Be a Healthcare IT Hero….Not a Superhero……

As we roll into the warmer weather, all things are turning to the familiar sights and sounds of summer. One of my favorite signs of summer, aside from the rising mercury, is the arrival of the big budget summer blockbusters. The key to a good summer movie, besides the explosions and potential worldwide catastrophe, is the hero. Fast, strong, dependable, nothing is better than a hero; except maybe a team of superheroes.

Sadly, as healthcare IT professional, we lack laser vision, and the ability to fly, but we can help those that depend on us by being faster, stronger, and available (without the need of a roof-top spotlight with a copyrighted logo).

Most of the IT leaders I speak with feel like IT can and should be more aligned with the business and be able to provide services faster, with cost transparency, all while protecting patient and business sensitive data, also serving users who work inside the healthcare system facilities but do not work for the system directly as employees. What I tell them is that to be an IT hero, cataloging what you deliver as a “Well-Defined Service” is the first step.

According to a study by EMC and VMware 52% of healthcare IT professional do not have a self-service portal or service catalog in place. That number balloons to 92%, when we include those that have just started to develop a service catalog but have not fully implemented one.


A well-defined service in most cases is based on what you already offer today, just more carefully cataloged. For example, if you offer a clinical desktop today using VDI, a well-defined service may involve:

  • Creating a standard definition for a clinical desktop (or a set of clinical desktops if applications vary). This includes determining the applications to be delivered.
  • Calculating the storage, network and compute resource needed to support a clinical desktop.  For example, an individual desktop is expected to consume X amount of storage, Y% of virtual server CPU, Z amount of network bandwidth and a single thin client device.
  • Defining the process for delivering a clinical desktop including approval cycle and delivery of the thin client device and the roles and associated.
  • Defining the support model including roles and associated labor.

Once you have these pieces in place the IT organization can define expectations, and offer a more consumer-like service. Let’s look at a quick example of where having a well-defined service improves IT response time and user-experience.

One of our major healthcare clients has a very large presence in the grant funded clinical research community. They noticed that their grant win rate was dropping off and investigation revealed that they had a reputation for having trouble meeting grant objectives due to cost and schedule overruns associated with assembling data and making it available to researchers.

The solution was to create an analytics sandbox service that allowed users to access a portal and select the data sets and tools they needed for their research. The selections in the portal are automatically provisioned and resource consumption is tracked, allowing for a better charge back model. In this case, creating a well-defined service turned a competitive weakness into a strength.

Over the next few weeks I will post additional blogs on how EMC’s Global Services has partnered with healthcare organizations worldwide to deliver IT as a Service. Future blogs will focus on:

  • Fast Food Nation – Ordering up a clinical desktop with specific services for the cardiac department should take hours, not weeks or months.
  • Eliminating Shadow IT- Work with, not against the solution providers who market to your organizations’ departments
  • Cost Transparency – Know how much of the budget is going where, so the budget isn’t based on a % of what you got last year, it is an accurate look at what is being used, or better yet will be used.

By taking a step by step approach to creating well-defined services you can reconnect with your users, making IT accessible, easier to user, and enable them think more about their job, then the IT service they are using to complete it. It might not make you a superhero, worthy of a summer blockbuster, but you will have taken the first step to something much greater – and done so without a mask.

For information on how Dell EMC Services can help, check out our IT Transformation Workshop healthcare.

Continue Reading the Series:

Best Places to Start in IT Transformation – What CIOs Are Telling Us
IT Service Strategy: Catalogs and Portals
State of IT Transformation – CIOs Want More Automation
IT Execs Plan to Reduce Software Development Release Cycle Times by 75-90%
State of IT Transformation – Solving the Operating Model Challenge
How Do You Determine if Your Legacy App is Suitable for a Public Cloud?
Are You An IT Service Fast Food Junkie?

About the Author: Roger Burnett

Roger Burnett is a Health Sciences Industry Solution Leader, with 20+ years of IT and consulting experience, including positions with American Management System, Fujitsu, Interlink and Dell EMC. He joined EMC (now Dell EMC) via acquisition in 2006, left in 2010 to run a boutique healthcare consultancy specializing in healthcare application data integration. Roger rejoined EMC in 2012 and currently supports the Transformation Workgroup focusing on offering based engagements and pre-sales. Roger graduated from Brigham Young University. He has an extensive background in application architecture and development. Roger started his career building enterprise applications with a specialty skill in re-skinning legacy applications with (what was then) modern user interfaces. This approach of separating data and transactions from the user experience led to being an early adopter of Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). As the healthcare industry became increasingly digital, Roger became a subject matter expert in using SOA strategies to allow systems to exchange information. As an extension of being skilled in accessing and distributing healthcare data, Roger has become a valued resource to clients and projects migrating, analyzing and organizing data.