The Change Management Process

Huntzinger Helps Organization Analyze and Improve Change Management Process

An academic medical center in the Northwest that wanted to mitigate some risks in its information technology capabilities sought out Huntzinger in late 2018 to review its change management processes and procedures.

While the organization was using technology to integrate comprehensive patient care for several hundred medical clinics in its home state, an analysis by Huntzinger consultants found reasons for concern.

The analysis was commissioned to review the organization’s Information Technology Services (ITS) change management processes and procedures to help mitigate risk and reduce problems that could result from changes in the technology environment. The review by Huntzinger also looked at adherence to Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) standards that focus on risk mitigation.

The review found examples of change failure and instances in which processes broke down, and it offered a road map for enhancements to existing change management policy and procedures that Huntzinger consultants identified as the root cause for change failure. To equip the client to make adjustments, Huntzinger provided a senior management consultant, a specialist in ITIL, that could assist in implementing its change management road map and to mentor designated ITS team members.

After an initial assessment, the consultant crafted a detailed plan that outlined a transition plan to an ITIL-based future state, with an end goal of establishing a platform that enabled disparate IT changes to be judged objectively, according to the risk to the organization. Another goal was to translate activity into metrics to establish a common language to help IT leaders understand which changes were implemented well, and which changes required improvement. In addition to the change management process, the organization’s IT team needed guidance on working together cooperatively utilizing the IT change management process to achieve the desired results.

This summer, the healthcare organization implemented the first phase of its transition to the ITIL change management standard. But that’s only the initial step of the process. Future phases will include fully defining its incident management and service request management practices. In addition, implementing missing practices – such as asset and configuration management and problem management – to support the organization’s change management efforts will be essential to achieving the best results.

Here are some of the key recommendations, which are important for most healthcare organizations dealing with change control.

Problem management: Request for change should be categorized as implemented (with issues), with the intent of reviewing and working with IT teams to remediate problems and how to avoid issues the next time. Also, the practice works with incident management to review and resolve trends to be proactive in solving issues before they become a problem.

Quality and testing: Tactics need to be fully utilized, especially for changes classified as major or high risk.

Incident management: The IT department is usually the business owner of the ticket workflow and ensures all ITS teams are using service desk management (SDM) defined by ITS to ensure consistent reporting.

Asset and configuration management: Assets should be collected in a database that is managed as items are purchased, repaired, or retired. The database then serves as the basis for creating a configuration management database (CMDB).

With better control of change management, this organization – and others facing challenges throughout the industry – can better manage issues in an ever-developing environment.