Focus on: Optimizing Operations, Empowering Employees

On the East Coast, Michael, a physical therapist, has five patient visits lined up for the day. His first three go smoothly, but as he arrives at the fourth appointment, he’s informed that his patient seems to be reacting poorly to her medication and isn’t feeling strong enough for the session. He logs into the system to pull Caroline’s file, but when he tries to pull a similar file for another patient that had the same issue just a few months ago to see how it was handled, he runs into compatibility issues. A scheduled mandatory team meeting an hour away means he won’t have time to determine how best to help Caroline and still make it to his last appointment. He tries to reach a colleague for input, but because his team is out in the field, he’s not able to reach anyone quickly.

For healthcare providers, situations like Michael’s just aren’t acceptable.

In the heart of the Midwest, Amy, an in-home nurse, is caring for Joe, an elderly patient in hospice care. She’s providing critical support for not only Joe, but also for his family during these last days of his life. A 2:00 meeting with her healthcare team won’t prevent her from being present if she’s needed. She simply signs in with Skype. And when one of Joe’s adult sons has a question, she quickly uses Instant Message to consult a colleague in an entirely different location and is able to provide a more thorough response.

This is a real story of digital transformation.

Enhanced quality of life when it matters most

Celtic Healthcare is dedicated to providing “Innovative Healthcare at Home” for patients and their families during medical recovery, aging, and end-of-life. Their 13 locations across the region employ more than 1,500 care providers—1,000 of whom are in-home nurses, therapists, and health professionals in the field—an office staff of about 280 employees, and another 200 field associates that handle management, operations, and specialty services. Together, they are committed to delivering extraordinary customer communication, boosting healthcare outcomes, and enhancing the quality of life for patients and their families.

Rapid growth of their hospice and home healthcare business meant Celtic Healthcare needed to upgrade their systems and find an all-encompassing solution that would enable them to streamline processes, incorporate the most innovative technologies, and scale as they grew. This search for a more efficient process led Jonathan Bost, Director of IT Infrastructure at Celtic Healthcare, to connect with Microsoft partner, Enabling Technologies. For Celtic, collaborating with Microsoft opened the doors to a digital transformation.

Optimizing operations for rapid growth

The first step in Celtic Healthcare’s digital transformation was simply moving their email to the cloud. This migration allowed them to reduce the cost of managing internal servers and allowed IT to focus on growth initiatives. What they didn’t expect was the expanding list of productivity tools that they could access through Office 365. As new growing pains cropped up, Celtic Healthcare turned to Enabling Technologies to help them not only tackle the issues, but plan for the future.

As the company expanded into the Midwest and Central states, departments began acting independently of one another, each rolling out different systems, causing compatibility issues and a lack of integration among teams. The Mergers & Acquisitions team had their hands full with audit trails and security, remaining compliant, creating guest accounts, and managing multiple credentials for new employees and vendors. Migrating to Planner, Office 365’s work management solution, helped the M&A team coordinate tasks at a high level and ensure everyone stayed on the same page.

Celtic Healthcare’s quick growth made capacity issues inevitable. Their data storage solution was not only outdated but exposed to disaster recovery risks. With patients under their care, downtime simply wasn’t an option. Exchange took the bulk of storage off on-premises servers, giving the system greater resiliency and the ability to rapidly scale upward.

Empowering employees anywhere, anytime

It’s critical that Celtic Healthcare employees, both in the office and out in the field, are able to operate efficiently, communicate effectively, and avoid downtime to provide optimal care for patients and their families. That means increasing employee mobility and encouraging continued growth.

That’s why Celtic Healthcare partnered with Microsoft and Enabling Technologies to equip its employees with the tools to create a fully mobile digital workforce. With Skype for Business, healthcare professionals in the field are able to stay in sync with office staff, allowing them to spend more time with patients in the field. Remote workers are able to attend team meetings, staff meetings, and hospice team meetings to review patient cases.

“Our clinical teams have meetings where they meet as a group to review patient cases,” Bost explains. “They still meet in person, but each face to face meeting still has a Skype component to it, because there’s always someone that can’t be physically there.” Beyond team meetings, Skype offers employees the confidence to spend more time with patients out in the field without worrying that they are missing an important call or can’t be easily reached.

Bost deployed a pilot of Instant Messaging (IM) in his IT department that was quickly picked up by the Human Resources department. Soon, the entire office was using IM. “We found that deploying Skype was not only more cost effective, but was the path of least resistance since users already adopted IM and conferencing,” said Bost. “It was easy to turn on all the features of Skype instead of getting piecemeal solutions that didn’t integrate properly.”

Now, all 280 employees at Celtic Healthcare’s headquarters use Skype for Business for dial tone and phone service.

“There’s a lot of Skype collaboration, being that we’re geographically dispersed,” says Bost.  “We see people sharing screens and IM’ing for questions.”  Even the knowledge that people are available is a plus.  “With the staff being so mobile, it’s nice to know when they’re at a computer or not. They spend a lot of time in their car, and Skype makes it easier to determine what methods of communication are available to them.”

With the addition of OneDrive, employees can share documents and avoid lockouts, saving them time and effort. Now every healthcare worker has instant access to patient files, due diligence spreadsheets, and other imperative documents, regardless of their location. That means faster processing, improved organization, and overall better service for patients. Celtic Healthcare’s drive to a digital transformation has allowed employees to collaborate in real-time and demonstrate enhanced productivity from the office, at home, or on the road.

Keeping the entire team up to date on the latest training and compliance requirements is easier, too. Celtic Healthcare’s education and staff development teams use SharePoint and Office 365 Video to quickly distribute content and important announcements to the 1,000 caregivers in the field.

Moving to the cloud has opened the door for positive changes at every level of Celtic Healthcare’s business. “Don’t be afraid, the cloud is a good thing!” Bost advises, adding, “It’s easy to use, easy to manage, and offers other added benefits coming with the bundled packages.” Digital transformation continues at Celtic Healthcare, as the company is evaluating Cloud PBX for enterprise voice.

With Microsoft and Enabling Technologies, Celtic Healthcare is doing more than upgrading their data storage. Smarter, more efficient services are helping Celtic better serve thousands of patients and their families at critical stages of their lives.

Organizations across all industries are using the latest technology to reimagine what’s possible and do amazing things. Discover their stories and learn how your organization can begin its digital transformation journey today.

Michael and Amy’s stories are fictional and serve to illustrate a common situation.


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