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Health Care - Ratio of PC Support Technicians to Devices

By Ugly Dog ·
We are a non-profit health care org, supporting a network of 4 acute care hospitals (each 80-120 bed)with 3 large outpatient or urgicare facilities; 40-50 owned specialty and family practice sites.

While there are other senior technical and engineering level teams, for this discussion I am specifically looking for ratios from other hospitals for 1st level support PC/LAN Technicians to help justify increasing FTEs.

Our First level support crew of 7 is mixed between on site PC suport at each campus and 1 rover who travels and covers the offsites. Our current ratio is approx 1 PC Tech to 550-750 devices(depending on location).

In my research of IT staffing, I have come across recommended ratios for corporate IT which ranges approx. between 1 PC Tech to 50, 100, 120 - 150. However, unlike a corporate scenario where usage typically runs Mon-Fri 7-5:30p, the majority of hospital PC equipment Laptops, pcs, printers, COWs is closer to 24x7 x365 in most medical areas.

It would seem reasonable to me that the more heavily and consistently used equipment would easily justify adding staff... but they are looking for hospital specific numbers.

While operating behind the eight ball would somewhat be the most desired scenario, we find ourselves at most times under it and hopefully can adjust or staffing levels appropriately.

Thanks All JS

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Numbers of equipment?

by mjd420nova In reply to Health Care - Ratio of PC ...

You mention the number of beds, but not users and other types of equipment needing support. Also, commonality of equipment plays a big roll and special support for critical devices or locations. 24/7 support would call for some kind of rotating after hour support people, besides normal day shift routines and service calls.

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Numbers of equipment? (Response)

by Ugly Dog In reply to Numbers of equipment?

There are about 3700 devices or network nodes(i.e. Lzr Printers, PCs, Latops/hand held units)that our team of PC/LAN techs support.

There are devices on clinical floors/Labs/Pharmacy/Radiology for example used by a good number of User staff crossing the different 24x7 shifts. Business and Admin areas are not as heavy but there is some shifts that work weekends in those areas 8am-4:30p..

PCs are XP primarily
Current std: P4/3Ghz 1GB RAM
Previous Std: P3/1GHz 512MB RAM

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Numbers of equipment? (Response)

by dspeacock In reply to Numbers of equipment? (Re ...

In previous positions, I've been:
a) part of an 8 person team responsible for 700+ users and devices (government)

b) the sole resource for 200+ users/devices (hospital)

c) been the ONLY on call person 24/7/365 for more years that I like to remember

so I'm not really sure what the "ideal" ratio would, or even should be. What I can tell you is that when it gets to the point you can't handle the work, management HAVE to get behind you and increase your resources. I've been lucky in that I've had managers who have bought into this concept. Unfortunately, most health care administrators look upon IT strictly as a cost center that produces no revenue. By this criteria, you will NEVER get additional staff, unless you can demonstrate to them that you impact the bottom line positively through your support efforts (keeping the billing office running and so on).

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Bus theory

by Ugly Dog In reply to Numbers of equipment? (Re ...

I can certainly appreciate the a)b)c)'s noted above - one thing, we have been able to do is build on the benefits of a team approach to support rather than a situation with a single point of failure.

And in that we operate on the old bus theory... that is (if you haven't heard of it) "what happens if this person gets hit by a bus"? The problem for my PC/LAN Support techs is more about sheer call volumes. A support load that has come from organizational expansion with very limited increase in support FTEs.

So to that I believe your point on the bottom line is really the key. Perhaps building a per PC value based on downtime costs

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Physical Locations

by mjd420nova In reply to Numbers of equipment? (Re ...

In normal areas(cubicle) I've used one support person per 1200 units. On site for each location, and a large cross section of repair parts so the person at one site doesn't have to leave. Some specialty people will be needed for any special support, such as line printers and upgrade projects. As units age, problems could arise that may need more support, but an upgrade project could be pressed to early sevice instead of repairing existing units. Lots of different approaches and overall quality of purchased units could make or break the plan.

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Hard to quantify

by Prefbid II In reply to Health Care - Ratio of PC ...

I would not try to justify anything based on industry averages. You may find that the industry average is way below what you actually need, just because the average hospital setup is not like your hospital setup.

That being said, take a look at your actual call ratio. How many critical support calls are you getting per "after hours" hour? How many people does that equate to? Is there a after hours time slot that gets a disproportionate number of calls? Do you have anecdotal evidence of calls that were just "barely covered" because of sheer dumb luck? What are your SLA standards and are you meeting them? Do you have non-critical support requests that take more than a week to satisfy?

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Hard to quantify

by Ugly Dog In reply to Hard to quantify

Thanks Understood... I was seeking the ratio data more as an additional factor of evidence in building the case for more resources. It's not something I would use alone. Call volumes have been provided to the exec level in addition to travel times for off sites etc. thanks again it's generating some good perspectives in which to focus.

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Any possibility to outsource non critial functions

by wturner In reply to Hard to quantify

Is any thought being given to outsourcing some of the activities?

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