Hamilton Health Sciences puts Telus in charge of HR systems

Hamilton Health Sciences Tuesday said it has signed a $137-million contract to outsource its HR services to Telus Sourcing Solutions.

The Ontario health-care facility will turn over management of payroll, recruitment, compensation, benefits and occupational health and safety as part of a 15-year contract. As part of the deal, 73 Hamilton Health Employees will move over to Telus.

Hamilton Health had been using PeopleSoft applications to manage its HR requirements. PeopleSoft will continue to be the software of choice under the Telus regime, but will shortly be upgraded to version 8.9.

By moving management of systems and issues like upgrades outside the organization, Hamilton Health can focus on the provision of health-care, said CEO Murray Martin.

“We will see savings allowing our capital investments to be more in our core business: delivering health care as opposed to business systems,” he said. “Some of our cost-savings will in part come from that now being an obligation of Telus.”

Telus responded to a request for proposals (RFP) that was issued by Hamilton Health, and was clearly the best candidate for the provision of HR services, said Martin. “Frankly, Telus is way out in front of everyone else in terms of getting into this type of business. It very much signals there move in terms of becoming a technology solution company.”

Martin added that Hamilton Health reviewed the HR work Telus has done in other provinces with government, health-care and education clients.

Telus Sourcing Solutions already operates two centres of excellence (one in B.C., one in Alberta) and will add a third in Hamilton to address potential business in Ontario. The 73 employees that are moving over from Hamilton Health will form the core of that centre. The company is currently scouting real estate in downtown Hamilton to house those employees.

“We want to do is offer these people is an opportunity to extend their careers and diversify their careers,” said Telus Sourcing Solutions president Stephen Bayliffe. “What we’ve done, in a sense, is move these people from the back office of a hospital to the front office of a revenue-generating organization.” 

Ontario is a hotly-contested province in terms of HR outsourced services, but Bayliffe said he’s confident he can win more health-care clients.

“We’re already talking to a lot of hospitals and we realize the kind of pressure they’re under to make sure resources go to the right place. We run a lot of applications in health-care, so this is a natural extension of what Telus does,” he said.

A lot of health-care providers are examining the number of non-core functions that can be taken over by an outside source, said Martin. Hamilton Health already outsources housekeeping, cleaning services, security and parking. The facility did outsource IT management but opted to take it back in-house when a contract with a U.S. provider expired recently.

Martin said he would consider outsourcing other functions to Telus, but nothing is currently on the table.

Earlier this year, Hamilton Health implemented digital radiography technology, eliminating the need for film X-rays and cutting the time it takes to process an image from three minutes to three seconds.

Like many Canadian health-care providers, Hamilton Health is in the midst of switching to electronic patient records, but it’s a lengthy process. “We’ve on that journey but it will be five years before we get there. Parts of our health records are electronic, but we’ve got a long way to go,” said Martin.

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