Is Managed IT the Solution to Your Healthcare IT Challenges?
In this age of digital transformation, the pressure is on for healthcare organizations to deliver a true return on investment with their IT initiatives and drive quality patient outcomes. Significant challenges are presented as the volume of sensitive healthcare data rapidly grows. Cybercriminals are out to plunder. Data privacy and government regulations implemented to protect patient confidentially are under attack.
The intention to deliver exceptional services is there but how? How do you, as a healthcare provider, keep up with the ever-advancing technology and accessibility of data? How can you retain an IT staff that is properly trained and can make sense of the vast amounts of collected information to make sure your organization is up-to-date and secure?
For small to mid-sized healthcare organizations, it is not feasible nor easy to acquire a well-suited IT team. It has become necessary to consider managed IT services in order to meet growing IT demands.
Healthcare IT Staffing
Healthcare organizations are increasingly finding that IT professionals with the right skills and expertise are critical to the success of health IT implementations, ongoing system support, as well as moving forward on key project initiatives. However, attracting skilled IT employees is a problem for Healthcare Executives. More and more organizations are trending towards not hiring, training and retaining knowledge workers but instead renting them as needed to fill talent gaps. This non-traditional thinking on the part of Human Resource Directors and IT Managers in the healthcare industry is becoming common practice.
By implementing this talent acquisition approach healthcare organizations contract with Managed Services vendors. Healthcare organizations acquire the most qualified resources when needed without the costs associated with finding and hiring full-time workers who address their specific needs.
Innovations in data insights and interconnected systems are tremendously treasured, but those benefits include the threat of cyber-attacks. Cybersecurity is one of the major challenges in healthcare with threats coming from both outside and inside the organization.
There are increasing job responsibilities for IT. Staff onboarding, outside contractors needing access to tools and systems, and on top of that, constantly monitoring for any intrusions and data breaches. Sometimes the enterprise security strategy is overlooked, and it is easy to get stuck in the traditional silos of solely securing the network, firewalls, or individual applications.
Cybersecurity best practices should be shared across your organization, especially as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) brings on new threats to protected patient health information. It can be difficult to keep track of the cybersecurity across all mobile and web-based devices when technology changes and upgrades so rapidly.
These threats have pushed the need for skilled security resources in the healthcare marketplace. While it may not be achievable due to budgetary restrictions, it can be tackled by Healthcare Managed IT companies who are built to handle the robust list of roles and responsibilities required to protect digital information.
No breach is too small for HIPAA covered entities. It’s critical to control internal and external communications. Email, texting, and faxing are common practices in modern healthcare settings, but that does not mean they are completely secure. These are major security susceptibilities that can be addressed by upgrading legacy systems to modern, secure ones.
On the news, you hear about digital data breaches but do not overlook your physical records! Staff should be trained to avoid potential violations; old or unwanted documents should be disposed of properly. Also, consider digitizing those documents. It’s a major initiative with the results of saving money and improving work processes. Implementing a paperless system allows for clear audit trails for record-keeping and audit purposes.
Partnering with a Managed IT company allows you to remain compliant while you do what you do best – provide exceptional care to patients! IT and professional service providers afford highly secured environments for handling documents and rigorously tested, secure protocols to make sure you aren’t the next one on the news being sued.
Analyzing Big Data
Historically IT is not the greatest at mining data out of their healthcare applications and doing something meaningful with it. Many Healthcare IT departments deliver traditional reporting and do some historical reporting but are unable to use that data to predict and promote future trends for the organization. This is critical as Healthcare Executives struggle to plan for the long-term survival of their organizations. The need for accurate, meaningful data is increasing the pressure on Healthcare Executives to “do something” but many smaller healthcare organizations across the nation simply don’t have the foundational knowledge to manage this data to their benefit.
Monitoring and reporting can allow organizations to:
- Conduct risk assessments
- Refresh staff training
- Refine policies and procedures
- Work to reduce or even eliminate security vulnerabilities, currently and in the future
Data analytics promotes the vital need for data scientists and data analysts. These roles are among the most sought-after which causes a huge demand and is highly competitive and pricey. Managed IT providers allow access to these highly skilled IT analysts at a fraction of the cost.
Does Outsourcing Solve IT Challenges?
Whether you call it “outsourcing” or “managed services”, it could lend you a huge sigh of relief. Smart organizations know they need to focus on what they are good at and leave the IT work to IT professionals. There is no denying healthcare managed IT improves the operations across organizations and importantly cuts expenses on staffing, hardware, software and much more.