Forming a Converged Infrastructure Team Fosters Collaboration and Delivers Immediate Benefits

Having a converged infrastructure (CI) team was a new concept for us. Like most IT groups, we’d built and maintained our own infrastructure. We had people with solid skills in specific domains, such as servers, storage, or networking. But what once seemed like the perfect solution, no longer scaled efficiently to meet our needs.

ProMedica is a mission-based, not-for-profit
building healthcare organization serving northwest Ohio and
southeast Michigan. The 12-hospital system has more than 15,000 employees and more than 900 healthcare providers employed by ProMedica Physicians. Additionally it offers a health plan, Paramount, which serves 320,000 members including more than 225,000 members in the statewide Medicaid plan. Driven by its Mission to improve your health and well-being, ProMedica offers a full range of diagnostic, medical and surgical specialties in areas such as emergency medicine and trauma, behavioral health, heart and vascular, oncology, orthopaedics, neurology, and women’s and children’s services. The health system has been nationally recognized for its advocacy programs and efforts to raise awareness about hunger as a health issue.

The converged Infrastructure platform enabled our newly formed integrated IT team to collaborate and learn together. It was clear who had what responsibilities and the best options for minimizing downtime and successful outcomes.

Promedica IT teamFrom a cultural perspective, team members adapted quickly to the new hardware. We selected folks who were more open to trying out new things. They were excited about the challenge to upgrade their skill sets and gain CI experience. And they were especially enthusiastic about learning the entire stack, so they could work together more efficiently and productively—and deliver greater value to the business.

Training on the Vblock® Systems took from three to six months. We situated the team members in cubicles right next to each other—to enable seamless knowledge transfer and enhanced collaboration. Our objective was to stop people from thinking, “It’s a network issue” or “It’s an application issue.” We told them, “It’s your issue.”

 As an organization, we started to realize the benefits right away. Team members really understand what’s happening “under the hood” and have the knowledge and ability to go deep into the technology, which has translated into improved patient care and a better working environment.

Unplanned downtime has been eliminated and we’re at 100% availability on our Epic EHR, which is so critical for patient care. System performance is excellent. We can scale up swiftly for a new system or service—provisioning VMs in only minutes compared to hours before. Incidents are handled quickly, with no finger-pointing like there was in the past. And we can now be proactive, rather than reactive—able to follow an annual plan instead of going project by project.

About the Author: Pande Anshul