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Augusta University Health

Help Desk dramatically improves end-user experience at Augusta University Health

TWork to create a “world-class” help desk service began in August 2014, when the organization announced the Jaguar Collaborative, its ITWorks partnership with Cerner.

Work to create a “world-class” help desk service began in August 2014, when the organization announced the Jaguar Collaborative, its ITWorks partnership with Cerner.

The help desk service at Augusta University Health is saving clinicians time and frustration.

The university and its sister organization, Augusta University Health, a 632-bed hospital system also in Augusta, Ga., went live with Cerner’s help desk service, Cerner Connect, in December 2014.

With access to additional staff members and other resources, in 2015, the help desk answered 99% of calls within 30 seconds, at an average speed of less than 10 seconds.

The 24x7x365 help desk service — the first for Cerner to include support for both a health system and a university — goes beyond basic password resets to resolve most requests on first contact.

“Even if it is a complex problem, I get somebody on the phone who’s very knowledgeable and knows how to handle it,” said Phillip Coule, MD, associate chief medical officer at Augusta University Medical Center.

Ensuring a smooth transition

To get started, project managers, team leads and operational analysts began working with the local IT team to ensure a smooth transition. A project management team also sat down with each staff member to understand his or her role and responsibilities.

The team gathered this information and performed a comprehensive incident management and desktop assessment to learn more about the local environment and business processes. This analysis included customer service procedures, workflows and escalation methods.

Operational analysts from Cerner also shadowed local staff members, listened to phone calls and verified previously documented processes or workflows.

Measuring performance

Through this model, Cerner Connect provides specialized service to clinicians, immediately connecting them with a Cerner Millennium subject matter expert to get questions answered right away. The service also continually monitors critical factors, such as:

  • Average time to answer
  • Call volume
  • Percent of calls immediately resolved
  • Percent of calls dropped

Both the university and the health system have seen great increases in end-user satisfaction since the help desk went live, scoring an average of 98.7 percent (including clinicians) throughout 2015.

Dr. Coule said he remembers calling the help desk in the middle of a night shift in the Emergency Department.

The person who answered the phone “beamed a smile through the phone like she had nothing better in the world to do than to talk to me and to help me with whatever my problem was,” said Dr. Coule, who is also chief patient safety officer and a professor of emergency medicine. “Something that would have required two or three phone calls before ... was literally done in a matter of seconds.”

‘The idea is delivering service’

In all, more than 300 help desk associates support ITWorks clients at Cerner World Headquarters. They answer more than 900,000 calls annually, with a client satisfaction rate of 98%.

Belita Smith, the Jaguar Collaborative’ s senior client director, said she and her team focuses on providing excellent service on the phone and at the elbow.

“The idea is delivering a service — not teaching them our language or talking techno-babble — but finding out what they need and figuring out how to convert it into a solution,” she said.

View All Client Achievement Stories
Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.