University College London Hospitals (UCLH) comprises six hospitals across London, making it one of the largest trusts in the NHS.
Providing academically-led acute and specialist healthcare services, it saw over 160,000 inpatients and more than 950,000 outpatients during the last year.
IT plays a fundamental role in enabling the trust to deliver top-quality patient care, and world-class research and education. As part of this, the ICT team has an obligation to the trust’s users and patients to deliver robust and secure services that will allow its frontline practitioners to carry out their work effectively.
While the ICT team works hard to constantly improve the levels of system availability, performance and service quality across the trust’s technical estate, it is also continually looking for ways of reducing costs and freeing up resources.
Having access to accurate information supports good decision-making. This allows us to improve our technical estate, the management of our suppliers, and the delivery or services to users and patients
As a number of aspects of UCLH’s technical estate, such as its service desk, are outsourced, the ICT team required greater intelligence on the performance and utilisation of IT assets across its estate. Insight like this was needed in order to improve efficiency and better plan for longer-term strategic investments.
For Ronnie Skillen, ICT service transition manager at UCLH, a solution was required that would allow his team to increase value, drive down costs and improve productivity.
He said: “Having access to accurate information supports good decision-making. This allows us to improve our technical estate, the management of our suppliers, and the delivery or services to users and patients.”
The intelligence that Nexthink’s IT analytics provides offers an end-user’s perspective of the trust’s IT system in real-time, allowing the ICT team to monitor, manage and pro-actively respond to performance and security issues across the estate, tackling them before they become problems.
In its first year of using Nexthink’s analytics, UCLH’s ICT department has become proactive in its approach to incident management, security, and the rationalisation of its IT technical estate, leading it to become a more intelligent buyer of products and services.
Since its implementation in 2014, Nexthink has rapidly enabled us to become a more pro-active provider of technical services
“Since its implementation in 2014,” said Mark Taglietti, head of ICT service delivery and vendor management at UCLH, “Nexthink has rapidly enabled us to become a more pro-active provider of technical services.
“It has proven beneficial across a number of areas including incident management, sustainability, security and cost reduction.”
One example of where UCLH is seeing a return on investment is in its PC estate. The trust had previously paid for a service where PCs were automatically refreshed every four years. Now, with Nexthink’s IT analytics in place, PC performance is monitored on a day-to-day basis, meaning those devices that aren’t performing properly can be eliminated and the trust is able to upgrade assets when necessary and make more-targeted investments going forward.
Additionally, due to insight into individual users of Windows XP, Skillen and his team have been able to successfully plan an aggressive migration to Windows 7. Identifying those PCs that hadn’t yet been refreshed allowed the team to make a case-by-case decision on whether a new machine was required, a low-cost hardware or operating system upgrade to Windows 7, or a replacement PC from refurbished stock.
The trust’s IT security has also seen benefits from Nexthink’s analytics. By being able to quickly and pro-actively identify batches of PCs infected by known malware undiscovered by existing security tools, the ICT team is able to prioritise its mitigation tactics, often identifying and isolating vulnerabilities before users are aware of them.
Skillen describes Nexthink’s end-user analytics as ‘easing the way of supporting the IT environment, while improving the delivery of information to users’.
He added: “This translates to not only a better user experience, but also an improved patient experience throughout the health service.”