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Sansum Clinic’s migration to cloud kicks off second century of patient care

Santa Barbara’s Sansum Clinic marked its 100th anniversary last year, with many innovations to celebrate. For example, founder William David Sansum, a pioneering medical researcher, was the first American physician to successfully treat diabetes with artificial insulin, an effective treatment for the troublesome metabolic disease that, when left unchecked, can cause blindness, kidney failure and death.

Building on Dr. Sansum’s expertise in diabetes, his namesake clinic is still a leader in diabetes detection, management and treatment. Other innovations credited to Sansum Clinic, one of the oldest nonprofit healthcare facilities in the Golden State, include these “firsts:”

  • the first kidney dialysis machine and the first kidney transplant surgery
  • the first carotid and laparoscopic surgeries
  • the first digital mammography
  • the first after-hours urgent care

Today, Sansum Clinic operates 23 separate primary, specialty and urgent care healthcare facilities in the central California cities of Carpinteria, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Solvang. The clinic offers a wide variety of health-and-wellness classes and activities and operates “Camp Wheez,” a creative recreation program for children with asthma staffed by volunteer clinicians each summer.

Baker Tilly Digital and Oracle guide cloud transformation

To maintain its focus on offering patients the most personal and innovative medical care during its second century, Sansum Clinic leaders turned to Baker Tilly Digital to orchestrate a digital transformation of its back-office operations. During the 10-month project, Baker Tilly Digital worked closely with the Sansum team to design and implement Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Human Capital Management (HCM) Cloud to help the clinic:

  • recruit and retain top clinicians
  • streamline financial processes
  • reduce the cost of patient treatment
  • modernize the supply chain procedures to ensure each of clinic location has reliable access to medical supplies necessary for outstanding medical care

Sansum Clinic’s digital transformation began in May 2021 and went live with Financials and Supply Chain in January 2022, followed by Core HR, Recruiting, and Benefits in March 2022. The collaborative project began with Baker Tilly Digital’s singular “jump start” approach, designed to lay the foundation for the project and the system design based on standardization and leading practice.

Single platform allows users to see the entire picture

Clinic leaders wanted a centralized platform where users could access job-related information about human resources, finance, or supply chain functions.

Oracle, a Baker Tilly Digital partner, offers that single platform approach across industries. Sansum Clinic’s new Oracle Cloud implementation provides users instant access to the clinic’s most current data to make informed decisions about everything from budgeting to recruiting to inventory management. Since so many business decisions – like how many new clinicians the clinic can hire with the allotted budget – are intertwined, a single platform allows users to see the entire picture.

Sansum Clinic staff can now use ERP capabilities to streamline invoice approval and processing, saving time and money. They can use the new SCM software to allocate and manage supplies needed to offer the best care to patients. And it can use its new HCM applications to help managers align employees more strategically. Future planned software additions will allow employees to manage their skills and qualifications, and access the latest learning modules online.

As part of the digital transformation engagement, Sansum made the cultural shift toward employee and manager self-service, allowing them to take responsibility for “owning their tasks,” freeing up back-office staff for more strategic work.

No more “clunky” processes

According to Sean Johnson, the clinic’s chief information officer (CIO), the transformation is already making the work of managers easier, by giving them instant access to detailed information about their team members so they don’t have to wait for intermediaries to answer questions about hiring dates, salary increases, promotions and the like.

In the future, Johnson said, the management team is looking forward to using the clinic’s new digital systems to add visibility and transparency to clinic workflow processes. Perhaps the most notable improvement already, he said, is the way the clinic orders new supplies and equipment, critical to offering patients the best care.

Johnson described the previous software the clinic used for purchase requisitions as “clunky.” “It was difficult to get in, very few people had access to it, you had to go to a very specific person for approvals,” he said. Now it’s easier for every manager to order the supplies they need.

Johnson, who is an oncology and hospice nurse by training, views his job as CIO as making certain “that the sacred care that is given by providers to patients happens as effectively as possible. Everything else we do, the supply chain, the human resources, the information technology, is aimed at that.”

Steps for a successful move to the cloud

While working together on the Sansum Clinic cloud transformation, Baker Tilly Digital consultants and clinic healthcare experts developed these keys to success for the move to the cloud:

  • align expectations
  • set a solid process to manage and govern the project
  • proactively identify problem areas
  • develop a comprehensive communication and training plan
  • identify essential documents needed for audit and compliance
  • set expectations that “go live,” the date when the consultants “turn on” the technology, is just the first step in the transformation

Today, Sansum Clinic is well positioned to continue its important work protecting community members from well-understood diseases like diabetes and emerging threats like monkeypox and COVID-19. It’s easy to imagine that Dr. Sansum himself would have been proud of the clinic’s reputation as a top provider of community care.

Contact us today for more information about how Baker Tilly Digital works with clients in the healthcare industry to ensure a successful cloud implementation using a proven approach.

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