Case Study: Parkland Health Hospital System

A conversation with Jeff Maxfield

Jeff Maxfield
Jeff Maxfield
Parkland Health Hospital System
Director Of Technical Services
Recently we visited with Jeff Maxfield of Parkland Health Hospital System in Dallas, Texas. Parkland Hospital is a not for profit that provides a range of healthcare services, including emergency care, to the population of Dallas County, regardless of their ability to pay. Jeff summed up his mission on the IT side of Parkland as “we care for those who care for our patients.” We asked him a few questions to understand how better Microsoft support allows him and Parkland the opportunity to afford that care.
US Cloud

Thanks again for your time Jeff. First, can you talk a little bit about why you were looking for another solution?

Jeff Maxfield

Well, we’re not the richest organization so I don’t have the luxury of going out and hiring a large IT staff. I have a small group of engineers that take care of the entire hospital, the entire ER. I’m busy working. I don’t have time to go out there and say, hey, what’s the latest technology? What’s the best solution?

US Cloud

I’m assuming that part of the reason why you were looking away from Microsoft, beyond time, was better support. Were you ever concerned that you would have trouble getting the same level of customer support?

Jeff Maxfield

Well, in the beginning, when you’re negotiating, it’s ‘here’s our sales pitch. We’re US Cloud and we’re gonna give you streets of gold, and angels with harps are gonna be playing and it’s all gonna cost you 95 cents’. For what they were offering, it didn’t seem logical. And they’re saying look, I’m gonna give you the exact same support you got from Microsoft, and I’m only gonna charge you a fraction of the cost. Like, that’s malarkey. That can’t happen.

US Cloud

Haha, I get it. Sounds very nice.

Jeff Maxfield

And so, OK, great sales pitch, right? But let’s see what the reality of it is. And it’s a matter of digging into the fine print and doing your due diligence to make sure that after the sales pitch they put their money where their mouth was, so to speak.

US Cloud

But it must’ve been a tough decision to move away from the OEM.

Jeff Maxfield

It was fairly simple and you know in in my position I go to my superiors and I say I’m about to save you a ton of money. And they say, Are you sure? And after talking with the guys and reviewing the contract I was confident, and thankfully my leadership trusts me. Plus, if your team is unable to resolve the issue, they have instant access to Microsoft and that was a fail safe that made me feel good.

US Cloud

So that escalation path felt like a sort of like a security blanket for you. You felt comfortable with that?

Jeff Maxfield

To some degree, and to be honest, we’ve all used Microsoft support before and they’re not the best, right? Sometimes I’ll bring my dog into the office and I’ll tell my dog what’s going on. Just to bounce the ideas off somebody. And the answer comes to you. That’s what talking to Microsoft is like sometimes.

US Cloud

Haha, ok. Well let’s talk about a specific issue. Can you tell me about a ticket that US Cloud worked for you, and just the process for resolution for it?

Jeff Maxfield

Ok, we use SharePoint, originally SharePoint 2010, and we migrated our 2010 environment to SharePoint Online. And along with that came all of the workflows and everything else. In 2019, Microsoft started warning us about the end of support for those SharePoint 2010 workflows, so we immediately called them. I don’t have a SharePoint person on staff, so I called Microsoft and I said ‘I’m gonna need some help’.

So they began working on it in 2019 when the notice first came out. This workflow helped us build all of our project sites, for our project management office. Each project gets a new SharePoint site and somebody puts it in, fills out a form. It’s a critical site that impacts all projects throughout the entire hospital, not just the IT projects. For example, if we want to implement a new type of surgery, they get a project site for it. So, when this isn’t working, we’re in a world of hurt.

Microsoft spent three years on this. And we used all of our support hours before they were able to fix it. I basically ran out of hours and then they gave me grief about this wasn’t break-fix. This was a new project so I had to use a different bucket of hours. And they gave me the runaround on which hours to use. ‘You’re out of these hours and you can’t switch them’, and ‘you can’t change them’, and ‘we can’t help you until you sign a new contract’. They were all about contracts, all about money, all about getting paid. They were not about taking care of me. They were not about making sure that my patients weren’t impacted.

So, we decided to move on. And we made it very clear when we signed on with US Cloud that this was our number one priority. Without this, we were putting patients at risk. Well, US Cloud came in, and they dedicated one engineer to it. He sat down, he met with me, met with my customers. I said, look, I don’t care what it costs, get it done.

The account manager said, well, look, ‘we’re gonna have to bring in some developers because it’s more than a SharePoint issue, so it required some additional development and some coding’. And although I had told him on multiple occasions, ‘I don’t care what this is gonna cost me just get it done’, he would always let me know ahead of time. He would check with me no matter how many times I said just do it, or I don’t care what it cost. Make it happen. He was always making sure I was aware that it’s a little extra.

So from an account management perspective, he was he was on top of it. He was giving me weekly updates. The engineer that was working on the case provided excessive detail. The guy was spot on. He was brilliant. He got real technical when I needed him to and he kept it real generic when I needed him to. Like I said, I don’t have a SharePoint engineer. I don’t have a SharePoint team. So it was it was all them. And they nailed it, they got it working in time.

When Microsoft finally shut down access to that 2010 workflow we had one, just one, e-mail that wasn’t getting sent out and that was just a bug in the code, but everything else worked seamlessly. Approvals were there, the sites were created, the permissions were created, everything was phenomenal.

So it was a phenomenal experience. I can’t tell you how great it was to feel like somebody was putting me first. You just don’t get that from support these days.

US Cloud

Wow, that’s a great story. 3 years vs. 6 months! Thanks for your time Jeff.

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