Google Cloud Results
Enables remote work for 3,000 employees in 3 weeks
• Reduces overall cost of collaboration technology by $6 million by migrating
to Google Workspace and Chromebooks
• Reduces spam by 30 percent thanks to built-in AI features within Gmail
• Supports continuous cycles to integrate new devices and applications for enhanced healthcare delivery and patient experiences
• Simplifies, standardizes, and consolidates previously disparate systems, devices, and applications to improve security and management
Hackensack Meridian Health (HMH) uses the latest proven technologies to best support its providers, administrators, and patients at its 17 hospitals and 500-plus patient care facilities in the constantly evolving healthcare industry. With 36,000 employees, including 7,000 physicians, HMH leads the way in integrative health services for New Jersey residents.
Over the past several years, HMH began modernizing its legacy collaboration and communications infrastructure to provide better digital experiences across the organization. The focus was on standardizing on more reliable, easier-to-use applications, improving data analytics, and enabling telehealth. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the organization moved to accelerate some of its IT transformations with the goal of enabling teams to stay productive and safe in rapidly changing work environments.
Undergoing a massive transformation
“Citrix is the glue that keeps all of the moving parts together and enables us to empower providers to work anywhere and from any device reliably.” - Mark Eimer, SVP, Associate CIO and CTO, Hackensack Meridian Health
In early 2020, HMH did not use Google Workspace or any Google devices. However, it had plans to migrate to Google Workspace and was relieved that Google Workspace was the ideal solution to support new work-from-home requirements for a growing number of employees.
“As the pandemic unfolded, we immediately had to think creatively and build a healthcare delivery model to support highly secure, collaborative, and responsive patient care relying on a mix of in-person and remote teams,” says Mark Eimer, SVP, Associate CIO and CTO at HMH. “We had been looking to transition more of our systems to Google Cloud and Google Workspace. The pandemic accelerated that move.”
Thanks to quick-thinking and a strong relationship with partner Citrix, HMH put Google Chromebooks into the hands of 3,000 employees who were not directly patient-facing and gave them secure access to systems in three weeks. For example, radiologists and others who could conduct their work from home were able to do so securely, maintaining the speed and quality of care in spite of a very new working environment.
“The combination of Citrix and Chromebooks gave us the ability to get people working from home safely while meeting productivity needs and delivering patient care,” says Mark. “This jump started our journey to transition fully to Google Workspace.”
HMH succeeded in using Chromebooks and Citrix DaaS to reliably extend access to the Windows apps employees need to complete their core tasks.
As the pandemic continued, the organization focused on further improving the flexibility, scalability, and power of its IT services across departments by increasing use of Google Workspace, Google Cloud, ChromeOS, and Citrix technologies.
“The cost savings are impressive, but the biggest impact of using Google Workspace along with Google ChromeOS devices and other tools is that our clinicians, nurses, and other frontline workers have fast, secure access to health records in EPIC, so they can deliver faster, better patient experiences.” - Mark Eimer, SVP, Associate CIO and CTO, Hackensack Meridian Health
The actions HMH took at the outset of the pandemic set the tone for success over the next couple years. In the beginning, all Chromebooks needed to be set to kiosk mode to ensure systems remained secure amid more and varied remote access points. However, the organization was able to convert the Chromebooks into single user mode to provide enhanced access from anywhere with the same security posture.
The initial success led HMH to roll out Google Workspace to all of its employees in March 2021. Over that time, the company has identified 20 high-priority use cases, with the biggest one including integrations with clinical workstations used by nurses and physicians at the point of care.
Since migrating to Google Workspace and ChromeOS devices, HMH has saved $6 million in licensing, management, and infrastructure costs, while seeing a 30% reduction in spam thanks to AI features built into Google Workspace. Clinicians are also now enjoying a 10% reduction in login times to the EPIC electronic medical record platform thanks to the thin operating system powered by Chromebooks, Citrix, and Imprivata.
“The cost savings are impressive, but the biggest impact of using Google Workspace along with Google ChromeOS devices and other tools is that our clinicians, nurses, and other frontline workers have fast, secure access to health records in EPIC, so they can deliver faster, better patient experiences,” says Mark. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg, and while we’re already doing things with Google, Citrix, and Imprivata that have never been done before, we have a lot more to get through on our roadmap.”
HMH is working to expand device integrations using Google ChromeOS devices, Google Workspace, Citrix, and Imprivata, including bringing in e-signature pads, document scanners, credit card machines, and foot pedals and power microphones for dictation. Citrix supports these moves through a persistent Citrix VDI farm, as well as a non-persistent Citrix VDI farm to enable smooth user experiences across all devices and applications.
“Citrix is the glue that keeps all of the moving parts together and enables us to empower providers to work anywhere and from any device reliably,” says Mark.
More secure, centralized management
“Simplification, consolidation, standardization, and modernization are all at work in this implementation. It’s the only way to operate effectively in today’s complex healthcare environment. Google Workspace, ChromeOS devices, and Citrix are at the center of our management and security improvements.” - Mark Eimer, SVP, Associate CIO and CTO, Hackensack Meridian Health
Security was top of mind at the outset of the migration to Google Workspace and continues to play a major role in all HMH decisions.
“We knew security is built into Google Workspace and ChromeOS and that we could leverage multifactor authentication across the board,” says Mark. “When people shifted to working from home, having that comfort with Chromebooks, Citrix, and multifactor authentication calmed anxieties, especially given how fast so many of our team members started working remotely.”
All in all, HMH manages roughly 30,000 end user devices. So far, it has migrated about 40% of these to ChromeOS devices and expects to reach 98% by the end of 2023. Throughout the migration, the company has found ways to further centralize and streamline device and user management thanks to administrative tools included with Google Workspace, as well as a continued reliance on Citrix.
For example, rather than having to manage a user object and computer object for every workstation in its environment, HMH can move users into a singular management environment with Chromebooks.
“We no longer need to worry about end user devices because there is no computer object for a Chromebook,” says Mark. “We’ve simplified migrating people to a singular domain at HMH, and it’s literally making life easier.”
HMH is working to create a plan for its IT environment that guides its migration and optimizes IT management over time. Once the migration is complete and the validated design is finished, the company expects to see a reduction in both the number of support tickets and the time to resolve issues that staff experiences with devices and applications.
“Simplification, consolidation, standardization, and modernization are all at work in this implementation,” says Mark. “It’s the only way to operate effectively in today’s complex healthcare environment. Google Workspace, Chromebooks, and Citrix are at the center of our management and security improvements.”
Trailblazing IT modernization for healthcare
In addition to improving its own operations, HMH is building its validated design for Google Workspace, ChromeOS, Citrix, and Imprivata to help other healthcare providers as well.
“Everything that we are doing here is being done to benefit the healthcare industry,” says Mark. “One of the great things about healthcare is how we share expertise. We have a lot of conversations with large integrated healthcare networks nationwide, where we show them what we’re doing and how. These things have never been done in healthcare, so there’s a lot of interest.”
HMH expects to complete its validated IT design by the end of 2023 and believes many healthcare providers will adopt its methodologies.
“Everyone wants a modern infrastructure that’s easier to support, consistent across internal and external environments, provides better collaboration, and lowers costs,” says Mark. “Thanks to the great HMH team and engaged executives here, as well as the technologies and support from Google Workspace and Citrix, we are making those goals a reality in healthcare.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.