Google Cloud Results
Over 80% employee satisfaction after only a few months
• Reclaims 30% of caregivers’ time for patient interactions, improving patient experiences
• Enables new employees to get up and running immediately
• Reduces IT costs by $1.3 million over 3 years
Between New York City and Philadelphia lies bucolic Hunterdon County, New Jersey, home to more than 120,000 residents. Serving the county’s healthcare needs is Hunterdon Healthcare, a health system with a 178-bed hospital, 65 ambulatory locations, and more than 25 care facilities. The organization provides a full range of preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic inpatient and outpatient hospital and community health services. Its medical center, Hunterdon Medical Center, treats over 8,600 inpatients annually, with 33,000 emergency department visits and over 292,000 outpatient visits per year.
To keep quality high and enable caregivers to spend more time with patients, Hunterdon Healthcare is adopting cloud-based collaboration tools that help the organization’s medical and IT professionals work faster and smarter. Several years ago, the IT team decided to replace Hunterdon’s aging email system, which had limitations with file size, required external products for archiving, and presented challenges around security and usability. After an extensive review of cloud solutions, the organization began transitioning to Google Workspace, first moving its 3,000 employees to Gmail and Calendar.
“SADA has been absolutely awesome. They helped us realize the importance of ongoing Google Workspace training and we continue to work together to help people increase their productivity by discovering and adopting new workflows.” - Daniel Morreale, CIO, Hunterdon Healthcare
“We wanted to present the organization with a modern toolset to stimulate and enable collaboration,” says Daniel Morreale, CIO at Hunterdon Healthcare. “Google Workspace was the right solution for us because many employees were already using it in their personal lives, and it’s so easy to use that we were confident they would adopt it organically over time.”
Driving user adoption
To help employees get the most out of Google Workspace, Hunterdon Healthcare worked with SADA, a Google Cloud Premier Partner, to provide group-based and one-on-one training. Together, the organizations took a focused, department-by-department approach to change management, using webinars, live auditorium sessions, and YouTube videos to engage and educate users. SADA and Hunterdon IT provided customized training to help users transition faster, and a mobile classroom with 40 Google Chromebooks provides hands-on instruction to users at remote locations.
“SADA has been absolutely awesome,” says Daniel. “They helped us realize the importance of ongoing Google Workspace training and we continue to work together to help people increase their productivity by discovering and adopting new workflows.”
SADA’s collaborative approach toward workforce training was instrumental in helping employees get over the hump of change. After just a few months, Hunterdon Healthcare user surveys indicated over 80% satisfaction rate with Google Workspace — impressive for a new piece of software replacing an entrenched legacy system.
“As they learned more about Google Workspace, people began to see how much more effective they could be every day,” says Denise Amiano, Manager of Customer Service, who oversees Hunterdon Healthcare’s IT Help Desk and works closely with SADA on user training. “As people started digging deeper into Google Workspace, we began to see some real successes.”
Adds Daniel: “Google has a forward-looking vision for collaboration and communication, as well as a strong partner network that helped us manage change and drive user adoption.”
Helping secure productivity for nursing and IT
“By enabling our caregivers to be more effective and efficient administratively with Google Workspace, we’re reclaiming approximately 30% of their time for face-to-face patient interactions, which is what we always want.” - Daniel Morreale, CIO, Hunterdon Healthcare
Information security is a major priority for Hunterdon, which must comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other regulations. Hunterdon opted for a Google Workspace Enterprise Plus license, which replaced three separate security solutions with its enhanced customization and controls. Google Workspace apps also support HIPAA compliance, allowing Hunterdon Medical Center’s nursing department to automate processes that were previously manual to help nurses spend more time with patients.
For example, nurses use Forms to immediately record patient safety incidents and track them in Sheets. The hospital’s risk manager is automatically notified via the notification feature in Sheets, allowing investigations to begin immediately to improve overall patient safety. Budgeting processes are likewise streamlined because multiple stakeholders across all departments can co-edit documents in real time on Drive, eliminating the need to re-enter information.
IT staff have seen similar benefits from Google Workspace. Instead of filing formal requests in the help desk system for small tasks, they use Sheets to track help desk calls and streamline incident management, allowing IT employees to respond faster.
“Google Workspace has been great for our help desk because it gives us the ability to share documents and information in real time, without sending emails back and forth,” says Jason Tahaney, Director of IT, Hunterdon Healthcare. “It’s much easier for us to communicate and resolve issues faster.”
Connecting caregivers and teams
Before Google Workspace, videoconferencing was limited at Hunterdon Healthcare. Today, IT staff use Google Meet every day to communicate with each other on live video while solving problems and also to assist people face-to-face. Employees now have a seamless video experience on their laptops and mobile devices, which are managed using the built-in mobile device management capabilities of Google Workspace.
“We’re averaging approximately 160 Meets per week organization-wide,” says Jason. “Our ability to work on critical IT issues has greatly improved. The ability to pull the team together, instantaneously with mobile face-to-face communication, has been a great success to our department and our customers. Our IT department relies heavily on Google Chat and Google Meet for immediate communication.”
The benefits of video collaboration extend to clinicians and caregivers as well. During educational meetings and brainstorming sessions, teams use Jamboard interactive whiteboards to sketch out ideas and save meeting minutes.
“Google Workspace has become an integral part of how we connect our organization,” says Daniel. “So much of what happens in healthcare is a team effort, and having the capacity to collaborate, collect data, and make informed decisions has had a very positive impact for us.”
Reclaiming 30% of caregivers’ time
“Moving to Google Workspace reduced our IT costs by $1.3 million over three years while enhancing our security posture and contributing to improved quality of care. We definitely took a step forward.” - Daniel Morreale, CIO, Hunterdon Healthcare
When new employees start with Hunterdon Healthcare, it’s easy for them to get up and running immediately with Google Workspace, as most have previous experience with the toolset. Once onboard, employees have fast access to critical information and learning resources hosted on Sites, helping them do their jobs better.
“Administrative tasks and patient care are always going to be interconnected,” says Daniel. “By enabling our caregivers to be more effective and efficient administratively with Google Workspace, we’re reclaiming approximately 30% of their time for face-to-face patient interactions, which is what we always want.”
Saving $1.3 million over 3 years
By reducing or eliminating license costs for productivity software, email archiving, endpoint security, and device management, Hunterdon Healthcare can devote more of its budget to patient care and less to IT systems. Drive also decreases storage costs, freeing up 6 TB of enterprise storage for other uses. Meanwhile, security is enhanced compared to running these systems on-premises, and Hunterdon Healthcare was able to reassign one full-time IT employee to the organization’s network security team.
“Moving to Google Workspace reduced our IT costs by $1.3 million over three years while enhancing our security posture and contributing to improved quality of care,” says Daniel. “We definitely took a step forward.”
Protecting patient data
Hunterdon Healthcare appreciates the built-in security features of Google Workspace, including encryption at rest for Gmail messages and attachments, files stored in Drive, and other Google Workspace content. S/MIME supports enhanced encryption to protect email in transit, while HTTPS encrypts data traveling from devices to Google and between Google data centers.
“The ability to easily turn on data encryption across Google Workspace has made it easier for us to comply with regulatory requirements while reducing our overall risk of a data breach,” says Daniel. “Google Workspace helped increase our ability to protect the organization and our patients against breaches almost overnight.”
Hunterdon Healthcare is enhancing security even further by using Data Loss Prevention (DLP) rules to scan files in Drive for sensitive content, while the built-in advanced mobile device management (MDM) capabilities of Google Workspace enable more secure mobility for caregivers and staff.
“Google Workspace allows us to better manage our mobile devices and help ensure that devices adhere to our security policy,” says Daniel. “By requiring all users to install a device policy app or profile on their Android or iOS devices, we can extend our information security policies to mobile while giving our employees the tools they need to do their job effectively, wherever they may be.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.