Australian Hearing Improves System Response Time by 250%, Saves Around US$500,000 Per Year
 
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Australian Hearing Improves System Response Time by 250%, Saves Around US$500,000 Per Year

  • Oracle Customer:  Australian Hearing
    Location:  Sydney, Australia
    Industry:  Healthcare
    Employees:  1,173
    Annual Revenue:  Under $100 Million

Australian Hearing is an Australian Government agency that provides hearing services and assisted listening devices to children, young adults up to the age of 26, and eligible senior citizens over the age of 65. The agency has 115 permanent hearing centers and offers hearing services from an additional 380 sites, such as doctor surgeries and social security centers, one or two days per week. The agency’s clinicians see around 4,500 patients per day, helping them manage their hearing impairments and achieve a better quality of life.

Australian Hearing wanted to improve the reliability, performance, and integration of its enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer relationship management (CRM), appointment scheduling, payroll, and employee performance systems. In 2011, the agency implemented Oracle Exadata Database Machine, Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Access Manager, Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On Suite Plus, Oracle Identity Management, and Oracle Enterprise Manager. It also upgraded to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.

The Oracle products have reduced the time taken to process month-end financial data by 92%, saved US$495,000 per year on IT administration costs, achieved 100% system availability, and cut the time taken to integrate a cloud-based payroll application from an anticipated 30 days to just 2 days. Clinicians can also enter patient data in seconds, compared to up to five minutes previously, and keep scheduled appointment times. This has significantly enhanced staff and patient satisfaction and restored confidence in the IT department.

 
The Need for Stable, Integrated Applications

A word from Australian Hearing

  • “We considered other vendors but could see Oracle Exadata and Oracle middleware products would offer the highest performing and most cost-effective solution. We have reduced month-end financial data processing time by 92%, saved US$495,000 a year on IT maintenance and administration costs, and significantly improved patient and staff satisfaction.” – Peter Gasparovic, CIO, Australian Hearing

Australian Hearing was operating a number of disparate business management systems, including an Oracle E-Business Suite ERP application, a CRM application, a bespoke appointment scheduling application, and payroll and employee performance applications hosted in a public cloud from Affinity. The agency was running its ERP, CRM, and appointment scheduling system on an unstable server infrastructure that had reached end-of-life. 

The lack of system integration and poor system performance were significantly affecting Australian Hearing’s operational efficiency, as well as patient and staff morale. The agency experienced up to four system outages per week, which lasted at least several hours each time. Without access to its appointment scheduling and CRM applications, clinicians couldn’t attend to patients, who then had to wait up to three months for another appointment. On occasions when the system was out for an entire day, Australian Hearing would lose up to US$1 million in revenue.

The poor system performance meant it could take up to five minutes for clinicians to enter patient data. They often had to write information on paper to enter into the system later or to store manually. The lack of integration also meant human resource (HR) staff had to enter employee information separately into the ERP system and payroll application. It took 19 hours to generate month-end reports, and daily sales and other operational reports had to be batch processed overnight.

“We had so many system problems that administrative staff and clinicians completely lost faith in the IT department,” said Peter Gasparovic, CIO, Australian Hearing. “Clinicians were embarrassed in front of patients, and admin staff wasted time on manual processes. We were also running out of space for filing cabinets! And despite outsourcing our IT management, system maintenance was so arduous we also required 28 full-time equivalent (FTE) IT staff in-house.”

 
System Response Times Improved by an Average of 250%

 
Month-End Financial Data Processed 92% Faster

 
100% System Availability Eliminates Revenue Loss, Improves Patient Satisfaction

 
Application Integration Time Reduced by More Than 90%

 
Payrolls Prepared 50% Faster

 
Increased Staff and Clinician Productivity

 
Service Desk Calls Reduced by 20%

 
Saved US$495,000 per Year on IT Administration Costs

 
IT Staff Engagement Increased to 82%

 
 

 
 

Challenges

  • Integrate Oracle E-Business Suite, a CRM system, a bespoke appointment scheduling application, and payroll and employee performance applications hosted in a cloud
  • Replace unstable servers that had reached end-of-life and crashed up to four times a week, for hours at a time, resulting in approximately US$1 million revenue loss for each day they were down
  • Ensure clinicians can enter and process patient data immediately, and don’t have to reschedule appointments due to system downtime
  • Improve patient satisfaction and staff morale, and restore confidence in the IT department
  • Reduce manual data entry requirements and the time taken to generate daily and monthly sales and financial reports
  • Minimize IT costs by reducing inefficient maintenance tasks and the number of IT and service desk staff required

Solutions

  • Improved average data throughput rates by an average of 250%, increasing transactions per second from 2.5 TPS to 6.2 TPS
  • Accelerated average user I/O speeds by 200%, and individual disk I/O speeds by 3x
  • Reduced the time to process month-end financial data by 92%—from up to 19 hours to between 1.5 and 2 hours
  • Saved US$495,000 per year on IT costs, and reduced workload by more than six thousand work hours per year, by eliminating manual administration tasks such as resetting passwords or creating new user accounts
  • Enabled clinicians to process patient details in seconds, rather than taking up to five minutes previously by ensuring 100% system availability
  • Allowed HR staff to update payroll information 50% faster, by ensuring they only have to enter data once, and freeing up as many as three staff for more valuable tasks
  • Enabled hearing center managers to make better informed decisions by allowing them to generate accurate, daily sales reports in five minutes rather than waiting 24 hours for IT staff to create them
  • Improved data security and reduced staff calls to the IT service desk requesting password changes by 20%, by providing a single sign-on
  • Lowered the number to three service desk staff required, freeing the remaining six staff members to complete more valuable, technical tasks
  • Integrated Oracle E-Business Suite and a cloud-based payroll application with the other business systems in just 2 days, compared to an estimated 30 days
  • Completed a change to patient age-range data in 15 days during tests, compared to taking six months previously
  • Enhanced patient satisfaction by reducing the length of appointments and eliminating the need to reschedule them up to three months’ in advance
  • Improved IT staff productivity and morale, increasing employee engagement from 17% to 82% in annual surveys
  • Saved development time and licensing costs by reusing services and application codes, and minimized the risk of lengthy system downtime
  • Reduced the time taken to set up IT network access for new employees and kept more accurate records of significant changes made to employee details for future reference
  • Provided clinicians with a clear view of patient files on a laptop, rather than carrying six bags of paper documents—which required up to a day to prepare—to offsite appointments
  • Laid the foundation for a paperless office and significantly improved staff and clinician efficiency
  • Enabled financial staff to finish month-end data processing and reporting before close of business each week, rather than leaving it running over the weekend
  • Improved data integrity by reducing the risk of human error and enabling staff to better monitor and manage any data inconsistency issues
  • Eliminated the need to retrain staff by maintaining a similar user interface and ensuring front-end applications remain easy to use
  • Restored employee and clinician confidence in IT staff, prompting the IT department to win numerous internal awards, including Department of the Year

Why Oracle

Australian Hearing was already running Oracle E-Business Suite and wanted to enhance the application’s functionality—as well as improve the integration and performance of its bespoke appointment scheduling application—by standardizing on Oracle infrastructure and middleware products. 

The organization did consider other vendors but felt that Oracle Exadata and Oracle Fusion Middleware would offer the highest performing and most cost-effective solution.

“We could see the combination of Oracle SOA Suite and Oracle Exadata would enable us to achieve the full benefits of upgrading to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12, and significantly improve the functionality, performance, and integration of our internal and cloud-based systems,” said Gasparovic. “We have been so impressed we’re also hoping to integrate two clinical hearing test systems in the future.”

Implementation Process

Australian Hearing implemented Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Identity Manager, Oracle Enterprise Single Sign-On Suite Plus, and Oracle Access Manager in May 2011.

It then deployed Oracle Exadata and Oracle Enterprise Manager in July 2011, and upgraded to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 in September 2012.

Partner

Australian Hearing engaged Oracle partner Professional Continuity to implement Oracle SOA Suite, Oracle Identity Manager, and Oracle Access Manager. The agency then worked with Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services for the Oracle Exadata and Oracle Enterprise Manager implementations.

“Professional Continuity was sensational,” said Gasparovic. “It provided excellent implementation services and honored our fixed-price agreement despite the project running over time. We were so impressed, we are now using its sister company to host our disaster recovery solution.

“We were also very pleased with the professional implementation and administration services provided by Oracle Advanced Customer Support Services,” he said.