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• Deploys cloud tools across a non-digital workforce, with nominated employees
to act as “Google guides” providing additional support
• Brings caregivers closer to clients using mobile work tools
• Checks medication doses remotely using customized Chromebooks
“Time spent with clients is our priority. Digital tools enable caregivers to access and send the data they need without leaving the client’s side. For that to work, you need to be in the cloud.” —Yoanette den Boer, Information and Automation Manager, Amstelring
For staff at Amstelring, the idea of “warm care” is central to the services they provide for elderly and disabled people. “Warm care is about making people feel at home,” explains Yoanette den Boer, Information and Automation Manager at Amstelring. “Really caring for people means being attentive to them, so we can best understand what they would like us to do. It means taking an interest in the people we care for, and making care more personal.”
Providing personal care is a logistical challenge for a company with 2,000 people in residential care at 35 locations, alongside clients using day care, home care, hospice, and services for the physically disabled. To meet that challenge, Amstelring has 3,500 employees, up to 1,100 flexible workers, and 1,300 registered volunteers spread across the greater Amsterdam area.
Previously, the company used an on-premises email solution and a company intranet site. Staff looking to access their email, check the medication needs of clients, or write reports would often have to go to their office computer, away from the people they care for.
“Part of warm care is showing what you are doing,” says Yoanette. “Time spent with clients is our priority. Digital tools enable caregivers to access and send the data they need without leaving the client’s side. For that to work, you need to be in the cloud.”
“Less like a normal implementation, more like a party”
“I've worked in IT for many years and led many implementations. Normally we get complaints, but rolling out Google Workspace was a happy experience. There was enthusiasm for something new and fresh. We enjoyed it.” —Yoanette den Boer, Information and Automation Manager, Amstelring
Companies implementing new productivity tools are often concerned by the additional training those changes create, especially among staff who are less comfortable with digital tools. “Our community includes many people who are really not very digital,” says Yoanette. Previous IT implementations needed substantial aftercare, so to see which cloud solution would best fit a dispersed organization with up to 4,000 digital novices, Amstelring ran a series of pilots.
“We ran three pilots on one solution, but people found it too difficult to understand,” says Yoanette. “Rather than get to grips with the new mobile tools, we discovered that people were going to their workstations and logging into their old email. We needed something more intuitive, that was really easy to understand.”
Amstelring ran a trial of Google Workspace, and after just two weeks, the company was confident to go ahead with a full deployment. “It was the enthusiasm that persuaded us,” says Yoanette. “Everyone was happy to work with Gmail and the other Google Workspace tools.”
Amstelring connected with g-company, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, to assist with the rollout. “Together, we made the deployment all about change, not about technical issues,” says Yoanette. “We got people excited. Less like a normal implementation, more like a party. We even handed out T-shirts. We did all of that first, and left the conversion of old data and other more complicated tasks for later on. Following g-company’s advice, we implemented Google Workspace in phases through its training sessions, beginning with Gmail and Calendar.”
Amstelring and g-company encouraged adoption by creating a group of 100 “Google guides,” chosen from staff working in direct contact with elderly and disabled clients. “There’s less of a hierarchy now,” says Yoanette. “We make groups in Google Chat and collaborate through that, instead of working in silos. On IT projects, for example, we used to work everything out in head office, then go on location to make our ideas fit the reality on the ground. Now, Google guides explain what they face on our Google Chat group, and we collaborate with them on an ideal solution.”
“Certain medications require one caregiver to check the dosage and one to dispense it. With two-camera Chromebooks, a caregiver at a remote location can check the label and see it passed to the patient, live.” —Yoanette den Boer, Information and Automation Manager, Amstelring
Backed by enthusiastic support from Amstelring’s board of directors, the Google guides, based at every company location, create an effective network through which Yoanette and her team have now deployed Drive and Chromebooks as well. The company has also set up an intranet using Sites and takes advantage of Cloud Search to search for anything internally, including colleagues, through the “search for people” feature.
“I've worked in IT for many years and led many implementations. Normally we get complaints, but rolling out Google Workspace was a happy experience,” she says. “There was enthusiasm for something new and fresh. We enjoyed it.”
Closer care with Chromebooks and CloudReady
To work alongside the clients they care for, Amstelring staff can use a range of devices to connect to Google Workspace, but Yoanette and her team discovered that caregivers weren’t using the tablets they had been issued. “A lot of the caregivers locked their tablets away because they were shared, not deployed one to each caregiver,” recalls Yoanette. After a long and thorough pilot, Amstelring has decided to deploy more than a thousand Chromebooks across the organization, along with devices using CloudReady by Neverware, which is based on Google Chromium OS. Through Google Chromium OS, g-company helped to give old laptops a second life. The company uses Chrome Device Management to conveniently manage all of its devices from a single cloud-based admin console.
“Certain medications require one caregiver to check the dosage and one to dispense it,” says Yoanette. “With two-camera Chromebooks, a caregiver at a remote location can check the label and see it passed to the patient, live.”
Reports in one week, not three months
Amstelring is also using Tableau on Google Cloud for dynamic and ad hoc reporting and to analyze information on care quality. As Yoanette explains: “Many BI tools and data warehouses involve a lot of time spent working through consultants, but we can use Tableau ourselves and have data in a matter of weeks. A year ago, it took us three months to produce a quality report. This year we produced data on quality in a week.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.