In the Emergency Room, IT Systems are a Matter of Life and Death
Because this emergency room operated on a hybrid model, combining emergency room and urgent care services, the company essentially operated two facilities in one building. The emergency room’s IT systems—from computers and printers to electronic records and medical equipment—needed to operate as smoothly as a healthy human central nervous system. If all systems didn't work, and work together seamlessly, the result could endanger someones life. When signs started to arise that the IT systems weren't operating at their best, they reached out to Centre's partners to get back on track.
Technology Challenge and IT Customer Experience
The principal of the emergency room's parent company led the project. “It cannot be overstated how critical the IT network is in our business,” she says. “When I hired Centre partners, I needed a map of the network. I needed hardware. I needed someone to negotiate services and work with vendors. And I needed it done on a tight, three-month timeline... on budget.”
“In a project like this, you cannot have your IT team stumble, but Centre partners understood what we needed. They got it immediately. Now I’ve found my dream team.”
Principal at Parent Company of Emergency Center in Plano, TX
An additional challenge with the ER's projects was the fact that the company was not building from the ground up. They were buying and renovating existing buildings. So, not only were Centre partners working to meet the actual IT needs, they were also part of what became a sort of “ER fixer upper” project. “We literally didn’t know what we were going to find when we opened the building door for the first time,” says the ER parent company's Principal. “In some cases, we had to completely rebuild the IT infrastructure. In other cases, they could use what was there. So I added that element of challenge for them and it didn’t faze them at all.”
When asked what made the difference between Centre partners and previous vendors, the parent company Principal said the Centre partner team was able to push other suppliers to meet deadlines without alienating them, and that they were able to offer friendly support to the end users in the company. “I’ve heard from my team that Centre's partner support team is consistently responsive,” she says. “Not all IT people are wired that way; but Centre's partners understand what we’re dealing with and know how to communicate to solve problems. They go above and beyond.”
IT Project Requirements
Centre partners worked with the ER to ensure that all Managed Services project objectives and timelines were met. The project’s priorities are described by the project manager below.
IT Project Scheduling
“Opening a new facility can mean dynamic scheduling with inspections, equipment delivery, and installation. Centre partners are proactive in communicating with the general contractors, clients, and medical professionals to coordinate the IT timeline with all parties.”
Managing IT Vendors
“From PACS (picture archiving communication system) to EMR (electronic medical records) to badge access vendors, Centre partners takes the lead in communicating with all parties regarding IT Network requirements, timeline and troubleshooting issues.”
Centre partners regularly coordinate with site contractors, reviewing state requirements, scheduling facility (and sometime occupancy) inspections. There are electrical inspections and medical equipment inspections. Physicians come in to certify CAT scan and X-ray equipment.
"It’s a huge amount of responsibility, and there’s no simple checklist out there that you can use. You have to have an in-depth understanding of each and every job."
Centre Technical Consultant
Centre partners not only install hardware, but also take the time to ensure staff members understand how to operate phones, desktops, scanners, and more. End-user education is critical to ensuring a positive and seamless experience during go-live.
Ongoing IT Support
Centre partners deliver 24/7 IT Support for ER Facilities. Emergency Rooms see patients at any hour of the day. It is critical for Centre partners team members to be available to troubleshoot issues range from wireless access, printer, desktop, and many more.
Ensuring Systems Uptime
99% uptime isn’t good enough for an ER. 99% means that there are still three days of downtime every year. And while there are updates that must be done to support HIPAA compliance, Centre partners coordinate with the ER staff on the precise timing of those updates. At the end of the day, an ER needs their systems to work every time.
The Principal of the ER's parent company had experienced frustrations with previous providers who failed to understand that the ER is a 24/7 operation, just like a hospital, and that down time directly affects patient care. "In a project like this, you cannot have your IT team stumble,” she says. “But Centre partners understood what we needed. They got it immediately. Now I’ve found my dream team.”
“Centre partners staff understands what we’re dealing with and knows how to communicate to solve problems. They go above and beyond.”
Principal at ER Parent Company
According to the Principal, Centre partners aren't the least expensive option, nor are they the most expensive. “I’ve had both of those,” she says. “What they are is the smartest solution out there.”
She offers this advice for others needing a reliable provider. “Things work more smoothly when you can clearly articulate what you want and have good communication,” she says. “And, don’t be dictatorial. Stay open to their recommendations because they’re very, very knowledgeable. Keep that dialogue open and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They’ll help you figure it out and you’ll be very happy with the end product.”
“One of the major takeaways from this project is the importance of selecting the right vendors for the job.”
Managed Services Manager with Centre Technologies
For many standalone emergency centers, it’s not just about getting the best deal on equipment. It’s about knowing that the vendor will have someone available 24x7 to support your operation. Freestanding ERs typically don’t have redundant systems. Centre provides IT help ensuring ER centers can serve patients without disruption.
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