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How did MultiCare improve its Digital Infrastructure?

Multicare

Discover how Netenrich's Resolution Intelligence Cloud helps MultiCare with its digital transformation challenges.

When an online retailer has an outage, the business impact could be lost revenue or a tarnished brand image. When a hospital has an outage, someone’s life could be at risk.

In an industry where the stakes are so high, no one strives to avoid outages more than Bradd Busick, the SVP and CIO for MultiCare, a non-profit healthcare organization that manages 10 hospitals and more than 230 clinics in the Pacific Northwest. By his own admission, he is not a career healthcare practitioner and yet, when COVID hit, the experience completely rewired him as a technologist — and healthcare provider.

Challenges:

The unbearable heaviness of being in healthcare IT

With more than 20,000 employees, MultiCare has grown from a Tacoma-centric, hospital-based organization into the largest community-based health system in Washington — and it continues to expand. As part of an aggressive merger and acquisition strategy, the organization plans to double in revenue and size over the next five years. But while each new acquisition brings benefits, it also comes with challenges, especially for digital operations. Just two years ago, the in-house IT team was struggling to keep pace with integrations, infrastructure consolidations, IT system rationalizations, and day-to-day operational responsibilities. Despite ample tools, they lacked proactive monitoring and on-demand visibility across the organization. Too often, IT was not the “first to know” of issues.

“I worked for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and, no doubt, philanthropic work is powerful. But nothing compares to when I joined MultiCare in early 2020 and became part of a care team who used emerging technology to help relatives say goodbye to quarantined loved ones. It was probably the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done — and it turned every pre-COVID technology strategy on its head and gave me the opportunity to start from scratch and innovate.”
-BRADD BUSICK

Other departments were informing them of problems, which occasionally led to critical systems crashing for hours, sometimes days.

In short, senior IT engineers were stuck fighting fires instead of preventing them.

“If our systems fail, the list of possible repercussions is long,” Busick said. “Doctors could lose access to patient records. Patients could go without meals. Someone with claustrophobia could get stuck in an MRI tube. That’s the weight our IT team carries.”

That weight is further burdened by limited funding, a talent shortage, and hindering interoperability issues. Historically, healthcare organizations have not made strong investments in IT, instead growing systems incrementally and, as a result, creating silos and interoperability issues. Moreover, they have outdated, fragile infrastructures that need updates, which in turn bring the risk of causing outages that could affect patient care.

“Just because we have more than 4,000 applications doesn’t mean we should. Getting them to communicate or sunsetting them is a challenge — because they are always part of someone’s critical strategy,” Busick said. “As a hospital, it was always a ‘keep the lights on’ approach, and we hadn’t been forced to address that technical debt.”
Further complicating matters was talent turnover.

“The talent war is real — and not just in technology, but also healthcare,” Busick said. “Since joining, I’ve seen a 20% staff turnover. Already, we didn’t have the talent to meet the demands of the business, but it’s tough to compete with the big players for the same skill sets. So, it was time to look for opportunities to do things differently.”

Solution:

Netenrich’s Resolution Intelligence Cloud addresses MultiCare’s digital transformation challenges

So, how does a healthcare organization improve digital infrastructure? MultiCare believes the future of healthcare centers around interoperability — and it was looking for a way to collect and transform interesting data from across the entire organization into actionable data.

Busick said, “We needed a solution that would continuously monitor key systems, automate processes, and provide real-time notification of serious issues so our professionals could focus on higher-value tasks and innovation. For us, that solution was the Netenrich Resolution Intelligence CloudTM platform.

“We engaged Netenrich to provide around-the-clock monitoring support,” he continued. “Netenrich understands our business, our challenges, and the Resolution Intelligence Cloud platform helps us turn an incredible amount of data — which had just been noise — into actionable insights. Since implementing the platform, we’ve reduced alert noise by 90%, and that’s only scratching the surface of the value the platform can provide.”

Moving forward, MultiCare plans to continue its “reactive to proactive” transformation.
Predictive insight into clinical equipment is on the road map — and it promises to be a
game changer.

“As we continue to gain greater situational awareness with Resolution Intelligence Cloud,” Busick concluded, “we believe we’ll be able to improve our ability to predict and fix issues before systems can go down and further demonstrate the positive impact IT can have on patient care and revenue.”

Outcomes and benefits:scale platform

When interesting data becomes actionable insights

Resolution Intelligence Cloud monitors MultiCare’s critical business systems — including Citrix, MyChart, PACS (a medical imaging technology) — for availability, performance, and capacity issues. The platform gathers, prioritizes, and presents curated, contextual data — like related alerts, tickets, assets, and user data — so the organization’s IT team knows where to focus first and has the information to move faster. With Resolution Intelligence Cloud, MultiCare has:

• 24x7x365 always-on monitoring and contextual intelligence
• AIOps, alert validation, noise analysis, and alert correlation
• Fine-tuned monitoring to reduce alerts by 90%
• Enhanced visibility with end-to-end application flow maps
• Improved availability and performance, reducing outages by 30%

The first rule for doctors is do no harm. MultiCare’s IT team follows a similar code. While they continue to carry the heavy responsibility of keeping critical systems up and running to safeguard patient health, they are pleased to have a platform that offsets the burden and gives them the leeway to fulfill their duty.

 

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