The healthcare industry has continually adapted to the patient, staff, and regulatory needs. Information technology (IT) has been a key component of healthcare globally to support those demands. It’s allowed medical and dental practices to modernize their workflow and improve patient engagement, allowing for a higher quality of care.
As part of those changes, there’s been a steady demand for home care through telemedicine. Not only is it convenient, but 86% of patients were satisfied with the service provided. Other innovations include predictive analytics for patient care, using AI to automate tasks, virtual collaboration tools, and expanding services offered by local providers. With technology integrated throughout the process, IT is essential for maintaining those systems.
Managed services have been critical in handling IT challenges due to the high adoption rate of healthcare technology and a growing need for experienced staff. This guide will discuss what managed IT services are, the top 7 challenges, the top 7 benefits, and how these services can help your clinic.
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What are Managed IT Services for Healthcare?
Healthcare-managed IT services outsource their technology needs to a third-party organization. That helps with HIPAA compliance, cloud services, cybersecurity, data backup, software, and more. They can coordinate with in-house support teams or completely handle services from top-to-bottom.
A managed IT provider specializing in healthcare focuses its efforts on crucial areas of the industry. Medical and dental practices are patient-driven, making the technology experience for both the patient and the provider a priority for improving the quality of care. Electronic health record (EHR) systems need to be responsive, accurate, and easy to use. Website information and patient user accounts should be simple to navigate.
Even with a well-designed IT infrastructure, cybercriminals are a constant threat. 83% of physicians reported experiencing some form of cyberattack. This causes cybersecurity, data recovery, and monitoring to be invaluable services to prevent and react to hazards. With so many interacting layers of technology, this creates many complications that are best solved by managed IT services.
Top 7 IT Challenges Face by Medical & Dental Practices
There are a lot of IT challenges faced by medical and dental practices throughout the world. With changes in patient needs, threats of data breaches, and rising maintenance costs, keeping pace with the IT industry has become difficult. That has led to smaller in-house IT teams losing value and effectiveness, as they don’t have resources or experience overhauling larger-scale systems.
Between ongoing health concerns and added convenience, telemedicine has been an essential element for many medical and dental practices to stay in business. These systems require cross-communication between various systems, like user accounts, medical records, and video chat software. Setting these up can be a lengthy and convoluted process, especially if a complete overhaul is required.
Medical and dental practices process and maintain a vast amount of patient data. That includes medical records, insurance information, payment processing, and other private material. Processing and accessing all this information can be a challenge since it must be stored in a usable manner. EHR backups must also be maintained. Emergencies are rarely anticipated, and reacquiring lost data can be difficult and damage patient trust.
The healthcare industry has been an increasingly attractive target for criminals. Selling private health information from patients and ransoming high-value networks can have catastrophic consequences for medical and dental practices. Outdated cybersecurity methods are now more easily bypassed, making way for the need for stricter and more effective measures.
Many healthcare clinics are now using mobile applications as part of their patient experience. This makes it easier for them to schedule appointments, check medical records, and ask questions directly to their providers. Designing and maintaining these applications requires ongoing IT support. They need security updates, bug fixes, feature changes, and more based on their utilization.
Managing data is crucial, but meeting industry standards for IT compliance is also necessary. Due to the sensitivity of the acquired information, there are additional guidelines for storage and cybersecurity. Assessing whether a practice meets these regulations requires an experienced staff familiar with HIPAA compliance, can spot areas that come up short, and can implement fixes promptly.
As more healthcare offices integrate technology changes, staff may be hesitant to embrace and try out changes they don’t understand. Training them to understand and trust these updates isn’t always easy, especially if a practice uses outdated and inefficient methods like paper charts. Having a reliable and trustworthy IT team makes it easier to train staff and integrate new changes in a way that’s beneficial for everyone.
Even with good intentions and proper planning, financial limitations are an ongoing obstacle for IT. Serving patients is the core of healthcare, and the role technology plays in that process is often understated. That leads to underbudgeted IT departments asking to do more than they have the staff or resources for, creating a gap in services.
Top 7 Benefits of Using Managed IT for Healthcare
Medical and dental practices have many IT needs that can be difficult to navigate. Not only can managed IT services help with industry challenges, but they also provide additional services that proactively improve IT capabilities. Whether using co-managed or fully outsourced IT services, there are many benefits to using managed IT services for healthcare.
IT staff recruitment
Recruiting and onboarding new IT employees can take a lot of time and money, with no guarantee that they will be successful. The average cost-per-hire is $4,425 and takes over a month to fill, which can scale upward depending on the specialization. Managed IT services internally train and onboard their staff, bringing them up to speed with their solutions and services. As a result, the cost and risks of hiring new IT staff are completely outsourced.
Besides bypassing expenses from staff recruitment, there are several ways managed IT services for healthcare can create cost savings. Inefficient and outdated IT infrastructure can generate a lot of wasted time. This diverts staff away from patients as they deal with hardware and software bumps that slow them down. Managed services can also provide solutions to those issues at a lower cost because IT staff is already specialized in doing so.
Managed IT services can scale based on current needs, anticipated growth, and long-term goals. That helps better utilize budget and IT resources by reducing wastage on projects that are low priority, ineffective, or poorly designed. By not paying for unnecessary services and implementing long-lasting solutions, healthcare clinics can save up to 40% on their IT costs by switching to managed services.
Every healthcare provider has a unique set of challenges, needs, and goals with their continuous functions. There’s no single best solution for every situation; some may be more effective than others. Managed IT services for medical practices can develop customized solutions that factor in those situations. This allows for higher effectiveness while minimizing costs.
Monitoring IT infrastructure can be a daunting task, especially for smaller IT teams with limited time and resources. By using managed IT services, 24/7 monitoring can be completely outsourced, which shifts the workload to a third party that is better suited to handle the task. Their staff will conduct monitoring and disaster response, allowing them to respond better to any issue than most in-house teams.
Not every issue is going to be a calamity. Managed IT services have staff able to help on an as-needed basis too. An outsourced helpdesk can assist with matters of any size, including answering end-user questions and providing guidance on new system functions. Availability covers standard business hours and often includes 24/7 support options depending on the needs of the healthcare clinic.
By using managed IT services, employee productivity can be improved in various ways. Well-built IT infrastructure is easy to access, use, learn, and understand. Software changes and computer upgrades are made more quickly based on evolving needs, rather than leaving employees struggling with inefficiencies long-term. With on-demand helpdesk support and monitoring, unexpected issues are quickly reacted to and fixed.
How Can Managed IT Help Your Medical Practice?
With increasingly complex and expensive EHR systems needed to manage vital data, serving the needs of both staff and patients has outgrown the capabilities of many smaller in-house IT teams. Every medical practice has its own workflow and obligations, making specialized solutions a more effective way to use a clinic’s limited IT resources.
Managed IT services can provide larger-scale support on everything from hardware and software to mobile apps and HIPAA compliant cybersecurity. Outsourcing IT challenges to a third-party team shifts the extra burden, risks, and cost externally. At the same time, the additional expertise, resources, and monitoring make for reliable support and more effective solutions. Better services, lower costs, and fewer risks make outsourcing a practical choice.
ITonDemand’s healthcare IT services offer an experienced team to take on any IT challenge. We’ll help you solve inefficiencies and cost inflation with enhancements that save time and money. In addition, our team will prepare your infrastructure for changes in staffing, logistics, and patient needs. Your technology should work with you, not against you. With help from ITonDemand, we can make that happen.