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Published in CenterView on June 25, 2012

New LANDesk system provides top-notch IT service through Epic transition . . . and beyond

By Bruce Coleman

In the days following the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s transition to an electronic health records system, the flurry of activity that was the Division of Information Systems’ Epic Command Center in the LC Building on Lakeland Drive would have reached critical mass but for a single piece of software infrastructure.

As the number of UMMC employee requests to the DIS Service Desk exploded from an average of 250 a day to close to 15,000 a day after the Epic switch was pulled June 1, a brand-new incident management system was given its greatest challenge.

Communications flowed so smoothly that no one outside of the command center would have suspected that DIS had implemented the LANDesk incident management system a mere four days before the Epic transition had taken place.

Kuiper_Lee“We had a very short amount of time to get an incident management system up and ready to be able to handle the amount of resources needed for Epic,” said Brindley Kuiper, director of IT operations. “We wanted a clean system, so we started from scratch, adding people to the system and configuring it. We didn’t import anything from the old system to the new one.”

According to Kuiper, the decision to convert to the LANDesk system so close to the organization-wide electronic health records implementation was bold, yet calculated.

“Going into Epic created a lot of change,” he said. “We needed to be able to manage that change much more efficiently. We were using another version of a service desk management tool, but it was about five or six years old. There was a need to upgrade that system due to its age and the vulnerability of that system.

“Knowing that Epic was coming, we thought it would be a good time to look at some of the different customer service tools that were available to help us manage the EHR transition.”
DIS leadership landed on LANDesk, not just for what it could provide IT staff during the Epic transition, but also for how it would help them manage Service Desk queries in the future.
Medical Center employees may continue to access the Service Desk by calling 4-1145 or e-mailing servicedesk@umc.edu. But the centerpiece of the new system is a state-of-the-art in-service portal that provides employees unprecedented access to their Service Desk queries 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“There’s a lot of automation behind LANDesk,” Kuiper said. “One of the most important aspects of this new system is the ability for end-users to log into their “myservicedesk” portal, where they can log new incidents and review existing tickets without having to call or e-mail the service desk.
“It’s mobile device-aware, it integrates with our other infrastructure technologies and it seems to be a very easy system to learn and to manage.”

The portal also notifies employees of any system outages without having to call or e-mail the service desk.

Kuiper said LANDesk also provides a dynamic inventory management tool that uses bar-code readers to help track inventory.

“We can track inventory from the time it’s ordered until we deliver it to the customer, and help manage it during its life cycle,” he said.

Employees can access the portal by typing “myservicedesk” into their Internet address bar and entering their UMMC login credentials.

DIS staff have embraced LANDesk with gusto. The enhanced automation allows for less hands-on ticket processing from their end, while UMMC employees can manage their own incidents and request certain software installations to their workstation automatically. The system provides DIS staff greater access to their assigned incidents due to cross-platform compatibility.

“We’re still in the midst of the Epic transition, and that continues to be our main focus,” said Kuiper, who noted the Epic Command Center will continue to field EHR calls well into July. “But the service desk could not have handled the Epic transition as well without the conversion to LANDesk. The old system was very hardware-intensive and the extra load of incidents would have made it difficult at best to maintain a stable system.”

“Going forward, LANDesk will allow us to focus more of our resources on the end-user rather than having to manage the system.”

For more information about LANDesk, visit http://servicedesk.umc.edu/.