, saving time and money, improving security and increasing user satisfaction. So against such a difficult setting, what is the most effective way of managing these IT management pain points?

 Automating processes

The technologies we use in the work place can often cause frustration, especially when it comes to IT resources. For the IT department, chasing problems from machine to machine is not only infuriating, it is also hugely inefficient. In the same way that doctors rarely simply treat symptoms, and instead looking for a cure so the problem never occurs again, why can’t healthcare IT departments do the same; deliver a proactive, preventative approach to boost efficiency, performance and availability?

Another challenge is the fact healthcare IT organisations now work in a climate of growing audit and compliance requirements, so not knowing what is deployed on an IT network is risky business. Unlicensed software, for example, is unsupported software which could lead to security, performance and compliance issues. At the other end of the scale, over-provisioning, while on the surface an antidote to these problems, is actually an expensive and wasteful strategy and takes up much needed network and server capacity. Yet these complexities are not insurmountable and by taking steps to automate key IT processes the headaches can start to disappear.

IT automation platforms allow you to manage all your IT systems across the network, ensuring they are maintained and updated regularly. This means you and your teams can reduce some of the manual, day-to-day administrative tasks to focus on the wider, more strategic projects. It also means it is possible to formalise the way an IT infrastructure is audited; allows you to access machines remotely; delete unwanted software; uninstall unnecessary hardware components and keep all legitimate software updated. The real benefit here is that you can secure the network, maximise resources and reduce risk.

A good example of how automating processes can help to improve the effectiveness of IT operations is the deployment by Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation of an IT automation platform. Responsible for the monitoring and updating of the hospital’s whole IT infrastructure, including 1,000 desktop PCs, 250 laptops and a number of servers and printers, the Trust needed a solution which would improve reaction times to problems, improve efficiency and reduce costs. By harnessing the software’s single, integrated web-based interface, the Trust has been able to boost efficiency and cut costs while remotely managing its complete infrastructure from network components to PCs and laptops. It has been able to reduce laptop support from seven days to less than 24 hours. In practice, this means every IT task and procedure can be controlled, analysed, planned and automated remotely, so tasks such as patch management, asset management and network upgrades can be completed without negative implications for end-users.

Centralising management of your IT infrastructure

Typical healthcare IT infrastructures are becoming increasingly complex, especially as technologies such as virtualisation and cloud computing continue to grow in popularity. While these solutions can help to facilitate better patient care, they require much more attention than traditional IT architectures. However, the reality of managing these systems can become quite complex since many healthcare IT professionals rely on a siloed management strategy, which can often be incredibly time consuming.

Moreover, the very nature of the healthcare environment can add to pressures associated with managing IT infrastructures. The need for immediate responses and instant access to information is critical in healthcare and so the time it takes to defrag a hard drive, download new software or backup a computer on a ward could make all the difference to someone requiring medical attention. However, by centralising the management of your IT infrastructure it’s possible to work on PCs even while they are in use, which means there is no disruption to the end-user.

A centralised approach to the management of your IT infrastructure using a single, web-based interface gives greater visibility of all your IT assets and creates a holistic view across the organisation, giving you the ability to drill down into individual systems. Another advantage of this approach lies in the ability to centralise the management of data protection, compliance and security strategies. In effect the whole process can be managed from one platform; backups and endpoint security checks can be conducted manually, on-demand or automatically while alerts can be routed through email or text messages to ensure failed cycles or security breaches are dealt with swiftly and efficiently.

Reporting also becomes much more streamlined with a centralised approach since all the IT assets are housed on one shelf, meaning reports can be printed at the touch of a button in a simple language that both hospital administrators and key decision-makers in the boardroom can understand.

Adopting a proactive approach to IT management

There is no denying it; the healthcare sector has entered a challenging phase and the influence of government changes, increasing compliance and budget cuts are having a marked impact on the IT department. Yet the reality for IT healthcare professionals need not be so complex and by embracing platforms that allow you to manage your IT assets efficiently, without creating unnecessary headaches will help to ensure that all organisational departments are doing their bit to help improve the effectiveness of the services hospitals provide. In an age of ‘doing more for less’, how long can your department afford to ignore this approach?

Bookmark and Share
Home I Editor's Blog I News by Zone I News by Date I News by Category I Special Reports I Directory I Events I Advertise I Submit Your News I About Us I Guides
   © 2012
Netgains Logo