About Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust (the Trust) offers both acute services, centered on North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) in Barnstaple, and community services across a network of 17 community hospitals and nine clusters. At any one time, the Trust supports 6,000 patients in their own homes and 600 people in hospital beds. It employs more than 4,300 staff and serves a population of nearly 500,000 with a budget of £209 million.
In April 2011, the Trust acquired the community services serving Exeter, East, and Mid Devon, as well as the pan-Devon specialist community services such as bladder and bowel, podiatry, and sexual health.
With 4,500 business users and 3,000-plus workstations under management, the Trust’s IT department faced the challenge of continuing to deliver excellent support services to a far larger number of users.
Cameron Stephens, IT desktop support supervisor at the Trust, said, “In recent years, investment in IT in the Trust has increased and, combined with the effect of the merger, this has intensified demand for support services. We often had 50 people with requests of varying degrees of urgency calling the helpdesk simultaneously—putting huge strain on our telephone operators.”
The Trust realized that its legacy support management solution was no longer able to cope with the high service levels for this enlarged user base. In addition, the system lacked the flexibility to support those staff using mobile devices.
“The Trust’s services are spread over hundreds of square miles in rural Devon, so a support solution based on engineers physically travelling long distances between sites was not a cost-effective proposition,” said Geoff Smith, IT strategy and development manager.
"We needed to re-think our approach to help us deliver a more efficient service for users throughout the Trust.”
After reviewing support management solutions from different vendors, the Trust chose Service Desk.
“We selected Service Desk because we were impressed with its built-in self-service portals,” said Cameron Stephens. “Furthermore, as long-term users of ZENworks Configuration Management, we realized that we could leverage our extensive catalog of ZENworks assets to augment the capabilities of the solution.”
“Service Desk is running in parallel with our legacy solution, and we are in the final stages of migrating to the new platform,” said Cameron Stephens. “The direct support we receive from Novell (now part of Micro Focus) has been faultless—their engineers are always on hand when we need advice or assistance.”
Thanks to its Service Desk solution, the Trust has gained the ability to transform its IT support processes in line with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices—including support for tablet devices.
“Using our legacy support management solution, our helpdesk was inundated with telephone calls—making it difficult to identify and prioritize the most urgent enquiries,” said Cameron Stephens.
“Today, users can raise tickets for minor issues via a self-service portal and receive a timely response via email. This frees our telephone operators to deal with the most critical support requests—enabling us to deliver a better user experience, and much faster fix times.”
The combination of Service Desk and an extensive catalog of ZENworks assets has also helped to boost efficiency.
“Using Service Desk and ZENworks Configuration Management, our engineers can work on a PC 30 miles away as if they were sitting in front of it,” said Geoff Smith. “By taking remote control of the affected system, we can perform the vast majority all of the actions required to complete support requests—such as modifying settings, applying patches and installing software. This improves the resilience of our business-critical healthcare systems and IT service.”
With Service Desk and ZENworks, Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has achieved its objective of improving the efficiency of its support desk.
“Today, we can offer a larger population of users an even better level of service than before,” said Cameron Stephens. “What’s more, the advanced reporting tools in Service Desk enable us to highlight these improvements to our directors in the Trust.”