Of hours of lost productive time recovered
Users able to access solution
Seconds to complete self-service reset
Speed and agility are now mission-critical
Healthcare organizations worldwide have responded to the unique workplace challenges created by COVID-19 by accelerating their transition to digital technologies, streamlined processes, and hybrid working arrangements.
A new focus on innovation, speed, and agility has enabled hospitals and clinics to maintain high-quality patient care under uniquely difficult circumstances. All of that made it more difficult for those clinicians to do their job: saving people’s lives.
Legacy issues cause delays
Despite embracing extensive use of automation and AI during its digital journey, Novant Health’s IT teams were still dealing with high volumes of incidents involving systems external to ServiceNow, requiring manual interventions by IT support staff. Secure virtual applications and desktop session resets were some of the most common incident types.
The need for resets can be caused by a variety of factors, such as networking issues, forgotten passwords, or an issue with the IT organization’s chosen authentication policies, such as SSO or MFA.
These events could have significant impacts on doctors, nurses, patients, and families, as an inability to access patient records in EPIC, for example, would produce delays in consultations, diagnosis, and treatment planning.
When multiplied across Novant Health’s extensive estate, it was calculated that thousands of hours of productive time were being lost waiting for a reset to be done manually, potentially damaging the experiences of thousands of patients.
“If your session hangs, you can’t do your work, it’s as simple and final as that,” explains Director of Service Delivery, Brian Nuernberg. “Your options were to reboot your PC, which didn’t always work, or call the service desk, sit on hold and then wait for the session to be manually reset.
“Resolution this way takes anything between five and 15 minutes away from frontline healthcare professionals and IT support staff too—and that’s hugely significant and expensive. Because of its importance, we had made numerous attempts to solve the problem, but each was unsatisfactory.”
Director of Service Delivery
The solution came in the form of a collaboration between a Novant Health process architect and the organization’s strategic technology partners, ServiceNow and Citrix, with an automated ServiceNow Virtual Agent integration benefiting as many as 16,000 Citrix service users throughout the Novant Health ecosystem.
Leveraging ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM) Pro and powered by ServiceNow Integration Hub, the solution plugs into the Citrix ITSM Connector app, automating the resets within the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops service, regardless of location or the device being used.
“Once we’d identified the solution, it was full steam ahead, out-of-the-box it worked really well,” says Nuernberg. “It was a great collaboration with our colleagues at ServiceNow and Citrix. I think we all realized that this was a real breakthrough solution for Novant Health, and everyone moved very quickly and skillfully to get this in place as soon as possible.
“We were so confident in the solution we decided to go for a full deployment, available for everyone immediately, rather than carrying out a phased rollout, which was achieved in just two months in the summer of 2021.”
Unlimited potential use
The integration produced an immediate deflection rate of 20%, quickly rising to almost 30% of an average of 100 requests per day—with adoption rates of 50% now a minimum target, as knowledge of the solution is shared within the organization.
“There’s actually no limit to how far we can push these adoption rates once we have built awareness of the solution’s availability, its ease of use, and the benefits,” explains Nuernberg.
“It’s about encouraging people who have been used to picking up the phone to the helpdesk to make the change because it’s in everyone’s interests. We’re also seeing staff across the board embracing it and spreading the word, encouraging their colleagues to use it too.”
With resets now completed in 30 seconds, the solution is unlocking thousands of hours of productive time, for doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and administrators too, time previously lost while users waited for a manual resolution.
The user experience has been enhanced for all staff, at a workstation or using mobile and shared devices, with ServiceNow Virtual Agent available in the Service Portal, Now Mobile, Teams, and Slack.
Most importantly for the achievement of Novant’s Health’s core mission, the experience for patients and their families is uninterrupted with fast and consistent access to medical records in EPIC and other patient care apps now the norm.
And with many repetitive manual fixes now eliminated, IT helpdesk teams can now be assigned to higher value, more rewarding tasks. Next, Novant Health plans to explore whether the principles of the ServiceNow and Citrix session reset solution can be applied to address similar IT issues elsewhere in the organization.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to give this valuable time back to our frontline staff, allowing them to focus on what their primary role is, which is all about delivering a remarkable patient experience. Everyone’s a winner.”
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