Largest independent health system in southeastern Massachusetts
Large-scale Windows 10 upgrade, day-to-day hardware provisioning & management, better IT process
Extreme ease at scale
South Shore Health is southeastern Massachusetts’s leading provider of emergency, acute, and outpatient care and the only verified and designated Level II Trauma Center south of Boston. The health system comprises a variety of locations for the IT team to support. Locations include the main South Shore Health hospital, primary care, and specialty care clinics, Health Express urgent care facilities, and CareCall. This online “virtual visit” service connects patients to doctors by using cell phones, tablets, or computers.
South Shore Health first implemented SmartDeploy in 2014. When Ryan J. started his current role as an IT support administrator, he inherited SmartDeploy from the previous support administrator. “SmartDeploy is not hard to learn. It’s not a complex product, which is a good thing,” said Ryan.
He knew SmartDeploy was a solid IT solution based on initial impressions, but it wasn’t until he took on a large-scale Windows 10 upgrade project that he truly understood its value. “A team of 15 support staff and I migrated 2,600 computers to Windows 10,” explained Ryan. “Things went well considering the complexity and breadth of the project. I used the SmartDeploy Answer File Wizard to create custom answer files, making it easy for the field support team, who were primarily consultants, to reimage computers.”
In addition to using SmartDeploy for large projects, the South Shore Health IT team uses it for day-to-day hardware provisioning, refreshes, and break-fix. Onboarding new technicians has been painless for Ryan, who explained that “the documentation is straightforward and easy to follow.”
“It doesn’t matter who is doing the imaging. It’s almost hard to make a mistake because the setup is seamless.”
— Ryan J, IT Support Administrator, South Shore Health
Fewer headaches at every endpoint
South Shore Health IT uses two golden Windows images: a standard image and a unique, more complex image for their ancillary departments to manage endpoints organization-wide. SmartDeploy enables South Shore Health IT to manage every computer model from these two centralized images, regardless of manufacturer or model. South Shore Health IT currently uses 30 different Platform Packs to maintain a mix of Dell, Lenovo, HP, and Surface devices, keeping them updated and optimized for the health system staff.
“SmartDeploy’s Platform Pack feature is easy to understand and manage,” said Ryan. With Platform Packs, IT deploys one golden image to a variety of PCs, and SmartDeploy automatically applies unique device drivers for a specific make, model, and operating system of the target device.
The SmartDeploy technician-maintained library consists of more than 1,500 Platform Packs to support all major OEM, business-class models. When Ryan’s team needs to support a new computer model, it simply downloads the Platform Pack. South Shore Health clinicians and nurses use mobile WOWs (Workstations on Wheels) set up with Citrix VDI designed for the type of quick tap login/logout capabilities needed in clinical environments. While this VDI environment typically works well, it has failed on occasion. Ryan explained, “There will always be a need for thick clients because of redundancy. You just can’t go all VDI. It’s not a good idea. If VDI goes down, you need a backup so that doctors and nurses can continue to see patients.”
Seamless configuration expands support
Technology that can reduce complexity empowers reliable, and efficient healthcare IT operations. For Ryan’s team, the simplicity of the SmartDeploy console UI and wizard-driven operations means that multiple staff members, distributed across various locations, can perform Windows migrations, updates, and remote management by using end-to-end cloud deployment.“
What jumps out with SmartDeploy is how easy you can customize it,” he said. Ryan has, on occasion, brought in consultants to assist with projects to avoid interrupting his field support team. Because of SmartDeploy’s simplicity, he trusted the consultants with important projects. “It’s just two clicks for them because everything is just so easy to configure and automate on my end in the SmartDeploy console.”
Speed wins in a crisis
SmartDeploy translates the same ease of use and flexibility in known healthcare IT scenarios to unpredictable crises. In March 2020, South Shore Health responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by taking additional steps to protect patients and setting up a drive-thru tent for patient screening and testing. Ryan and his team used SmartDeploy to quickly provision devices to allow South Shore Health to offer this time-sensitive offsite service to the community. “Imaging our SSD workstations takes about 20 minutes; it’s quick,” said Ryan. “Our answer file has some post-image steps to install encryption software and antivirus software. That requires some reboots at login, but the actual imaging process for SSD endpoints is swift.”
Large-scale health systems like South Shore Health depend on reliable, responsive healthcare IT to help enhance patient care operations across distributed locations. SmartDeploy’s ease of use, seamless configuration, and customizable setup empower Ryan’s team to rapidly respond to crises and the daily complexity of comprehensive health systems.
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