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UK-based NHS Trust supports 1.4 million people with help from Riverbed

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust gained complete visibility across their IT infrastructure enhancing clinicians’ digital experience and improving patient care with Riverbed’s Unified Observability solution 

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) is one of the largest NHS community health providers in England, serving a population of about 1.4 million. KCHFT’s IT team is responsible for over 5,000 staff, including doctors, community nurses, and many other healthcare professionals, as well as hundreds of applications and hardware assets.

KCHFT offers practitioner-led and therapy-focused healthcare services. It receives over two million patients every year and its vision is ‘to be the provider of choice by delivering excellent care and improving the health of our communities.’

Challenge: 

Darren Spinks

End-to-end visibility into application performance

Historically, KCHFT had limited visibility of application and hardware performance issues, how to resolve the IT problems that arise, and how these challenges might impact its users.

“One of my key priorities is to have complete visibility and understanding of our user experience. Auto-remediation of incidents is vital to ease time pressures and frustrations,” explains Darren Spinks, Head of IT Operations at Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.

A desire to measure clinicians’ digital experience  

Many of the staff and patients at KCHFT rely on applications to perform tasks related to patient care and treatment. Patient pathways, which are the stages a patient experiences in the management of their condition, are one of the key metrics and IT services want to make the patient experience as smooth as possible. However, identifying and resolving these problems was almost impossible without full visibility across the IT infrastructure supporting the applications.

Other than evaluating its clinicians’ digital experience, the IT team at KCHFT wanted to measure the impact of its changes across their IT infrastructure. “We wanted make sure our new solutions delivered the expected improvements,” explains Spinks.

Solution:

Gaining complete visibility with Alluvio Aternity

KCHFT adopted Riverbed’s Alluvio Aternity Digital Experience Management (DEM) solution, deploying 6,200 licenses. Spinks was enthusiastic about the onboarding process: “The experience could not have been simpler! It took about five minutes to access the cloud environment,” he recalls. “From there, it was a case of deploying the agent to all the endpoints and watching the data come in. Almost immediately, we could see trends that sparked conversations and ideas.”

Internal stakeholders subsequently felt more empowered to address their IT-related issues. Spinks continues, “Clinicians’ experience matters and they should not be waiting for IT services to load or suffer performance issues where we could make improvements to the experience.

“Before Aternity, the IT team would receive call tickets that would bounce between teams to be resolved. Now that we are using Aternity, it’s significantly reduced all the interactions, as the real-time insights provide us with evidence that we can see on the platform. It has made things so much simpler, saving us time and increasing our productivity.”

As the NHS Trust builds its digital experience strategy and implements auto-remediation functions enabling the IT team to fix issues proactively, the advantages of Alluvio Aternity are already evident. “With the help of our Riverbed colleagues, we have created some bespoke dashboards, mainly around our EPR (Electronic Patient Records) to understand its performance and day-to-day use,” Spinks explains. “The information on the dashboard has already helped us troubleshoot some issues.”

The solution has even highlighted critical events before they could turn into bigger issues. “Alluvio Aternity alerted us hours before our service desk received a call regarding an incident,” says Spinks. “With the Alluvio Aternity solution from Riverbed, we don’t need to wait for a user to tell us there is a problem. It informs us of the issue, its impact, and the implications regarding time and cost.”

Benefits: 

Ability to make smart decisions around hardware management 

“Implementing Alluvio Aternity helped us rethink how we deliver IT services based on what we can see. The IT team can now prioritise tickets based on the most critical problems and as a result, we can make some significant improvements,” explains Spinks.

Alluvio Aternity also allowed the IT team to make better-informed decisions about IT investments. “We have revised our asset refresh plan based on device performance. Aternity showed us we wouldn’t need to replace 42% of our 1784 devices aged 5 years or older. This has meant that we have already returned our investment in Alluvio Aternity.”

Given the success of Alluvio Aternity, it will continue to feature in KCHFT’s plans for the future including further investment in Riverbed’s Alluvio Unified Observability portfolio. “We are keen to continue reducing service desk call volumes using the Alluvio Aternity DEM solution,” Spinks explains. “Also, with the help of the Alluvio Aternity dashboards, we intend to analyse trends and fix issues across all devices and speed up resolutions resulting in much better healthcare for our patients.”

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