Google Cloud results
• Helps staff provide continuous, quality healthcare with secure access to
emails and documents anytime, anywhere, from any device
• Simplifies collaboration with improved security and reliability using Drive
• Empowers IT staff to work on strategic objectives with a lighter maintenance overhead and cloud-based infrastructure
“We just wanted Google Workspace to improve our email system, but it offered us so much more. We improved not only our communications but also data security, business continuity, and collaboration across the whole hospital.” —Alessandro Giommi, IT Engineer, Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona
Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona, the university hospital in Ancona, has a reputation for high standards. Specializing in cardiothoracic surgery, it’s particularly well-suited for difficult emergency operations requiring the highest caliber of equipment and medical training. In 2018 alone, the hospital carried out more than 24,000 procedures with its well-trained staff of 3,300, including 600 doctors.
While the hospital’s medical operations remained at the cutting edge, by the end of the year the IT infrastructure was beginning to show its age. The email system, running from on-premises servers, was almost at capacity, and doctors and medical staff were finding workarounds by using messaging apps instead. It was time for a new solution to not only fix these problems, but provide a platform for change in the hospital. For Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona, that solution has been Google Workspace.
“We just wanted Google Workspace to improve our email system, but it offered us so much more,” says Alessandro Giommi, IT Engineer at the hospital. “We improved not only our communications but also data security, business continuity, and collaboration across the whole hospital.”
Productivity on any device with Google Workspace
“Google Drive takes care of so much. We don’t have to worry about versioning or saving files or anything like that. And it helps us keep our most sensitive files secure.” —Alessandro Giommi, IT Engineer, Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona
Hospitals have to function 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and this is particularly important for Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona as a provider of emergency healthcare. As the hospital grew over the years, its email system was simply not capable of scaling at the same speed, and by 2018 this was causing significant bottlenecks. With on-premises servers, the IT department had to plan its storage capacity each year and was now in danger of running out of space. The system also required weekly maintenance, which limited communications.
Meanwhile, medical staff could also access email from their mobiles, but for documents and images they needed desktop computers, and by this time there was an average of one machine to every ten users. As a result, medical staff were finding ways to communicate using external messaging apps, which was against hospital policy. While this worked to an extent, it could also result in doctors losing messages or documents over several communication channels and was a significant security risk as well. The IT department could see that continuing this practice would place the hospital in breach of GDPR data protection regulations. Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona needed a new email solution, and more generally a new communication solution, quickly.
The hospital teamed up with experts from IT consultancy Injenia to find its new email solution. A frequent collaborator with the hospital and a Google Cloud Premier Partner, Injenia was perfectly positioned to help plan the migration to Google Workspace in accordance with the hospital’s particular needs. “It was like Injenia had a sixth sense with us. The team came to us at exactly the right time with the right solution,” says Alessandro. “It was a very positive experience working together.”
At the start of 2019, after careful planning, Alessandro and his team worked with Injenia to migrate the hospital’s infrastructure, and rolled out Google Workspace a few months later. Gmail has proved an effective replacement for the existing email solution because of its ease of use and its compatibility with both iOS and Android smart devices, allowing staff to work in their own way. After the rollout, the medical staff began to experiment with Google Workspace and found it so easy to use, and they began using Google Meet and Google Chat for messaging and video conferencing on their own initiative.
For productivity, staff have also gravitated towards using Docs and Sheets as well as sharing files with Drive. They can take advantage of collaborative features such as live editing, which has eliminated the need for multiple versions of the same document littering email threads and causing confusion.
“Google Drive takes care of so much,” says Alessandro. “We don’t have to worry about versioning or saving files or anything like that. And it helps us keep our most sensitive files secure.”
Closer collaboration, greater ambitions
“We’re a hospital, so business continuity is not just important, it’s a prerequisite. Google Workspace has been a vital part of achieving that, by improving our security and disaster recovery and keeping us GDPR compliant.” —Alessandro Giommi, IT Engineer, Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona
When it rolled out in April 2019, Google Workspace made its impact felt immediately. Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona’s usage statistics show that more than 1,500 doctors, nurses, and other medical staff were using Gmail before they had even been fully trained on it. By September, more than 126 million emails had been sent via Gmail. Some even began using other tools such as Google Meet and Google Chat before they were officially trained on them. “One of the great things about Google Workspace for us is the ease of use,” says Alessandro. “We almost didn’t need to have a training program, because people were either already familiar with the user interface, or they could easily work out what to do on their own.”
The ability to access Google Workspace tools from their smartphones and tablets has been hugely important for the hospital’s workers. No longer limited by the lack of available computers or storage space, staff can communicate faster, more clearly, and more reliably than ever before. This, in turn, has fostered much more efficient and effective collaboration. With Google Workspace tools, doctors and health workers can now communicate without the need for external apps, and above all, in a secure way that is GDPR compliant.
For instance, one particular project requires data to be entered into a spreadsheet from several users. In the past, this spreadsheet would be emailed around and each user would save a new version and add it to the thread. With Google Sheets, multiple users can work on the same document at the same time and not have to worry about which version it is or whether or not they have saved their work. Ultimately this has led to higher quality and more efficiency when providing services to the general public.
“We’re a hospital, so business continuity is not just important, it’s a prerequisite,” says Alessandro. “Google Workspace has been a vital part of achieving that, by improving our security and disaster recovery and keeping us GDPR compliant.”
For Alessandro’s team, a cloud-based email and productivity platform means a much lower maintenance overhead. With a cloud-based productivity platform, the cost of storage is drastically reduced. “We don’t have to spend our time fixing problems or adding storage,” says Alessandro. “Instead, we can spend our time working on more strategic problems.”
With the migration complete, Ospedali Riuniti di Ancona is also exploring options within Google Workspace which will let the public see more direct benefits, in addition to the improved service. Over the next year, the hospital will reach out to its private patients with Calendar, allowing them to schedule appointments more easily. It will also use elements of Google Drive and the confidential mode offered by Gmail to share sensitive data and documents with patients without compromising on security.
“We want to use Google Workspace to connect with the public in all sorts of new ways,” says Alessandro. “The IT system used to hold everything up. Now, it’s no longer the bottleneck but a platform for new solutions.”
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*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.