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Healthcare: when IT monitoring helps to streamline and secure the patient care journey

Blog Healthcare: when IT monitoring helps to streamline and secure the patient care journey

With Centreon, a grouping of regional hospitals pools resources, creating a common, integrated IT monitoring platform, streamlining and protecting the patient care journey.

“Adopting an integrated, centralized IT monitoring system leveraging Centreon Business is like turning on the lights in places that were previously dark. Visibility is a critical element in guaranteeing patients the smoothest care journey possible and optimal support to hospital staff. ”  – Eric Denizot, Manager, Communication Infrastructure and Projects at Hôpital Nord-Ouest.

The project in a few words

Business objectives: Streamline a patient care path spread over 6 sites 

  • Ensure 24/7 IT availability
  • Guarantee and secure the sharing of information between the applications used by the various institutional sites

ITOM challenges: Manage the monitoring of heterogeneous IT systems through an integrated, centralized solution within a pooled IT department

  • Pool IT monitoring resources      
  • Unify and standardize IT monitoring
  • Adopt common tools and practices for improved responsiveness to incidents

Solution: Centreon Business Edition

Main Benefits

  • Standardization of IT monitoring practices through the implementation of an integrated solution managed by the IT Department      
  • Centralization of IT monitoring for global visibility on the IT system       
  • IT monitoring scope broadened to include servers and applications      
  • Better everyday responsiveness in dealing with incidents      
  • Faster process for incident repair dispatching
  • Reduced volume of calls to technical support      
  • Improved information sharing within the IT Department through the permanent displaying of IT monitoring metrics across all work units.      


In 2010, two institutions, the Villefrance sur Saône and the Tarare hospitals, were grouped into a Communauté Hospitalière de Territoire (CHT – Territorial Community of Hospitals), as part of the reorganization of health services delivery in France. The institutions shared a common administrative team and the same IT Department. Over time, other institutions joined them, for example the Centre Hospitalier St-Cyr, the Hôpital de Trévoux, and the EHPAD de Villars les Dombes. The CHT eventually joined a larger regional grouping called a Groupement Hospitalier de Territoire or GHT (Territorial Hospital Grouping) , which today counts 2,641 beds and 3,600 employees.

First CHT officially put in place by the regional health authority, the Agence Régionale de Santé Auvergne Rhône Alpes, the Hôpital Nord-Ouest  continues to innovate and regularly reviews its health service portfolio to constantly optimize patient care journeys. The decision in 2012 to set up a centralized IT monitoring console and standardized work methods stemmed from the same principle of continuous improvement. The overarching objective for this project was simple: gain a unified, common vision of the IT system across six sites to keep real time watch on its overall health status, for optimal support and service delivery. 

In undertaking this vast project, the IT department relied on the performance of the Centreon Business solution and the expertise of the solution provider’s teams to deploy a shared IT monitoring platform, accessible to all IT teams. Leveraging the solution’s extensive ready-to-use plugin pack library, project teams were able to easily expand the IT monitoring scope, making their everyday work almost instantly more manageable. The centralized approach accounted for greater team responsiveness and the continuous sharing of information between the institution’s various business applications, contributing to smoother patient care journeys.

Beyond receiving alerts, the entire team now shares common working methods as well as key data and indicators, through large screens constantly displaying the state of health of the IT system for everyone in the IT department. The improved, overall awareness helps IT teams anticipate incidents and swiftly dispatch support to a potential disruption, in turn reducing the number of incoming requests for the shared technical support unit.

The Full Story

Ever since it was created, the IT Department of the Territorial Community of Hospitals (CHT) has worked towards pooling IT resources, a contribution to improving the service portfolio of the six member hospitals. It is in this context that the centralized IT monitoring platform leveraging Centreon was launched in 2015, aiming for a standardized way to monitor the entire IT system. The initiative was a success, as teams were quick to adopt the new system, generating efficiency gains in terms of diagnosis and incident resolution. These benefits are a true advantage in today’s health industry, in which every IT service degradation can directly translate into a bumpy patient experience.

The Hôpital Nord-Ouest Territorial Community of Hospitals: From proximity to innovation

In 2010, two local institutions, the Villefranche sur Saône and Tarare hospitals, were grouped to form a Territorial Community of Hospitals (CHT).  The restructuration was a mean to optimize the health services offer and delivery, as well as streamline patient care journeys. Throughout the years, the CHT grew to integrate more institutions, totalizing 1369 beds and 2600 employees, which integrated in larger unit called a Territorial Hospital Grouping (GHT), itself containing about 10 sites, including a hospital of reference, the Centre Hospitalier de Villefranche sur Saône.

This hospital restructuration was among the first undertaken by the Agence Régionale de Santé Auvergne Rhône Alpes, the regional health authority, providing the Hôpital Nord-Ouest ample room for innovation. The pooling of management, administrative and IT resources and staff was not standard practice in the delivery of healthcare services at that time. “Our IT department is divided into 3 units and counts a total of 24 employees, serving 6 hospitals – this organizational structure is still unusual in the healthcare landscape. Although we serve distinct institutions, we think as a single team and use the same methodology and make coherent decisions across all sites. Our choice of a common IT monitoring platform is a good illustration of this,” explained Eric Denizot, Manager, Communication Infrastructure and Projects at the Hôpital Nord-Ouest.

Business objective: A streamlined and secured care journey 

In 2012, the IT Department launched the project for the deployment of a centralized IT monitoring console and a standardized methodology, aiming for a shared, integrated view on the IT of 6 hospital sites. The objective was to ensure 24/7 IT service availability and a smooth, streamlined patient care journey.

“In our industry, the exchange of information between applications is critical. The slightest service availability issue can potentially trigger a ripple effect throughout the hospital – with real consequences on the patient care journey. Centralized IT monitoring is an important strategy to ensure a smooth and streamlined patient experience.”


ITOM Objectives: A standardized platform and methodology for a larger monitoring scope

The unified IT monitoring project aimed to provide a standardized and shared vision on a heterogeneous IT system, but also to widen the scope of the IT monitoring perimeter, integrating servers and applications, along with networks. All the IT Department subdivisions were stakeholders in this project (Infrastructure, Network and Telecom, Server Infrastructure and User Support, as well as Projects and Applications). “The pooling of resources is a best practice, it consolidates teams around a common ITOM strategy and set of processes which are consistently applied throughout,” explains Eric.

“The central idea for the project was to pool human and technological resources to standardize IT monitoring methods, deploy a common vision over the long term and optimize service delivery and support management.”


The project: a single IT monitoring platform to centrally manage 6 remote sites in a complex infrastructure environment 

The various sites were already familiar with open source solutions, the Nagios solution had been implemented when infrastructure was rehauled. A few years later, the IT Department took the next logical step: extending the scope of IT monitoring. Centreon, and its enterprise solution Centreon Business Edition, stood out as the most natural choice, as it contributed important assets to the project. Firstly, the monitoring connectors opened up new possibilities in terms of the scope of resources that could be monitored, an important guarantee in a constantly evolving, complex and heterogeneous IT system. Secondly, Centreon’s reputation in terms of ease of use was what convinced the teams that it was the right solution for a platform that could be accessible to everyone. In sum, Centreon was perfectly aligned with the approach favored by the IT Department, as points out Eric:

“At the Hôpital Nord-Ouest, we believe that IT monitoring should not be only of interest to technicians, it should be a tool for the entire IT Department, through a constant commitment to share information. That’s among the reasons we relied on the expertise of the Centreon teams. They lived up to our expectations.”


The benefits: teams that are more responsive… and less solicited by users

The Centreon solution is now used regularly by all IT Department staff and it’s the everyday work tool of 3 team members. Everyone now feels better equipped to respond to potential incidents. The collaborative and centralized aspects of the IT monitoring platform, as well as the sharing of common practices truly enhance team effectiveness. It’s a common tool that everyone in the IT Department is likely to use. No one misses the time when they were sending emails about an incident, which was never really practical. As emphasized by Eric:

“We are more efficient in resolving incidents. Before, users were the one alerting me of an incident, now it’s my colleagues! In five minutes, we’re able to access relevant information, accessible to all. Diagnosis and support dispatch are done more quickly. Ultimately, we reduce the number of unnecessary support requests by users. Centreon Business Edition is a go to common reference tool and we all naturally resort to it.”

Relaying efforts between teams now happens in real time, efficiently. The IT monitoring platform has grown in popularity within the various IT teams. The fact that it’s fully integrated and promotes common practices helped secure wide internal adoption. The standardized platform also simplifies maintenance. Centreon’s ready-to-use approach makes life much easier for technical support on a daily basis. As teams got better at anticipating incidents, many calls to technical support are now avoided.

“Technical support teams benefit from the Centreon platform, relying heavily on the event management feature. When we’re responding on a call, we have instant access to Centreon via Citrix. In addition, the maintenance of the solution is greatly facilitated: no more updating home-made probes thanks to the Centreon monitoring connectors!”


Next Steps: Extend Centreon EMS outside of the IT Department to share monitoring insights throughout the organization 

What’s the next logical step for the IT teams of this multisite regional hospital? Refining the indicators, an important step to gain additional efficiency in a complex architecture, even more so considering that the slightest failure can impact hospital operations. Another avenue for improvement will be to develop a better vision of the IT system’s health status through more intensive use of the Centreon reporting, service mapping and customizable dashboards/cockpits. Mapping the system, and sharing that map, will make IT monitoring data even more legible and will increase team performance.

“We share our data on large screens displayed throughout the IT Department and our intention is to enrich the views with new indicators, a barometer on the status of applications and deeper mapping. Eventually, we will be able to share these elements with hospital staff. Centreon enables us with all the functionalities that will take us forward!” 


To go Further


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