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July 25, 2013updated 22 Sep 2016 10:55am

Case Study: INPS implements Sostenuto solutions

Growing portfolio of healthcare systems from INPS supports over 2,300 primary care sites.

By Duncan Macrae

INPS is the organisation that develops, deploys and supports Vision – a flexible suite of clinical software solutions that are used extensively within primary care settings and the wider healthcare environment throughout the UK.

Vision is the established clinical system for general practice that also helps clinicians make more informed diagnosis and treatment decisions by sharing patient records securely between accredited clinicians. It also allows patients to book their GP and nurse appointments and request repeat medication via the Internet.

INPS is a CEGEDIM company – a global organisation operating across 80 countries, specialising in CRM systems, strategic data, and technologies and services for the healthcare sector.

Better processes and service improvements top the agenda

When INPS launched a continuous improvement programme to achieve ISO 20000 certification back in 2009, the company took the decision to expand its existing service management platform, based on Sunrise Software’s flagship product Sostenuto.

According to Phil Stickland, head of service delivery of INPS: "Sostenuto promised us the ITIL-verified functionality we needed to tighten up our processes, deliver demonstrable service improvements and communicate more effectively with our customers.

"The world has become more complex. Patients are demanding a broader range of services and clinicians are looking for business continuity. At the same time, a growing dependence on the Internet makes immediacy and faster response times a priority."

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Managing diverse customers and a complex set of critical systems

In 2010, INPS went live with a new version of Sostenuto to provide new support features for 2,300 customer sites and serve everyone from end-patients, GPs to clinicians and other professionals working in local healthcare communities. Sostenuto’s configurability and rich functionality enabled the Service Desk to migrate seamlessly from the old system with no impact on customers.

Automation makes light work of high volumes

INPS’s 60-strong Service Desk has utilised Sostenuto’s ITIL-verified functionality for Incident, Problem, Change and Configuration Management to manage a complex set of critical systems for patients and clinicians in the NHS.

Sostenuto allows INPS to manage and resolve a far larger number of incidents quickly and accurately. All issues coming into the Service Desk are logged and automatically escalated to staff with the right set of skills to investigate them properly. Similarly, Trusts offering their own first-line support can escalate any issues they cannot resolve themselves to INPS. When combined with Sostenuto’s advanced reporting capabilities that spot trends and identify recurring issues, INPS has a powerful tool that helps the company give prompt attention to problems and ensure the fastest possible resolution times.

Integration is critical to success

Particularly useful is the seamless integration between Sostenuto and INPS’ own event management tools meaning INPS often detects issues before customers do, for example, Sostenuto helps to ensure consistent synchronisation of data between GP surgeries, Vision and information shared with Out-of-Hours providers. With a clear view of all incidents, INPS can quickly address and even resolve incidents remotely before they negatively impact the service delivered to customers.

Furthermore, INPS has recently set up a new Service Desk in Dundee, which serves customers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and also links to the main Service Desk at the company’s head office in Battersea, London.

Clever Configuration Management targets change effectively

INPS uses Sostenuto’s Configuration Management functionality to track the numerous services that it supports. At a glance, Phil and his team know exactly which customers are connected to the different systems and how they are using the various services, enabling them to target any changes swiftly and accurately.

Customer portal helps customers to help themselves

With the help of Sostenuto, INPS has introduced a customer portal that allows GPs to track the progress of the incidents that relate specifically to them. At the same time, it gives senior managers in CCGs and Health Boards an overall picture of what is happening across multiple GP surgeries, providing them with the data they need to take informed decisions, tackle priority areas and deliver valuable resources to where they matter the most.

Big benefits all round

Since stepping up its investment in Sostenuto, INPS has noticed a series of significant benefits including increased visibility of issues and better communication with customers. Response times are faster and INPS is able to better maintain multiple Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

The high configurability of Sostenuto is of particular value, a sentiment backed up by Stickland. He explained: "Sostenuto is highly configurable enabling us to design everything in-house from screens and workflows to fine-tuning our processes. Being self-sufficient from a development perspective makes life easier and means that we can make changes to the system more quickly."

INPS is currently integrating its testing operation with the central Service Desk, a move that Stickland anticipates will accelerate the exchange of information and promote knowledge sharing between different teams, very similar to the approach his team advocates among its growing and diverse customer base.

Geoff Rees, sales director of Sunrise Software, concluded: "The availability of cloud and browser-based applications are changing people’s expectations about responses and availability. Organisations such as INPS need a partner who understands the critical nature of their clinical environment and has the power to deliver tangible savings and efficiencies. Our customer service solutions provide round-the-clock support and release valuable data that helps INPS take informed decisions, tackle priority areas and deliver timely resources to where they matter the most. We look forward to supporting them with a best-practice technology framework that supports their continuous improvement programme."

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