D'Arcy Gue

Hospital IT Help Desk Assessment

November 30, 2012

Healthcare IT 2 Minute Read

This post is the second in a series focused on one of the biggest IT nuts-and-bolts problems in hospitals. If you want to start at post #1, go here.

As a comparison to a dysfunctional Help Desk, my first post put us in a grocery store where many customers are going to the store manager for service rather than to the checkout counter.  The manager is harried, clerks are not properly clerking, customers are not happy, and no one is really managing the store. Does that sound like your IT department?

Let’s talk about why the customer feels that only the manager can solve the problem.  What isn’t working in our customer delivery procedures?  Are we failing at the “hand off” between the customer and IT?  Are we failing at communication?  Are we failing to deliver good solutions?  Are we too slow?

It’s time for an assessment. Put your ear to the ground and learn what requests go directly to the IT management team, without going through the Help Desk.  Let’s gather some facts:

  • Collect copies of e-mails, notes about customer phone calls, and Help Desk survey feedback.
  • Do a review of any tracking done within the Service Desk system.  How many requests are received and what kind of requests are they? Document the number and types of requests that do not involve the service desk.  One way to do this is to require all requests that do not go directly through the service desk to be recorded by the IT management team (Directors, managers, analyst).

Let’s be organized about the data so you can trend it. If you did your homework, you gathered examples of customer contacts to management. Begin a spreadsheet with the five columns as follows and review the examples stating the following information:

  • Column 1 – The request category,  such as break/fix, procurement, project, request for change.
  • Column 2 – The actual detail of the request. For Example: “I called the help desk last week, and no one came to fix my problem.”
  • Column 3 – Positive/Negative. This is an important element because with negative events, there was often a first opportunity to “get it right” but IT failed to meet customer expectations.
  • Column 4 – Contributing procedures/practices to investigate
  • Column 5 – Investigation findings.

Columns 4 and 5 should still be empty, but hang on! We still have work to do in the analysis phase, but the information we have now is power. My next blog post will focus on the analysis and discovery of root causes,  including looking at negative customer events that circumvented procedures and investigating contributing practices/procedures. Stay tuned!


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