Transitioning to third-party maintenance and support often comes with some big questions about internal team morale. If you’re thinking about bringing on Managed Services, you may be thinking: Will my team see this as a threat to their jobs? Will I have to replace or lose staff members? And how will these disparate teams work together to represent my organization?
In this podcast, we sit down with Loma Linda University Health’s Richard Yaw to discuss some of the reservations he had about bringing on Nordic’s Managed Services – and how the relationship proved more successful than he ever expected.
LLUH engaged Nordic’s Managed Services for enterprise Epic support for their two Community Connect sites or “Care Connect” partners. Hopefully this will give you ideas about how Managed Services could benefit your organization.
If you’d prefer to read rather than listen, the transcript of the conversation is below.
[01:15] Initial reactions to Nordic's Managed Services
[02:44] Working with a remote team
[03:31] Embedding Nordic into the existing Loma Linda team
[04:45] What contributed to building a great relationship?
[06:55] What surprised Loma Linda about the relationship?
[09:10] How Managed Services has opened growth opportunities for Loma Linda staff
Katie: Hi, this is Katie Gray with Nordic Managed Services, and I'm sitting here with Richard Yaw from Loma Linda University Health, coming to us from Loma Linda, California. And Richard is on the Application Services Ambulatory team. Hi, Richard.
Katie: How are you doing today?
Richard: I'm doing good. And yourself?
Katie: Very good. Thanks for coming to visit us here at Nordic in the middle of winter, or close to anyway.
Richard: No problem. Happy to be here.
Katie: Good. What we wanted to talk about with you today was the relationship that Nordic and Loma Linda have been building over the last year or so now, providing Managed Services to the Loma Linda physicians and end-users. And I was just curious if you wanted to tell me a little bit about from the beginning when, say, Loma Linda and Doug approached Applications Services about the idea of using Managed Services to support your end-users.
What was the reaction in the Application Services department?
Richard: I think the reaction across the board was everyone was very shocked, very nervous. They didn't know what was going to happen, if positions were going to be eliminated, if new positions would be coming in, or how it was all going to work together with having Nordic provide support to Loma Linda for routine support and break/fix.
Again, we had a lot of internal discussions with management and leadership to discuss kind of what those changes were going to be. But it wasn't until Nordic came onsite, when we actually got to meet the Managed Services team that we were able to quell all those fears that we did have.
Katie: Sure. And I would imagine how would things work. Your team is in one building close by working with one another. You can get up and go and talk with one another. And we were talking about the concept of working with a team that was not on-site, working mostly remote. How did that feel? How did you all feel like that was going to work for you?
Richard: In the beginning, it was hard. We've had consultants before, but they're typically coming onsite like once or twice a month for the whole week to be with us. And with Nordic being 100 percent remote, it did present some challenges, but it also presented a lot of times for us to have an opportunity to strengthen our communication skills.
Additionally, when we started having Nordic come onsite for the initial meet-and-greet so we can put a face to everybody's name, and then just embedding them into our normal Loma Linda University processes and meetings and things of that nature, it made it a lot easier to communicate with any of the Nordic Managed Services staff. And then just be one cohesive team instead of it being Nordic and Loma Linda University Health. It's kind of just one now.
Katie: Yeah. I was there on that first onsite meeting when the team came to California. I found the whole Loma team just really welcoming of us and provided a fantastic overview of your workspace, how your processes work, what change control looks like, what the education process looks like. It was a really wonderful experience for the entire team.
And I found that everybody was very welcoming to encourage conversations after our return trip home, bringing us into meetings, bringing us into the conversation about what's coming and also all the knowledge transfer that you all provided. Anyway, I thought that was really neat.
What do you think we did as a collaborative team that really helped build our relationship?
Richard: I think the fact that we had already been working with some of the consultants from Nordic during our Community Connect implementation kind of made it that we had a very strong foundation, and that some of the Nordic consultants came over to Managed Services. So that relationship was already there, and that trust was already built with Nordic as a whole as a consultant firm.
Additionally, I think the fact that you guys came on with us as Managed Services so quickly after we went live with Community Connect also made a huge difference. As we were learning our Community Connect sites, you guys were there at the ground level to learn with us.
Katie: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I could see that.
So, Richard, what would you tell other organizations about building positive relationships with Nordic Managed Services?
Richard: Well, what I would tell other organizations is to not be afraid and to embrace Managed Services to provide Tier 2 support. I know some of the fears that we had as an organization was that build may be broken, there will be a very steep level of having to train our Managed Services staff. As FTEs, we're worried about whether or not there's going to be job security with bringing Managed Services in.
While, we may have had issue with a little bit of build and things of that nature, those were all smoothed out and resolved just like if we were going to bring on a new FTE. A little bit of training, a lot of communication and making sure to embed Managed Services into our workflows and into our meetings, and we've been great.
Katie: Great. What surprised you about the partnership?
Richard: I think what surprised me the most about the partnership is how much I was actually going to get along with the Nordic Managed Services staff. They're all just extremely down to earth and they are just so helpful and always willing to provide feedback or support. If I have a build question, whether or not I have a question on how I should phrase something, they're always there to provide almost that consulting support even though they're technically Managed Services.
Katie: Right. As a service delivery manager, I have this interesting view watching the Loma Linda Application Services team work with the Nordic Managed Services team. And I had this wonderful opportunity to go out for your most recent upgrade. I was in the command center and I looked over and I saw folks from my team and folks from your team, heads down at the computer and I was thinking to myself, "You just cannot tell the difference." And you couldn't see any kind of line. The collaboration that was happening, the friendships, the relationships, the trust. It was really evident in those three days that I was there.
How did you experience that upgrade and working together so closely for those days and the long hours?
Richard: As someone who was one of the leads on the 2017 upgrade from the ambulatory perspective, it was great having Nordic there to provide that support. Again, taking away kind of the daily routine and incident request.
And additionally, since they were managing our Community Connect sites, they were about to provide insight when maybe we're reviewing our notes, and there might have been a workflow that we might have overlooked. They are there to provide that more in-depth level of analysis that we might have missed because of it because we're so embedded on just the one organization at the time.
Katie: So, we're just about at the year mark, and I'm just curious. What is your take on the feeling at Loma Linda now as we've done so much work together on incidents and break fixes, maintenances, projects, things of that nature? How do you see that relationship now?
Richard: Honestly, I think I speak for the team when I say that it's been an extremely positive experience that we've had with Nordic Managed Services, and that going forward, it's only going to get better.
I feel like it's definitely opened up a lot of opportunities for me personally to grow within Loma Linda University Health by having Managed Services there, knowing that I don't have to really tend to a lot of the break/fix and routine support. It's opened up doors specifically just for me personally. And I just think that the team is just really excited to just keep rocking and rolling.
Katie: Right. Have you been able to do more as a team with the Epic system because of the fact that Nordic Managed Services is handling those Tier 2 issues?
Richard: Definitely. With bringing Managed Services on, just speaking personally from our own Ambulatory team. Taking away all that work that we were having to tend to for our Community Connect sites, attending their quality meetings or any issues that might have come up with reporting, has lifted a huge weight from the Loma Linda Application Services team because we could actually trust them to manage those relationships for us.
Richard: Additionally, just thinking about your earlier question in how the team feels, I know in the beginning we used to refer to Nordic as the Nordic team when we were talking to our Community Connect sites, and now we just say our team, our teammates.
Richard: And make it seem just more cohesive for our customers.
Katie: Well, yeah, one of my last questions was really, we've talked a lot about the relationship between the analyst on the Nordic team and the analyst on the application team. But there’s also the relationship between the team analyst on the Nordic team with our Care Connect partners that has been so surprising and really great to watch.
I had overheard someone say "my support team." And there was no distinction between Nordic or Application Services. And I knew that they were talking about one of our analysts. It was proud moment.
Richard: I definitely agree with that. Again, in the beginning I would pretty much attend every single meeting that our Care Connect partners were having, and now I only attend if I'm specifically asked to attend.
It's really nice to not have to worry about staff or Managed Services doing what they need to do and following our Loma Linda University Health processes. We can leave it to them to just, "Hey, they're going to get the work done. If we need help, we can ask for it. They'll provide it." It's easy.
Katie: Well, Richard, thanks so much for coming in tonight. I really enjoyed the conversation. I'm so excited about what's coming up in the new year.
Richard: Thank you so much for having me and I look forward to the continued partnership with Nordic Managed Services.