NHS Hampshire uses a centralized monitoring and management system based on Novell ZENworks Configuration Management. This allows them to manage widely scattered workstations and servers remotely, saving significant time and effort.
About NHS Hampshire
NHS Hampshire is the UK's largest NHS Primary Care Trust. The organisation works closely with 147 GP practices across 200 sites, 197 dental practices, 207 pharmacies and 155 optician practices, managing the delivery of a diverse range of high-quality primary care services to Hampshire residents.
With a large, fast growing IT estate including more than 3,600 workstations and 300 servers, NHS Hampshire was struggling to ensure consistent standards of IT support across all sites.
Many of the GP practices, dental practices, pharmacies and optician practices lack skilled in-house IT staff, so NHS Hampshire engineers were required to visit multiple different locations to provide maintenance and support. This was not only time-consuming for the engineers, who might spend several hours travelling to apply a five-minute fix—it was also disruptive and costly for the practices themselves.
Each time a new piece of software needed to be rolled out, or a set of security patches applied, practices without in-house staff would need to wait for an engineer to visit. As site visits were conducted during working hours, this sometimes meant temporarily shutting down key systems during the working day.
To provide a more effective and cost-efficient IT support service to the practices, NHS Hampshire decided to introduce remote management. The organisation selected an appliance solution created by Novell for NHS Trusts, based on Novell ZENworks® Configuration Management.
"Every practice has its own clinical system and uses Microsoft Office," said Andy Eyles, Head of ICT Primary Care for NHS Hampshire. "We wanted to implement the Novell appliance as part of our strategy to reduce costs, improve service delivery and reduce our carbon footprint."
NHS Hampshire worked with Healthcare Computing Limited, a leading provider of IT support solutions to UK Primary Care providers, to select and deploy the solution. With highly skilled consultants who have deep domain knowledge, Healthcare Computing is able to provide a high-quality alternative to in-house resources.
The Novell ZENworks solution is supplied pre-configured on a Fujitsu TX120 server running Novell Open Enterprise Server on SUSE® Linux Enterprise Server, and can be rapidly and easily deployed at multiple branch locations.
"The small form-factor of the Fujitsu TX120 means it can fit in anywhere," said Mick Smith, IT Manager at Fordingbridge Surgery.
When the rollout of the Novell appliance is complete, all NHS Primary Care locations in Hampshire will enjoy centralised software deployment and support. Healthcare Computing handles the management of the entire infrastructure, using a Central Management Directory (CMD) to store information about all the hardware and software assets on the extended network. The CMD is the basis for all monitoring, maintenance and support tasks, and also provides a clear and accurate IT asset inventory.
Using Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, the Healthcare Computing team is able to deploy new software, fixes and patches from a central location to any NHS Hampshire machine. The solution brings new clarity and control to the process of managing workstations and servers, and significantly reduces disruption by enabling automated overnight software deployment.
With remote software deployment and patching powered by Novell ZENworks Configuration Management, NHS Hampshire has significantly accelerated software maintenance tasks while significantly cutting costs. The need for central IT staff to travel to remote sites has been largely eliminated, which also reduces the organisation's travel expenses and carbon footprint.
Users in the practices benefit from a more reliable working environment, with faster deployment of new functionality and security updates. They also experience far less downtime during their working day, as most maintenance takes place overnight.
"In the past, these processes would have been very obtrusive," said Andy Eyles. "Now, they can be performed when the practice is closed. Not every practice has in-house IT skills, but that is no longer a problem, as we now have a much more dynamic infrastructure in place and all systems can be managed remotely. Novell ZENworks Configuration Management and the services from Healthcare Computing make it much more convenient for practice staff and for our patients."
The Novell remote management solution has had an enthusiastic reception from GPs and practice managers, who appreciate the improvements in the reliability and performance of their IT systems. Equally, they value the non-disruptive nature of the new software maintenance processes.
"More and more IT systems are web-based, so it makes a lot of sense to have a system that can be used to manage and upgrade applications remotely," said Mick Smith. "The appliance solution from Novell and Healthcare Computing means we have no disruption to day-to-day work in the surgery."
NHS HAMPSHIRE AT A GLANCE:
The largest NHS Primary Care Trust in the UK.
- Reduced requirements for on-site visits, cutting costs and carbon footprint
- Provided a clear inventory of software and hardware assets across multiple locations
- Reduced support costs and enabled non-disruptive maintenance
"We wanted to implement the Novell appliance as part of our strategy to reduce costs, improve service delivery and reduce our carbon footprint."
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