System Outage Notifications In A Hospital

private hospital

Our Customer

Private hospital

Their Industry



United Kingdom

Number of Employees

9,500 staff and 6,500 consultant specialists


This private hospital group cares for one million outpatient and 276,000 inpatient visits every year. It employs 6,500 consultant specialists and 9,500 staff across 70 hospitals and treatment centers throughout the UK.

The organization runs multiple IT applications, and service-affecting outages are an operational threat. Reduced availability of systems potentially has a knock-on effect for patients.

For the group’s IT Desktop Manager, fast notification of staff is critical when key IT systems go down.

Key Challenges

Prior to June 2012, the IT team could sometimes end up “sending thousands of emails to staff” relating to unplanned IT outages. But these messages weren’t always reaching staff or being opened – some users didn’t even have email accounts.

It was also taking valuable time to compile the different email groups, and large volumes of emails were taking up valuable server space.

The IT team needed the ability to reach every member of staff and guarantee that they’re kept informed when IT outages occur.


As an alternative to internal email, in June 2012 the IT team switched to using the SnapComms’ scrolling tickers for unplanned system outage notification.

Desktop tickers newsfeed-style text scroll across the bottom of employees’ computer screens to provide fast updates of information at-a-glance, with low staff intrusion.


As well as informing staff about the outage itself, the IT team sends out follow-up messages. These include a brief summary of what the problem was and confirmation that it’s been solved.

Although the nature of unplanned outages means that the processes in place are largely reactive, outage notification templates have been created in the SnapComms content manager for a variety of different incident types. This means they are quick and easy to deploy when the team is under pressure. The Desktop Manager agrees that putting out a scrolling desktop ticker is “quicker than writing an email.”

In situations where the outage relates to just one system or location, the tickers are easily customized and sent to just that specific group of users. The facility to target dedicated machines as well as user accounts enables the IT team to convey information to employees in a particular location, as well as to those without an email account.

The organization makes extensive use of the reporting facilities available. The number of messages issued and read are analyzed monthly, as well as which staff members saw the notification if required.



The Desktop Manager believes the key benefit of the desktop tickers is visibility on these unplanned outages. The tickers enable staff to see immediately if the information is relevant to them.

There have also been fewer calls to the helpdesk with “less people calling up to say they can’t access systems”. He believes the tickers are “not too intrusive” and a bit like a conversation with the user. He says that staff react well to receiving a desktop ticker and “they think it is quite cool”.

He elaborates that it is a “quirky, little feature that they find a much more pleasant way of receiving these outages. Our staff like the fact that it is interactive, as they enjoy engaging, and would probably be less enthusiastic if the outage communication was not two-way or they were not asked for feedback. On first seeing the scrolling ticker messages, newcomers to the business or those working externally describe it as ‘new, and a bit funky.’”

Tickers are quicker than writing an email. They’re a very efficient way of reaching the user base.

IT Desktop Manager UK private hospital

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