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Daylen Thane – Swedish Medical Center

by on October 2, 2007

Success at Swedish Medical Center

The largest nonprofit healthcare provider of the Northwest is Swedish Medical Center (SMC), and it is located here in Seattle, Washington. It was founded in 1910 by a Swedish immigrant and surgeon, Dr. Nils Johanson. “SMC is an organization composed of three hospitals, an emergency care facility, 12 primary care clinics, multiple specialty clinics, and a home-care services program. Swedish is funded through corporate sponsorships, charitable donations and fund-raising efforts.” (1)
Over the past couple of years, Swedish underwent a massive change management effort in the IT department as they developed and implemented a Clinical Laboratory Systems (CIS). By June 27th, 2005, the organization had spent “$12.5 million in a project that moved SMC from aging technology to a model virtualized infrastructure.”(2) The real success of the project doesn’t come from building state of the art IT systems, but from the IS (Information Systems) director, Henry Piaskowski, since he understood that for any IT project to succeed, “you must first focus on your people and your processes. You got to make sure that they [Swedish staff] understand what is going on and that they are comfortable with it. You can’t nickel-and-dime this stuff, specially planning and communicating.”(2) Henry realized that technology would be useless if the staff wasn’t prepared. To prepare the employees, Swedish’s first major investment wasn’t in a fancy new product, but the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). They required all management in IS go through ITIL training.”(2)
Swedish implementation of its new IT system was a complete success because it started with getting the users interested in the project. Candace Tripp, IT Customer Support Manager at Swedish, said “tools are only one piece of the solution. You need process, people and tools. You can’t underestimate the amount of organizational change that has to happen to really leverage a tool. An organization has to be ready to drive this much change. And we were ready.”(3)

References:

A Nonprofit Healthcare Provider: http://www.networkworld.com/supp/2005/ndc4/062705-itil-side.html
The Human Touch: http://www.networkworld.com/supp/2005/ndc4/062705-itil.html?page=1
HP Open View helps Swedish Medical Center heal IT growing pains. A Success story: http://h20229.www2.hp.com/news/success/ss/ss_swedmed.pdf
Swedish Medical Center: http://www.swedish.org/

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