In an era where technology is reshaping the healthcare landscape, the complexity of healthcare IT has reached unprecedented levels. Healthcare leaders are increasingly prioritizing digital transformation, yet retaining the technical talent required to manage an intricate web of IT systems is becoming prohibitively expensive. A Deloitte report has highlighted that 85% of health system leaders anticipate significant staffing challenges affecting their strategies in 2023. Moreover, IT failures come at a steep cost; a recent HIMSS report reveals that unplanned system downtime can drain mid-sized hospitals at $47,500 per hour. Figuring out a perfect healthcare IT services partner is the core discussion of this blog.
The Healthcare IT Dilemma
Healthcare organizations are grappling with a multifaceted challenge. On one hand, they must curtail costs to remain financially viable, particularly in the face of new entrants to the healthcare industry from consumer-driven sectors like retail and technology. These newcomers are setting a high bar for quick, convenient access to healthcare services, forcing traditional healthcare organizations to innovate. However, as these organizations strive to balance budget pressures with the need for innovation, internal IT teams often find themselves overwhelmed.
Managed IT Services: A Strategic Solution
Healthcare managed IT services, offered by third-party Managed Service Providers (MSPs), have emerged as a lifeline for healthcare organizations seeking to navigate the complex digital landscape. These services encompass a wide range of IT operations, including email management, help desk support, data security, and cloud hosting. Underpinning these services is a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that guarantees uptime, 24/7 support, and a commitment to post-event Root Cause Analysis (RCA) to drive continuous improvement.
The 4 major Managed IT services for Medical Practices
- Service Desk Operations: A hierarchical support structure that ranges from password resets to intake management.
- IT Operations Management: The day-to-day administration of IT infrastructure, including incident and problem management.
- Application Management and Support: The comprehensive management of a suite of applications, including Electronic Health Record (EHR) platforms.
- Cybersecurity: A robust defense against data breaches and a commitment to regulatory compliance.
- Cloud Hosting: The proficient management of data, applications, and platforms in the cloud.
Examples of Healthcare Managed Services
Managed services encompass various IT service operations, including service desk, operations management, application support, technical management, event management, incident management, problem management, request fulfillment, and access management.
Tier 1 service desk, or help desk, provides continuous coverage for routine problems, such as password resets and intake management. Outsourcing the help desk allows organizations to delegate the resource-intensive management of a contingent workforce to an MSP. Key features offered by help desk managed service providers may include:
To enhance efficiency and expedite operations, organizations can extend support beyond Tier 1. Tier 2 support handles escalated service requests, break/fix incidents, and regular system updates. Outsourcing Tier 2 service desk support can provide added value to your IT strategy by filtering up to 70% of service requests without analyst involvement, increasing efficiency, allowing internal IT analysts to focus on high-priority projects, enhancing clinician and staff productivity, stabilizing IT support costs, and improving employee satisfaction and retention rates.
Tier 3 support encompasses the highest level of technical assistance, addressing tasks like software and hardware updates, system enhancements, and design changes. Tier 3 staff often comprises project developers or engineers with advanced technical skills. Some organizations choose to outsource Tier 3 support to an MSP, while others only outsource Tiers 1 and 2, freeing up internal IT staff for Tier 3 work.
The Multifaceted Benefits of Managed IT Services for Healthcare
Managed IT service providers serve as the cornerstone of ongoing IT support, allowing internal teams to shift their focus to innovation and growth. By outsourcing routine IT tasks such as network management, application support, and round-the-clock service desk operations, healthcare organizations liberate their staff to concentrate on strategic projects that advance their mission.
1. Ensures Compliance
The recent developments in cloud technology, telehealth, and the increasing digitalization of electronic health records (EHRs) have drastically improved healthcare delivery but also complicated the task of safeguarding protected health information (PHI). Failing to comply with HIPAA regulations and other CMS mandates can be really costly for healthcare providers.
A good MSP will lessen the demands on your in-house IT team by putting measures in place that ensure your compliance and regularly assessing your infrastructure to determine whether any gaps or vulnerabilities remain.
2. Protects Your Data
Protecting your data isn’t just about compliance with HIPAA regulations. Data breaches can be catastrophic for organizations in any industry and not just healthcare. In fact, 60% of small companies shutter within six months of a breach. Of course, the consequences are especially dire for organizations dealing with PHI.
MSPs will help you improve your healthcare IT security posture by conducting assessments of the security of your network and devices. Thereby identifying the risks, you currently face, and the points of potential leakages.
3. Boosts Efficiency and Reduces internal IT Costs
Most healthcare organizations don’t have the budget or resources to support the operating cost of an extensive in-house IT team. MSPs, therefore, provide a cost-effective way to enjoy the IT resources of a much larger organization.
The best MSPs in the industry often provide 24/7/365 support to ensure your organization is always prepared to rapidly address threats or issues in your IT infrastructure.
4. Improves Patient Experience
A well-managed IT infrastructure reduces stress for healthcare providers. It gives them a sense of continuity and peace of mind, knowing their technology will work when they need it. This peace of mind and seamless workflow also transform the quality of the care that patients receive.
MSPs can suggest to you the best and the most updated form of technology. Just the small step of connecting different systems in your facility enabling smooth information exchange can take away a lot of work from the hands of doctors and clinicians.
Preparation for Partnering with a Managed Services Provider
- Defining Goals and Objectives: Prior to engaging an MSP, healthcare organizations must meticulously outline their goals and objectives. These objectives may encompass improved system uptime, enhanced security posture, access to cutting-edge expertise, cloud integration, cost reduction, and heightened customer satisfaction.
- Staffing Considerations: The impact on internal IT staff should be a central consideration. Will they be replaced by the MSP, or will they work alongside them? Leaders must define roles and responsibilities clearly. One approach is to delegate day-to-day system maintenance to the MSP, allowing internal IT teams to focus on strategic initiatives. This model increases employee satisfaction, streamlines operations, and reduces costs.
- Budget Considerations: Assessing the potential cost savings is essential. Consider how inefficiencies in systems and workflows impact your organization. Managed services can improve metrics like first call resolution (FCR), which reduces analyst hours and operating costs. For instance, by improving FCR from 65% to 85%, significant savings can be realized.
The Road Ahead: Transforming Healthcare through Managed IT Services
In summary, managed IT services have emerged as a lifeline for healthcare organizations seeking to flourish in the digital age. As technology continues to redefine the healthcare industry, embracing managed IT services is not just a strategic choice; it’s an imperative necessity.
Discover a Decade of Expertise in healthcare IT services with Nalashaa! With over ten years of experience, we specialize in seamless integrations and cutting-edge enhancements tailored to the demands of today’s technology landscape. Ready to elevate your healthcare solutions? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s innovate together!
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