2009 Mobilizer Awards: Best IT Management Of Mobile Devices

By  William Atkinson — November 06, 2009

IT administrators at Varian Medical Systems needed a solution to manage 1,600 smartphones across 68 countries
Varian Medical Systems, Palo Alto, CA is a leading manufacturer of medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions.
The company's technicians spend a lot of time in hospital settings and were having trouble quickly accessing information, due to hospital restrictions on cellphone usage, and/or the lack of availability of Internet connections.
To improve communication efficiency, the company adopted BlackBerry smartphones, a deployment that grew from 400 to 1,600 devices deployed across the company's operations in 68 countries.
Thanks to the BlackBerry solution, Varian is able to meet an aggressive 10-minute response time service level agreement (SLA) for customers of its lifesaving medical devices.
In addition to being notified on their BlackBerry as soon as a customer calls in, a technician is provided with immediate and secure access to information from Varian's internal systems.
However, the mobile solution was not without its challenges for the IT department. Varian's IT team was constantly dealing with "fire drills" whenever an executive or technician had a problem with a mobile device.
IT administrators ended up spending hours, sometimes even days, on troubleshooting. The company had no way to determine if a problem was with the device itself, the BlackBerry server, the Microsoft Exchange, or the carrier's wireless network.
In some cases, mobile devices had to be physically mailed in to Varian headquarters so IT could diagnose and repair a problem.
Varian needed a mobile device management solution that would give it real-time monitoring of BES logs and system service status. The solution had to integrate with Varian's other monitoring solution (Microsoft Operations Manager 2007), provide detailed BlackBerry client information, integrate with Active Directory, support Windows Mobile and Exchange monitoring, provide robust and easy-to-use reporting, and offer a Web-based client console.
The IT team chose Zenprise MobileManager, which automates support procedures. MobileManager selectively runs more than 5,000 diagnostic tests to find the root cause of user issues. The process generates more than 6,500 different step-by-step resolution instructions covering virtually any kind of problem that can occur across the mobile setup.
By automating the management of mobile devices with Zenprise, IT is able to monitor devices and take steps to resolve potential issues before they occur. This solution reduces mean time to repair, standardizes problem resolution, minimizes calls, and improves productivity.
For Varian, troubleshooting times have been reduced from hours and days to minutes. Calls with field engineers have been reduced by 70%, and Varian's IT team is now able to support four times the number of mobile devices it once did.
"All IT administrators can access a single mobile management solution through the Zenprise Web console," says Matthew Morse, Senior IT Administrator for Varian. "The system provides a best-practices approach that all IT administrators can use to ensure the proper health of the company's mobile devices."
Varian invested $600,000 in the Zenprise solution in mid-2008 and expects ROI to be met by the end of 2009. "The expected ROI is for the total BlackBerry solution, including the Zenprise component," says Morse. "Varian's deployment of Zenprise has ensured that the company can meet its 10-minute response time guarantee for life-saving medical devices."

Honorable Mention

Remote device troubleshooting helps Palm Valley Health Care
IT teams keep their nurses up and running Palm Valley Health Care (PVHC), Edinburg, TX, has 200 field nurses providing personal assistance, nursing visits, and therapy to patients in their homes. Nurses use wireless pocket PCs to access the company's electronic medical records (EMR) system. While the mobile devices improved care and reduced costs, disruptions occurred when nurses had problems with the PDAs.
Nurses would often need to bring their PDAs back to the office, missing the rest of their appointments that day. PVHC deployed LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile to enable IT administrators to remotely troubleshoot and resolve software issues. The solution even helps IT administrators train nurses to solve their own repeat problems.
PVHC spends less than $2,000 a year for the LogMeIn Rescue+Mobile service. PVHC achieved ROI within the first month of deployment as a result of not having nurses come in from the field for device troubleshooting.
"We can control remote devices with little interaction involved," says Nathan Armstrong, IT Administrator for PVHC. Nurses now spend 85% more time with patients than they previously did because they're not wasting time on lengthy troubleshooting calls or driving to the office for device support. Call volume to the IT team was reduced by 75%. "LogMeIn is another tool in our IT box that has given us freedom that we never had before," says Armstrong. "It continues to enable us to train employees, reduce call times and volume, and even cut overall operation costs."

Honorable Mention

A six-phase process transitioned physicians to new devices
Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, PA, is a regional academic tertiary healthcare facility with 1,000 beds across three facilities. Since 2001, LVHN has used computerized physician order entry (CPOE). "We adopted mobile computing so we could 'untether' the physicians," says Harry Lukens, CIO/SVP.
Initially, LVHN used Fujitsu Lifebook P1000 series computers. However, when Fujitsu ceased to manufacture and support the P1000s, the IT team had to find a replacement. To begin the process, IT sought input from clinicians, ultimately choosing the Fujitsu Lifebook P1500, P1610, and P1620 series.
A six-phase process was initiated to exchange legacy devices for newer Lifebooks. The first phase was limited to one large practice of physicians, which also served as a pilot to determine if changes were needed. Phase 1 was so successful, a phase 2 rollout to a second practice was skipped. Phase 3 rolled out to the house resident staff and locker storage area for attending physicians. Phase 4 involved deployment to surgical teams and setting up exchange locations. Phase 5 was the remainder of the medical staff and move to replacement with any break/fix issues. Phase 6, was clean-up for any additional devices. The transition took nine months.
The cost of the hardware was more than $1 million. What was the ROI? "ROI was never an objective," says Lukens. "Patient care was." With the new Lifebook series, CPOE compliance is over 96%, with improved outcomes for patient safety, decreased turnaround time for care, and decreased cost.


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