Clínica Palermo finds the right medicine for enhanced patient care, cuts admin costs by 15 percent

Published on 07-Jan-2013

"By outsourcing the hosting of its SAP applications and the supporting hardware infrastructure to IBM Global Technology Services, Clínica Palermo has reduced the administrative effort involved in managing its IT environment, and has achieved operational cost savings of 15 percent." - Carlos Gonzalez, SAP Manager, Clínica Palermo

Customer:
Clínica Palermo

Industry:
Healthcare

Deployment country:
Colombia

Solution:
Energy Efficiency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Information Integration, Information Management Foundation, Virtualization, Virtualization - Server

Overview

Clínica Palermo is a private healthcare institution headquartered in Bogotá, Colombia. The hospital was founded in 1948 and specializes in obstetric care and surgical procedures. Clínica Palermo is committed to delivering the highest-quality healthcare to its patients, and recognizes that delivering outstanding service requires strong organizational coherence and process efficiency.

Business need:
In a fast-paced hospital environment where every second counts, administrators at Clínica Palermo, Colombia, know that even minor delays or errors can have a major impact on patient care. Manual processes were too slow and included the risk of error, and administrative and operational expenses continued to grow. Clínica Palermo wanted to provide better, faster and more targeted healthcare services by improving its management of the patient care process.

Solution:
Clínica Palermo worked with IBM Global Business Services and IBM Global Technology Services to redesign its business processes and implement best practices, relying on a comprehensive suite of SAP applications – including SAP ERP, SAP Human Capital Management and SAP for Healthcare. The hospital migrated from its existing Sun Solaris environment to a resilient and powerful IBM BladeCenter H chassis, featuring IBM BladeCenter PS701 Express servers, and IBM System Storage DS8100.

Benefits:
Clínica Palermo succeeded in delivering more prompt and customized healthcare to its patients by eliminating manual processes and enabling medical staff to focus on patient care. The hospital also cut annual administration and operational costs by 15 percent and optimized its business processes. Service has significantly improved both in terms of reduced waiting time and enhanced quality.

Case Study

Clínica Palermo is a private healthcare institution headquartered in Bogotá, Colombia. The hospital was founded in 1948 and specializes in obstetric care and surgical procedures. Clínica Palermo is committed to delivering the highest-quality healthcare to its patients, and recognizes that delivering outstanding service requires strong organizational coherence and process efficiency.

Carlos Gonzalez, SAP Manager at Clínica Palermo, states: “Our main priority is to provide excellent services both to the patient and their family. In order to deliver care that is both rapid and targeted to individual patient needs, we must work with information that is as up-to-date and accurate as possible.”

In a fast-paced hospital environment, where every second counts, even minor delays or system errors can have a major impact on patient care.

“We manage every step of medical care: from registering patients to assigning them to a specific department, to their final discharge,” remarks Carlos Gonzalez.

“Think about what could happen if, due to an IT failure, we ended up assigning the wrong treatment or medicine, or were unable to provide immediate care. These scenarios were worrying us and we knew we had to react promptly to avoid them from happening.”

With poor system performance threatening to impact service quality, Clínica Palermo realized that major changes were required.

Desire to get better
Clínica Palermo runs a comprehensive suite of SAP® ERP applications, including Financials and Controlling, Sales and Distribution, and Materials Management. Clínica Palermo also runs SAP ERP Human Capital Management and SAP for Healthcare, a portfolio of software solutions supported by the SAP NetWeaver® platform and tailored to the specific standards and processes of the healthcare industry.

The SAP applications are vital to the smooth running of day-to-day operations, such as administrative, financial and logistics processes, and patient and clinical management. Approximately 700 users access the SAP applications.

“Our IT infrastructure was preventing us from making the most of our SAP environment,” notes Carlos Gonzalez. “For example, we were still burdened with a number of manual tasks and spreadsheet-based processes, and were unable to run automatic upgrades. This made it difficult and time-consuming for us to manage the update of medical records. As a result, we ran the risk of failing to set up individual treatments and customized care. Having to update each medical record manually also meant that the final spreadsheets were frequently prone to errors.”

Finding new treatment
Clínica Palermo recognized that a considerable degree of modification and optimization was required if it was to obtain the maximum benefit from its SAP applications, and engaged IBM Global Business Services and IBM Global Technology Services to embark on a significant revision of its technical architecture and infrastructure.

“One of the key factors that led us to choose IBM is the high level of synergy with SAP, and that IBM is the leading hosting provider in Colombia,” explains Carlos Gonzalez. “This enables us to guarantee superior service levels, both for infrastructure implementation and for system support.”

Clínica Palermo and IBM began the project by defining agreed service levels for each of the hospital’s processes and by determining which processes required additional support. Working together, Clínica Palermo and IBM Global Business Services designed processes and techniques in line with IBM best practices for application services, which would help gain the maximum benefit from the SAP application processes and to reduce the backlog, stabilizing the system, gaining user acceptance and enhancing the core processes. Carlos Gonzalez comments, “The implementation of standardized methodologies and processes has boosted the effectiveness of SAP applications in enhancing information transparency and operational efficiency. With support from IBM we can now ensure that every issue is dealt with appropriately and promptly. Also all SAP upgrades and updates are now rapid and automatic. With IBM, all the information in our SAP systems is fully integrated and immediately available. This is very important due to the high volumes of data that we process daily.

“Many of our 700 users did not have extensive knowledge of the SAP applications. IBM provided comprehensive training in order for each and every user – administrative and IT staff, doctors and nurses – to optimize our SAP solutions.”

Outsourced solution
With the process architecture agreed, Clínica Palermo turned to the infrastructure refresh program. After considering replacement of its existing Sun Solaris servers, Clínica Palermo looked at the possibility of outsourcing the infrastructure environment.

IBM Global Technology Services and IBM Global Business Services proposed a complete hosting and application management service for the entire SAP environment. Clínica Palermo worked with IBM to migrate from its existing Sun Solaris hardware to IBM BladeCenter® H infrastructure, featuring IBM BladeCenter PS701 Express servers with POWER7 processors that run the IBM AIX® 6.1 operating system. The IBM blade servers offer greater performance and capacity, and are able to run larger SAP instances and databases on fewer processors. The direct result is that Clínica Palermo benefits from reduced per-processor software license fees, and total physical server room space requirements have been cut, with lower energy consumption and easier system management.

Clínica Palermo uses the PowerVM® advanced virtualization technology available for IBM POWER® processor-based systems to create multiple virtual servers (logical partitions or LPARs) within each physical server.

PowerVM enables new virtual servers to be created in a matter of minutes, sized according to the predicted workload demands and automatically resized on the fly as the workload varies. Resources from multiple blades can be assigned, and LPARs can even be moved from one physical server to another without service interruption during system outage and maintenance, enabling 24x7x365 operations.

To manage its data storage, Clínica Palermo deployed an IBM System Storage® DS8100. This powerful storage device provides the performance and capacity required to support the data needs of the hospital, which must be certain of reliable, fast delivery of critical patient data such as digital x-rays, scans and related clinical information. This solution gives Clínica Palermo the ability to grow on demand to meet evolving customer demands.

By choosing to host its IT environment with IBM Global Technology Services, Clínica Palermo benefits from reduced administration workload, relying on agreed service levels and performance while the hospital team focuses on what it does best: delivering medical excellence. As part of its hosting agreement, IBM supplies full business continuity and recovery services for the hospital’s SAP data, ensuring that critical information is kept fully available and secure.

Carlos Gonzalez says, “By outsourcing the hosting of its SAP applications and the supporting hardware infrastructure to IBM Global Technology Services, Clínica Palermo has reduced the administrative effort involved in managing its IT environment, and has achieved operational cost savings of 15 percent.

“With SAP applications running on the IBM infrastructure, all our operations are much faster and more reliable, both in terms of our financial and administrative operations, and the services we offer to our patients.”

Enhancing patient outcomes
Clínica Palermo has optimized its SAP applications, gaining a truly centralized platform that has increased data accessibility, organization and business agility. As a result, the hospital has been able to boost business process efficiency and accelerate responsiveness. Staff members now have near-instant access to the information they need to support efficient operations, improving the speed and quality of patient care. “Our overall administrative operations, such as issuing an invoice to a patient or a provider, have significantly improved,” explains Carlos Gonzalez. “The combined SAP and IBM solutions have also managed to considerably improve the speed and accuracy of reporting processes, so that creating and updating medical records is now faster and much more detailed. This gives us the peace of mind of knowing that patient records contain up-to-date, reliable information, which allows us to better support our medical teams in delivering exceptional patient care.”

Carlos Gonzalez concludes, “With SAP systems now operating at optimum levels of performance and availability, Clínica Palermo has boosted patient care. We are seeing positive feedback from a number of patients, confirming that service has significantly improved both in terms of reduced waiting time and enhanced quality. IBM has been instrumental in enabling us to get the most out of our SAP systems.

“Thanks to the expertise and support provided by IBM and SAP, we have achieved our main goals: we can now focus on each patient’s individual needs and promote customized, accurate and reliable treatments.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Hardware:
BladeCenter, BladeCenter H Chassis, BladeCenter PS701 Express, Storage: DS8100

Software:
AIX, PowerVM

Operating system:
AIX

Service:
GBS ISV Community: SAP, GBS Strategy and Change: Business Strategy, GBS Strategy and Change: Technology Strategy, GBS S&T: Business and Customer Strategy - Business Strategy, GBS S&T: Technology Strategy, GBS Technology Strategy, GTS Integrated Technology Services, GTS ITS IT Strategy & Design: IT Transform Strategy & Design, IBM-SAP Alliance

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