• August 1, 2007
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Critical Care for Health Records

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Companies like Allscripts exist to smooth out the wrinkles by providing electronic medical-records software and information solutions for the healthcare industry. But as a growing industry, the sheer volume of data combined with the relative scarcity of capable people and solutions left Allscripts scrambling to remain reliable for its clients. "We have to be very engaged as a partner, and provide a lot of interaction," says John Nebergall, senior vice president of client support at Allscripts. "But we found ourselves in the position of having to deploy a lot of real physical labor to troubleshoot issues for clients." The solution came in the form of Virtual Support Engineer, from support automation provider NextNine. Virtual Support Engineer, available either on-demand or installed, performs all the routine maintenance that would normally fall to technology personnel, and alerts service engineers when a problem is developing that is beyond the software's scope, so that it can be resolved before anybody notices a difficulty. NextNine and Allscripts pursued a very aggressive timeline--30 days from start of implementation to first live use, then another 90 days to 50 percent client rollout. "Payback was immediate," Nebergall says, noting that the savings exceeded the cost by the end of Year One despite a midyear start. Within 90 days of deployment, Allscripts had avoided 50 instances of client downtime thanks to NextNine. "The most dramatic and visible change was in the number of critical system events--as we deployed, the percentage of them on inbound tickets decreased two-thirds," Nebergall says. The next step is to integrate NextNine into the ticketing system so it can actually open up a service ticket when intervention is needed. It should be in place by the end of Q3 2007. "Our partnership with NextNine is key to delivering service proactively, before our end users even notice the need for support intervention," Nebergall says.
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