Carroll Hospital has come a long way since their first patient walked through their doors nearly 50 years ago. What began as a small community hospital in Carroll County, MD has grown into a 213-bed hospital center with a full range of quality services including some of the most advanced operating rooms in the region, single room maternity services and a nationally recognized oncology program. The hospital also offers a host of outstanding outpatient services for emergency medicine, diabetes, wound care, cardiac and pulmonary rehab sleep medicine and oncology.
The hospital employs nearly 2,000 individuals, and has more than 400 physicians in 38 medical specialties on its medical staff. Many non-profits can not even dream of this kind of growth, but Carroll Hospital has made a habit of it.
Carroll Hospital had been using their existing messaging system for quite some time. The IT staff had deployed a number of bolt-on products and patchwork solutions to keep the system up and running as demand increased. The system, however, was beginning to become unstable and required maintenance more frequently each month. The hospital’s IT staff began to investigate potential alternatives to the existing messaging environment. As Assistant VP of Information Systems Kim Moreau put it, “The existing system simply no longer met the needs of the hospital in terms of security, reliability and speed. When these shortcomings began to affect the way the hospital was doing business, we realized a change had to be made quickly.”
Large hospitals like Carroll often need to fulfill requirements for eDiscovery, a communications archiving process that can be expensive and difficult to maintain, but is required to meet regulatory compliance standards. In addition, housing and servicing such storage systems in-house can be a daunting task for any IT department, let alone one also tasked with supporting complex medical systems.
Email is at the core of day-to-day operations at Carroll Hospital. The primary objective was to replace the GroupWise messaging system with a faster and more reliable alternative. Finding the right solution to this problem would provide an immediate and noticeable benefit to employees at all levels in the organization, and to the hospital’s bottom line as well.
For the eDiscovery system, Carroll Hospital’s lawyers recommended that the hospital implement a solution that could retain all electronic communications coming in and out of the hospital for the 10 years prior. These archives would need to be fully accessible and searchable at any time for legal purposes. Finding an eDiscovery solution that integrated with the new messaging system was of critical importance, and reducing the strain on Carroll’s IT staff to manage this system would be significant as well.
Lastly, Carroll was interested in moving away from issuing and supporting BlackBerry devices for its employees. Supporting mobile devices is far from a core competency of any hospital, so while Carroll intended to subsidize their employees’ mobile phone plans going forward, they wanted to shed the title of mobile device help desk. Carroll’s IT staff also wouldn’t hesitate to say their goodbyes to the costly BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES).
Carroll Hospital ended up choosing Google Apps for Education. The Google Apps platform solved all of their messaging issues, such as the instability and frequent maintenance of the old GroupWise system. Since Google Apps updates are made in the cloud by Google, this maintenance was one less task for Carroll’s IT staff to worry about. Moreau cited some of the most significant benefits that she’s noticed so far:
“The speed of the entire system, coupled with the near 100% reliability and uptime were enormous improvements over our legacy messaging environment. Our employees have also enjoyed the extensive customization available to them, and the ability to create and modify settings in every piece of the Google Apps system.”
Perhaps an even bigger win for Carroll Hospital was Google Message Discovery (GMD). GMD is an archiving service, powered by Google Postini Services, that retains a copy of all electronic communication sent, received or quarantined by the spam filter. The entire process is performed in the cloud, eliminating the need for on-site servers and storage capacity for eDiscovery. Carroll chose to go with GMD 10, which retains all electronic communication for the past 10 years’ time, satisfying their legal team’s requests. Moreau again stated the significance of this solution, “GMD 10 meets our requirements and allows us to avoid providing internal support for on-premise eDiscovery storage, all for a very reasonable price.”
Lastly, the flexibility of the Google Apps mobile solution was warmly received by both the administration and employees of the hospital. Following their Google Apps migration, Carroll’s employees are enjoying a more customized mobile experience, and they are also able to chose from a wider range of mobile devices, since Google Apps is truly platform agnostic, working seamlessly with BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Windows and others. Carroll Hospital is now able to subsidize employee mobile devices, rather than support them from end to end. Lastly, Carroll’s IT staff no longer has to maintain an on-site BES server for mobile company email. “This flexibility allows our employees to configure their own mobile plans, which for many meant that they could opt for a family plan and save a little bit of money each month,” said Moreau.
While Google Apps for Education gave Carroll Hospital a great return on its investment and a superior messaging platform, the solution also effectively allowed Carroll to outsource IT tasks like eDiscovery and mobile support that are critical to their business, but not core competencies of the hospital. The most important result of moving to Google Apps is the fact that Carroll Hospital can now focus more time, energy and resources on what it does best: providing the highest-quality care to its patients.
Read more about how Cloud Sherpas can help your company through a seamless Novell GroupWise to Google Apps migration.