Stanford Hospital & Clinics (SHC) is known worldwide for advanced patient care provided by its physicians and staff, particularly for the treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiac care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. SHC is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report annual list of “America’s Best Hospitals.” “Our IT group is charged with leveraging technology to benefit patients, ensuring the best practices in the industry, and deploying the most sound and cost-effective infrastructure,” says Carolyn Byerly, SHC’s Chief Information Officer, describing her team’s mission.
Stanford Hospital & Clinics’ IT department provides support and connectivity to approximately fifty clinics in the San Francisco Bay Area; supporting their access to the public switched telephone network; electronic health record systems; and other clinical applications from the hospital. Prior to vCom, SHC IT managed all carrier relationships directly – ordering, implementing, and providing service and support. Costs, billing and contract validation were hard to control; while reconciliation of rates and inventory was almost impossible. When clinics moved or technology changed, it stressed the system further to determine and track what inventory was needed, and what inventory to disconnect. With more than fifty monthly invoices, it was difficult to allocate costs to the various business units. Consequently, those business unit leaders had trouble controlling their budgets because they couldn’t see the details on the costs they were allocated.
In addition to managing existing infrastructure, the IT team also had a couple of major projects on the horizon. First, they wanted to take on a new state-of-the-art telemedicine project to interconnect multiple clinics to the hospital and to one another. They lacked the internal resources to evaluate multiple network solutions to see which would provide the best technology to deliver optimal bandwidth for the initiative. Second, SHC needed to build a new advanced network infrastructure, with full carrier fault-tolerance, as part of migrating all its applications and data warehouses to three new geographically diverse data centers.
- Manage multiple carrier networks
- Track inventory and validate rates
- 50+ invoices per month
- Limited resources for major network infrastructure projects
- Consolidate management of voice and data services under vCom
- Source and implement high-speed data services to support telemedicine initiative
- Design, source and implement fully redundant network architecture
- An extended IT team consisting of vCom’s experts
- A single invoice for all telecom expenses
- Cost and time savings due to the visibility and automation provided by vManager software
vCom’s initial project for SHC was to take over the management of the voice and data services that connected all of the clinics. This consolidated not only the billing, but also the complete management of multiple carriers across the technologies employed at each site. It also allowed SHC to automatically allocate costs to the business unit leaders so they could better understand and control costs.
The next project vCom completed was to manage the implementation of a high speed data network to support the telemedicine project. Finally, vCom worked with SHC IT to architect, source, and manage the implementation of the entire network infrastructure underlying more than 100 clinical applications. vCom’s engineering and design team formulated a fully-redundant and fault tolerant solution. Its professional services team managed the carrier implementation and migration with minimal disruption to SHC. “vCom collaborated with our IT consultants and the SHC internal team to lay out and execute the plan for a multi-site data center migration, bridging the gap between the data center company and the ISP, negotiating build schedules, and ensuring services were delivered correctly,” said Elizabeth Williams, Technology Delivery Manager. “I can’t imagine managing multiple telecom carriers through a complex implementation, and making all of the pieces of the project come together without vCom.”
The vCom team is now an extension of SHC’s IT team, providing specialized expertise in the latest technologies to meet Stanford’s future business requirements, while pushing the carriers to make solution enhancements on SHC’s behalf. The new network architecture supports 100% uptime and SHC’s stringent requirements for latency and redundancy. vCom’s vManager software consolidates all of SHC’s telecom expenses into a single invoice, and provides full visibility into inventory and services. In addition to all the efficiency that SHC has gained, and the associated soft-savings, this newfound visibility has resulted in $33,000 in annual savings from disconnecting unused lines alone. Automated GL coding and AP posting saves time and empowers business unit leaders to understand and control their spending.