Celtic Healthcare calls on Skype and the cloud to support rapid growth
By Microsoft on March 16, 2017
Filed under Health
Technology is revolutionizing the way healthcare professionals care for their patients. Moving to the cloud did far more than simply lower Celtic Healthcare’s storage costs and free up the IT department to focus on their explosive growth. It opened the door for a digital transformation that fosters communication, encourages collaboration, and enhances productivity, giving employees instant access to files and keeping mobile care providers in the loop. By upgrading to Office 365 and leveraging Skype for Business, OneNote, SharePoint, and OneDrive, Celtic Healthcare has empowered its care providers to give patients and their families the highest possible quality of care when it’s needed most.
Enhanced quality of life when it matters most
Celtic Healthcare is dedicated to providing “Innovative Healthcare at Home” for patients and their families during medical recovery, aging, and end-of-life. Their 13 locations across the region employ more than 1,500 care providers—1,000 of whom are in-home nurses, therapists, and health professionals in the field—an office staff of about 280 employees, and another 200 field associates that handle management, operations, and specialty services. Together, they are committed to delivering extraordinary customer communication, boosting healthcare outcomes, and enhancing the quality of life for patients and their families.
Rapid growth of their hospice and home healthcare business meant Celtic Healthcare needed to upgrade their systems and find an all-encompassing solution that would enable them to streamline processes, incorporate the most innovative technologies, and scale as they grew. This search for a more efficient process led Jonathan Bost, Director of IT Infrastructure at Celtic Healthcare, to Microsoft partner, Enabling Technologies. Collaborating with Microsoft opened the door to a digital transformation.
Optimizing operations for rapid growth
The first step in Celtic Healthcare’s digital transformation was simply moving their email to the cloud. This allowed them to reduce the cost of managing internal servers and allowed IT to focus on growth initiatives. What they didn’t expect was the expanding list of productivity tools they would have access to with Office 365. As new growing pains cropped up, Celtic Healthcare turned to Enabling Technologies to help them not only tackle the issues but plan for the future.
As the company expanded into the Midwest and Central states, departments began acting independently of one another, each rolling out different systems, causing compatibility issues and a lack of integration among teams. The Mergers & Acquisitions team had their hands full with audit trails and security, remaining compliant, creating guest accounts, and managing multiple credentials for new employees and vendors. Migrating to Planner, Office 365’s work management solution, helped the M&A team coordinate tasks at a high level and ensure everyone stayed on the same page.
Celtic Healthcare’s quick growth made capacity issues inevitable. Their data storage solution was not only outdated but exposed to disaster recovery risks. With patients under their care, downtime simply wasn’t an option. Exchange took the bulk of storage off on-premises servers, giving the system greater resiliency and the ability to rapidly scale upward.
Empowering employees anytime, anywhere
It’s critical that Celtic Healthcare employees, both in the office and out in the field, are able to operate efficiently, communicate effectively, and avoid downtime to provide optimal care for patients and their families. That means increasing employee mobility and encouraging continued growth.
That’s why Celtic Healthcare partnered with Microsoft and Enabling Technologies to equip its employees with the tools to create a fully mobile digital workforce. With Skype for Business, healthcare professionals in the field were able to stay in sync with office staff, allowing them to spend more time with patients in the field. Remote workers were able to attend team meetings, staff meetings, and hospice team meetings to review patient cases.
“Our clinical teams have meetings where they meet as a group to review patient cases,” Bost explains. “They still meet in person, but each face to face meeting still has a Skype component to it, because there’s always someone that can’t be physically there.” Beyond team meetings, Skype offers employees the confidence to spend more time with patients out in the field without worrying that they are missing an important call or can’t be easily reached.
Bost deployed a pilot of Instant Messaging (IM) in his IT department that was quickly picked up by the Human Resources department. Soon, the entire office was using IM. “There’s a lot of Skype collaboration, being that we’re geographically dispersed,” says Bost. “We see people sharing screens and IM’ing for questions.” Even the knowledge that people are available is a plus. “With the staff being so mobile, it’s nice to know when they’re at a computer or not. They spend a lot of time in their car, and Skype makes it easier to determine what methods of communication are available to them.”
Now, all 280 employees at Celtic Healthcare’s headquarters use Skype for Business for dial tone and phone service.
“We found that deploying Skype was not only more cost effective, but was the path of least resistance since users already adopted IM and conferencing,” says Bost. “It was easy to turn on all the features of Skype instead of getting piecemeal solutions that didn’t integrate properly.”
With the addition of OneDrive, employees can share and coauthor documents, saving them time and effort. Now every healthcare worker has instant access to patient files, spreadsheets, and other imperative documents, regardless of their location. That means faster processing, improved organization, and overall better service for patients. Celtic Healthcare’s drive to a digital transformation has allowed employees to collaborate in real-time and demonstrate enhanced productivity from the office, at home, or on the road.
Keeping the entire team up to date on the latest training and compliance requirements is easier, too. Celtic Healthcare’s education and staff development teams use SharePoint and Office 365 Video to quickly distribute content and important announcements to the 1,000 caregivers in the field.
Moving to the cloud has opened the door for positive changes at every level of Celtic Healthcare’s business. “Don’t be afraid, the cloud is a good thing!” Bost advises. “It’s easy to use, easy to manage, and offers other added benefits coming with the bundled packages.” Digital transformation continues at Celtic Healthcare, as the company is evaluating Cloud PBX for enterprise voice.
With Microsoft and Enabling Technologies, Celtic Healthcare is doing more than upgrading their data storage. Smarter, more efficient services are helping Celtic better serve thousands of patients and their families at critical stages of their lives.