March 23, 2023

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For Hackensack Meridian Well being CIO, a yr of change

For Hackensack Meridian Well being (HMH), 2021 was a yr of huge change.

The New Jersey healthcare community with 17 hospitals rolled out hundreds of Chromebooks to workers to help a speedy shift to distant work for a lot of employees. The deployment was additionally step one in a wider challenge that concerned changing Workplace 365 with Google Workspace for 40,000 staff and the adoption of Google’s Cloud Platform.

HMH’s transfer to Google was accelerated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, pushed by the sudden the necessity to help workers that have been capable of working exterior healthcare amenities.

“At the start of the pandemic…, we didn’t have a full UC platform rolled out,” stated Mark Eimer, senior vp and affiliate CIO and CTO at Hackensack Meridian Well being. “Most of our purposes work very nicely inside our 4 partitions, however they did not work for a real cell workforce.

“The pandemic compelled us to pivot in a short time. When our CEO stated everybody that’s not doing direct affected person care must earn a living from home, we bought 3,000 Chromebooks, bought them configured in kiosk mode and mainly despatched folks house.”

Mark Eimer, senior vice president and associate CIO and CTO at HMH Hackensack Meridian Well being

Mark Eimer, senior vp and affiliate CIO and CTO at Hackensack Meridian Well being.

The rollout of Chromebooks was a hit, stated Eimer, and led to a rise within the variety of telehealth visits carried out through the pandemic. And with distant employee productiveness rising throughout this time (to the extent that HMH employed a chief wellness officer to handle worker burnout) the hospital community plans to proceed its hybrid distant technique long run.

The {hardware} rollout has additionally now been prolonged to five,000 Chrome OS units to extra frontline staffers. What started with non-direct affected person care this yr, in addition to 50 ambulatory websites, can be expanded to all hospitals starting in January. (Staffers entry HMH’s Epic well being report system through Citrix Workspace on the Chromebook units.)

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“By the tip of 2022, we can be one of many few, if not the one, massive built-in supply well being networks which have rolled out Google Workspace and Chrome OS throughout the board,” he stated.

Ransomware threats

Why did HMH select to distribute Chrome OS-based units?

“Safety is one driving issue, simplicity is one other,” stated Eimer. “If I take into consideration operational help within the area…, there’s a lot complexity on a Home windows gadget. We’re eradicating all of that, which allows the gadget as well up quicker, and permits a clinician to log in faster due to the simplicity of the Chrome OS platform.”

By way of safety, ransomware is a key consideration for any healthcare group, with the trade itself a rising goal. It’s significantly pertinent for HMH, which fell sufferer to a ransomware assault two years in the past.

Eimer stated that Chrome OS units are a much less seemingly goal for ransomware than Home windows units, as a result of prevalence of Microsoft’s working system.

“There are 12 ransomware assaults on firms each single day,” he stated. “We all know that Microsoft Home windows is a focused platform. Whether or not it’s to a Linux-based platform on the desktop or within the knowledge middle, our objective is to attempt to transfer off as many Microsoft platforms as we will, as a result of it’s vastly focused.”

Swapping Workplace 365 for Google Workspace

One other facet of the Google partnership has been a change from Microsoft’s Workplace 365 to Google’s Workspace productiveness and collaboration software suite. This meant transferring all 40,000 HMH staff in a single “large bang” migration. “We’re previous implementation and we’re now in optimization,” stated Eimer.

HMH makes use of many of the apps within the Workspace suite, together with Docs, Meet, Chat and Areas, because it phases out Microsoft’s productiveness and collaboration software program suite.

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“We have been on Workplace 365 for years. For those who have a look at Workplace 365…, Microsoft tried to patch collectively plenty of purposes. They don’t seem to be very seamless, they do not work nicely collectively.”

Customers have discovered that transferring between Workspace apps is extra intuitive, with the person instruments built-in extra successfully. “Whereas a few of that is out there in Workplace, it isn’t stitched collectively as seamlessly as it’s in Google,” he stated.

Workspace app options and performance are only one facet of transfer. As a healthcare group with tight budgets, saving cash was one other key driver for the change, stated Eimer.

“Microsoft is continuous to extend the value round Workplace 365…. The common healthcare supplier has a 2% working margin: I can not proceed to pay exorbitant charges on the Microsoft facet and nonetheless have each state and federal governments preserve decreasing reimbursement charges: I am getting squeezed on each side,” he stated.

The migration of 40,000 staffers to Workspace

Managing the migration of tens of hundreds of workers from acquainted Workplace 365 instruments to Google’s suite was no small feat, least of all throughout a pandemic. Help from senior leaders was essential, stated Eimer.

“I sat very intently with our government management workforce to make sure, a number of occasions, that I had government chief purchase in and help. If I did not have that, then I wasn’t transferring ahead,” he stated.

However, managing the challenge was a serious endeavor. “We spent a major period of time on organizational change administration. [This included] partnering with our studying and growth workforce inside HR. We constructed a useful resource web site with self-paced, web-based coaching, so that everybody might study on their very own time and personal schedule,” he stated.

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Different features of the rollout included internet hosting webinars on using Workspace apps, in addition to periods for government admins who wanted to help a number of executives, and department-level coaching the place required.

“We over-communicated a number of occasions in regards to the useful resource web site and schedule,” stated Eimer. “We additionally spun up a selected Google service desk, particularly for the ‘go-live,’ and we had a command middle to handle any points and issues on the time.”

As a result of the 2 platforms function in several methods, change can take some adjusting to.

“We spent plenty of time on explaining ‘in Phrase, you do that, and in Google Docs, you do it this fashion,’ as a result of lots of people tried to take what they realized in Microsoft and do it in Google. It is actually nearly acclimation, as a result of Workspace, for probably the most half, is about 80% [feature] parity-even with Workplace.”

Though many of the migration is completed, there’s nonetheless a solution to go to finish the transition from to Workspace. “We nonetheless have 5,000 folks utilizing Microsoft Workplace, and the objective is to completely do away with Microsoft Workplace, so we’re nonetheless engaged on that.”

HMH is speaking with Google executives about tailoring Workspace apps to go well with the workflows particular to healthcare workers. The hospital community will even proceed to increase its use of the Google Cloud Platform, significantly round using Large Question databases going ahead.

“Our objective at Hackensack Meridian Well being is to drag out the bulldozer and construct a complete new path for healthcare and life sciences, leveraging the Google platform to be the productiveness and finish consumer gadget platform of alternative, and to get it to work seamlessly in healthcare,” stated Eimer.

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