Over the past 15 years, Phoenix Children's Hospital has grown rapidly to serve the Phoenix community's 1.5 million children, as well as families across Arizona. The hospital now reports more than 200,000 outpatient visits each year across its main hospital complex, six ambulatory care centers, and numerous urgent care clinics.
In order to support Phoenix Children's core mission of providing outstanding care to children and their families, the IT department has needed to scale rapidly. While they've nearly doubled the size of the IT team over the past four years from 60 to 110, that growth has been outpaced by the infrastructure itself. Over the same four-year period, Phoenix Children's doubled its server architecture annually, and initiated a large-scale electronic medical records (EMR) deployment with Allscripts, all while supporting over 4,000 endpoints.
"One of the biggest challenges for Phoenix Children's has been figuring out how to scale up our IT infrastructure without scaling employees at the same rate," says David Higginson, CIO, Phoenix Children's. "When you're growing that fast and running that lean, you run the risk that little problems can turn into catastrophic issues simply because no one has time to notice."
Seeking greater visibility to help their lean IT team run smarter and more collaboratively, Phoenix Children's turned to ExtraHop to help them make use of an incredibly rich and valuable data source: the network.
One Platform to See Them All
One of the biggest challenges for Phoenix Children's IT team has been simply managing the vast array of disparate systems and devices that connect to the network. Approximately 180 different vendor systems are in operation at the hospital, ranging from meal service to sophisticated radiology and cardiology imaging products.
"There are so many applications and devices, including thousands of pieces of clinical equipment, that connect to the network," says Higginson. "Ensuring that all of those applications and devices are operating and communicating correctly isn't just time consuming, it can directly impact patient care." The network is the common thread tying together all of those applications and devices, however. This provides Phoenix Children's with a single source of empirical data about all its systems.
"ExtraHop allows us to monitor everything that touches the network, so we aren't clicking around through dozens of monitoring tools trying to find that one that will help us pinpoint the problem. We can fire ExtraHop up and figure out what's going on, whether it's a drug pump or a database," says Higginson.
A Full-Service Solution
Phoenix Children's also leverages ExtraHop Atlas Services remote analysis reports to help them identify areas for infrastructure improvements and take a more proactive approach to troubleshooting.
"I tend to be pretty skeptical of reporting systems and services, but the Atlas reports really stood out. They made me believe we'd actually leverage our investment in the platform," says Higginson. "Thanks to Atlas reports, I don't have to assign someone on my team to sit there watching ExtraHop. The reports give our team marching orders by proactively pointing out trouble spots and areas for improvement."
An Atlas for Success
Using the ExtraHop platform and the Atlas reports, Phoenix Children's has realized incredible efficiencies related to its ongoing infrastructure deployment.
"Without ExtraHop and the Atlas reports, we'd need to increase the headcount on our infrastructure team by at least 30 to 40 percent in order to manage our growing and increasingly complex infrastructure," says Higginson. "ExtraHop really is our navigator, our Atlas. With it, we're avoiding about $600,000 a year in staffing costs alone."
3X Return on Investment
"When other healthcare CIOs ask me about ExtraHop, the first thing I tell them is that it's finally a solution that delivers on its promise in the long-term, not just in the sales cycle. We're actually getting ROI out of it, and we've continued to extract value. We've made our money back on our ExtraHop investment two or three times over since deployment, and I don't see that changing."
Holding Vendors Accountable
Phoenix Children's also uses insights from wire data to work more efficiently with its IT services providers, including its core EMR provider, Allscripts.
"When users call up and tell us the EMR is running slow, it's not enough for us to say, 'Well, everything looks good on our side.' That doesn't solve the problem, and it certainly doesn't help clinicians or patients," says Higginson.
With ExtraHop, Higginson and his team can verify where the problem is originating and deliver that data to the hosted services provider to get a speedier resolution.
"It's so much easier and more productive to just show the vendor how long a login took or that a particular process failed," says Higginson. "There's no blame game, no finger-pointing, no 'Did you check this? Did you try that?' ExtraHop provides proof that gets problems solved quickly."