Focus on: Optimizing Operations, Empowering Employees

Every day, thousands of New Jersey residents make the trip through Hudson County into Manhattan. Nancy isn’t one of them—she lives in Jersey City and works for CarePoint Health, a network of hospitals that operates three of the county’s biggest facilities: Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital, and Hoboken University Medical Center. But just because she doesn’t cross the river into New York City doesn’t mean she won’t face the traffic.

Nancy spends two to three hours commuting between CarePoint facilities every day. It’s seven miles from Bayonne Medical Center to Christ Hospital. If Nancy’s lucky, that means she’s only in traffic for a half hour, but if she encounters new construction, or if there’s an accident at Bayview Avenue and Caven Point Road, she can be twenty minutes late to a meeting she left an hour early to catch.

And Nancy isn’t the only one. Every administrator at CarePoint has a similar story—two-hour backups, four-meeting blitzes up and down I-78, and not to mention the drastically different communication systems at each facility. But now, with Office 365 and Skype for Business, CarePoint workers like Nancy can cut back on the commutes between each facility, and spend more time supporting their doctors. This is a real story of digital transformation.

Rising costs and commuter crisisAt few points in history has healthcare been as costly and complicated as it is today. Growing premiums, evolving policies, and shrinking reimbursements mean staying at the forefront of compliance requirements, treatment options, and technology solutions becomes more and more difficult every day. Hudson County felt the tightening financial demands facing care providers across the country as they witnessed Bayonne Medical Center, Christ Hospital, and Hoboken University Medical Center forced into bankruptcy over a ten year period.

CarePoint Health stepped into the gap to rebuild Hudson County’s failing health care system, acquiring the three facilities and their roughly 4,000 employees to better serve the area’s 674,000-plus residents, 31% of whom are seniors and children.  To best provide for their patients, CarePoint CTO Lev Goronshteyn recognized that the care network needed to start by rebuilding the organization’s infrastructure. “CarePoint Health’s legacy hospitals never had up to date infrastructure or communication platforms,” Goronshteyn explains. “We had servers that had been running for twenty years. We had a phone system that had been installed in 1989.”

As the CTO of CarePoint Health, Lev Goronshteyn oversees the IT infrastructure, networks, telecommunication systems, and other key applications across all three hospitals. Until recently, CarePoint hospitals’ outdated telecommunication system was built on existing on-premises infrastructure. Each location operated on its own system, with completely unrelated organization methods and processes. This meant no united employee directory and drastically different experiences from campus to campus.

After years of sluggish operations and communication, Goronshteyn recognized the need for change.
Streamlining operations with plug-and-play ITCarePoint’s efforts saw the organization unify its network-wide IT infrastructure in the cloud. The move eliminated their on-premises servers and created an organization-wide active directory for both communication and security purposes. These tools integrate into their existing Office 365 services for instant collaboration and operate on individual plug-and-play licenses for easy scalability.

Amid the excitement around these new cloud-based tools, it was their adoption of Skype for Business that initiated the greatest cultural change.

“It’s all unified, it’s not a dispersed product,” Goronshteyn explains, “Other products are focusing on just video conferencing or file sharing; this is a total solution for an enterprise. We didn’t have to stand up on-prem servers. We didn’t have to do much in order to get the solution running. We just had to use it and migrate our users toward it.”Saving time and saving livesUntil recently, care teams and administrators relied on third-party conference calling services that had become increasingly unreliable as their needs grew. The deteriorating situation forced CarePoint doctors and network leadership to join Hudson County’s 169,000+ commuters to travel between locations for a variety of meetings, check-ins, and conferences daily. These simple three to four mile commutes were half-hour headaches on a good day and transformed into hour-long lock-ups with the slightest hint of traffic. It was common for many hospital executives to spend hours each day commuting across a four-mile radius.

Goronshteyn explains, “Our executives were always traveling between sites. Now, instead of traveling between each location, our senior leadership can save two to three hours per day.”

Skype for Business allows hospital executives to directly message their colleagues, call in for video or voice conferencing, and share their desktop from one building to another, rather than having to travel across facilities for conferences or presentations. These communications upgrades save CarePoint’s top decision makers two to three hours every day in commute time.

In hindsight, the benefits appear obvious, but healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt new technologies. New initiatives like the one at CarePoint require planning and a shift in cultural mindset to succeed.

“If it makes [doctors] run even a second slower they’re always not going to like it,” Goronshteyn says. “They’ll say ‘It’s slowing me down, it’s not helpful, and I need something faster.’”

Lev explains that it’s by demonstrating the value of new tools like Skype for Business that organizations can implement sustainable change. “If you show [users] the right way to use these technologies and show them how this will improve their life, how this will make tasks faster, more efficient, then it’s a lot easier for them to say, ‘I want to learn this suite of products.’”

Driving digital transformationMoving forward, CarePoint Health hopes to explore new innovations including a full Cloud PBX voice transformation, a move that not only would allow them to better communicate with their coworkers and patients but would also make them one of the first healthcare providers worldwide to adopt a fully cloud-hosted communication system.

“It’s been a drastic change, but a positive one,” Goronshteyn says. “At the end of the day we need to improve our employees’ lives, not just our executives’. Doctors and nurses who then drive patient satisfaction — when you help a doctor you’re really helping a patient. You give them back an hour of their day, that equates to another hour they can give to a patient.”

We’re happy to join CarePoint Health in their mission to make Hudson County a healthier place.

Related Content,34,00