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The ROI of Applying Service Desk Data

By Sheri Stoltenberg

Data is everywhere in healthcare. Yet, too often, health systems fail to generate maximum return on investment (ROI) from their technologies because IT service desk analytics platforms aren't configured to make it easy to view and apply data insights. In fact, in the seventh annual Health IT Outlook survey, almost a third of participants noted "ineffective IT/EHR operations" as one of their IT hurdles. Collectively, these challenges mean health systems do not know where holes are in their organizations, nor can they make meaningful changes to improve operations.

To truly address these issues, organizations need to look beyond the standard healthcare IT analytics data metrics and identify the root cause of IT issues. The data that IT service desks deal with daily can provide support teams and executives with deep insights about the health of their IT systems and the impact it has on staff productivity, cost savings and operational efficiency.

Below are three ways IT support teams can leverage their service desk data to pinpoint the cause of IT end-user challenges and create greater ROI for their hospital IT service desk.

  1. 1. Determine the Proper Metrics to Benchmark

    Though first-call resolution is considered one of the most critical metrics for maintaining a successful and efficient IT support team, there are other key metrics that play a valuable role in the process, including:
    • Call volume;
    • Abandon rate;
    • Average call length;
    • User satisfaction rate; and
    • Tier 1 versus tier 2 IT issues.

    These metrics not only offer a more robust level of accountability for vendor services agreements but measure the level of efficiency within IT support. If gone unmonitored, a lack of IT support can lead to an overburdened internal IT department, increasing the amount of operational support costs needed over time and creating a backlog of EHR support needs. At that point, internal analysts are having to handle IT ticket needs, which can diminish progress on other priorities like software new version upgrades—not only impacting productivity for the IT teams, but also efficiency for end users.

    Additionally, if your organization is exploring an outside help desk partner to monitor and improve metrics, look deeper into what their success metrics truly show. A potential partner may have a short average call length which may indicate quick resolution at first, but in reality, shorter calls can signal a limited scope of ticket documentation, not true resolution. To prevent this, work with the vendor to set and define what a reasonable time for resolution may be and what actual resolution entails—Stoltenberg's average first-call resolution time is 7-8 minutes, which includes clinically focused EHR system resolution and documentation, saving time and IT spend by preventing follow ups or forwards to the internal team. Further, if your average call length is less than 3-4 minutes overall, the EHR issue is most likely not being resolved, but could be more tactical support like simple password resetting.

  2. 2. Dig Deeper into Common IT Challenges

    Once a help desk team can analyze the above-mentioned metrics as a cohesive picture, they immediately receive an all-encompassing view of EHR utilization organization wide. By breaking it down even further by requests per type and department, the team can determine where root-cause improvement is needed. For example, if there is a repeated need for a specific task in one department, the IT support team can determine whether it's an end-user education need, the same work-around is being done across the department, or if there is an application or software issue that needs to be addressed.

    The success here ties back to the benchmarks being measured. Average call length should indicate that the end user is receiving the proper amount of education on the issue to prevent ongoing tickets. Because service desk team members are consistently monitoring reports, they often act as a first line of defense. This limits the amount of unexpected EHR vendor-system downtime an organization faces. Stoltenberg analysts often identify, resolve and document EHR vendor-specific issues before health systems even know there is a problem, ultimately reducing operational costs and clinical care delays while increasing overall productivity.

  3. 3. Optimize IT Support

    An organization requires a healthy system of checks and balances across metrics, including the amount of education end users are receiving for issues and full transparency about what metrics indicate. To achieve this, it entails three things:

    • Analyst expertise. Relying on strong EHR-specific knowledge and certifications allows for teams to anticipate and address potential issues before they negatively impact clinical workflow and daily operations. FlexSourcing service desk analysts are highly experienced in implementation and support across all IT needs including mission-critical events — such as EHR transitions, new version upgrades and consolidations following mergers or acquisitions.

    • Customizable analytics dashboards. The transparency afforded by real-time performance dashboards cannot be overstated. It's the best way to extract valuable insights from a wealth of captured data — and with those insights, proactively identify problems before they affect performance. Dashboards can reveal specific areas where a health system needs more or less assistance, offering the ability to nimbly flex IT service desk resources up or down as needed.

    • Proven methodology. By leveraging Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes, IT staff can emphasize resolving root-cause problems quickly while simultaneously promoting continuous improvement to drive efficiency across departments. Utilizing this methodology has helped drive first-call resolution rates beyond the industry average of 50%.


Stoltenberg Consulting's FlexSourcing program leverages the trifecta of system-specific analyst expertise, real-time custom analytics dashboards and proven methodology, so complete IT ticket resolution can take center stage. Stoltenberg guarantees a tier 1+ first-call resolution rate of 75% or higher with proven processes in place to actively enable health system growth and success both clinically and financially.

Executives know that IT ticket documentation has limited bearing on an IT initiative's success or failure in terms of staff productivity, cost savings or operational efficiency. What counts is resolution.

To learn more about how your organization can receive dependable 3x Best in KLAS service desk support through our FlexSourcing program, contact us.