Throughout the 21st century, technology has revolutionized nearly every sector of the economy. The healthcare industry is no exception, as it has seen significant changes over the past two decades.
Practitioners in 2000 would barely recognize the field today. From the digitization of patient records to the rise of telehealth, everything is different. The result of these changes? Health systems that are safer and more efficient.
The introduction of managed IT services has been crucial in achieving these shifts. In today’s post, we’ll share how these external firms have improved the functioning of healthcare organizations.
Reductions in Medical Malpractice
Misread medical charts can have fatal consequences. According to a John Hopkins study, medical malpractice is the third-leading cause of death in America. Only heart disease and cancer claim more victims annually.
Until recently, most hospitals used paper-based systems to keep track of medical records. This method had obvious drawbacks – for instance, poor handwriting often left nurses and other health professionals guessing. Additionally, paper records frequently went missing or got destroyed.
These troubling issues went away with the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs). With the assistance of managed IT service firms, most hospitals in America have digitized their records. Not only are EHRs nearly impossible to lose, but misinterpretation of handwriting is now a thing of the past.
Digitization has also introduced an unexpected benefit. Now, information like allergies and prescribed drugs are in electronic databases. Because of this, attending physicians can easily avoid life-threatening interactions as they treat new patients.
These modernization efforts have led to a significant reduction in medical malpractice events. According to analysis published in JAMA Internal Medicine, instances fell by more than 50% from 1992 to 2014.
Lowered IT Costs
There’s no getting around it – healthcare is an expensive profession. At the same time, hospital administrators face continuous pressure to increase profits.
IT is one area where they have found savings. Firstly, maintaining on-site server farms consumes significant amounts of time and capital. By hiring managed IT service firms, healthcare organizations have begun to migrate their networks to the cloud. Some entities have reported saving upwards of 45-50% on maintenance, energy, and related costs.
Secondly, IT outsourcers can help healthcare organizations with their labor costs. According to Salary.com, the average help desk employee makes $53,044 per year. If a hospital has eight in-house help desk technicians, that’s an annual labor spend of over $400,000.
Managed IT services firms offer a full suite of services from $100 per user/month – help desk included. So, if there are 200 users at a hospital, they would spend $240,000 on outsourced services. Bear in mind – this includes more than help desk services. Many IT outsourcers also include cybersecurity, network monitoring, and disaster recovery services in their packages.
In 1996, Congress passed HIPAA, or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. This legislation sought to modernize how healthcare organizations stored and protected patient information.
In the real world, however, compliance is scattershot. Healthcare IT professionals juggle many responsibilities daily – sometimes, HIPAA compliance slips through the cracks. If caught, though, organizations may have to pay $50,000 – per violation.
To avoid a costly encounter with government regulators, healthcare IT departments have brought in outsourcers. These teams focus on getting operations HIPAA-compliant, while the in-house IT team handles everyday issues. As a result, healthcare providers experience minimal disruption while getting their systems up to code.
Creation of Telehealth Apps
COVID-19 has put enormous stress on our societal institutions. Needless to say, our healthcare sector has been one of the hardest-hit areas.
One of their biggest problems? Ongoing care for non-emergency, non-COVID patients. With infection rates skyrocketing across the country, those with health concerns have hesitated to visit the doctor. To accommodate these people, health authorities have begun launching telehealth apps.
However, some in-house teams have struggled to implement these initiatives. Consequently, the intervention of managed IT services firms has been essential for many healthcare providers.
Their diverse labor pool means they can easily handle the coding, setup, and maintenance of a telehealth app. Thanks to their hard work, patients nationwide can seek medical help from the comfort of their homes.
Widespread Improvements in Public Health
As healthcare organizations digitize their operations, they are accumulating massive data sets. Within these statistics lie revelations that could transform healthcare as we know it. As you already know, however, daily responsibilities take up all the time on-site teams have.
Enter the managed IT services firm. Not only can they handle help desk duties and network monitoring, but they can also perform Big Data analysis. For instance, these firms can track EHR trends. In doing so, they may help healthcare providers spot outbreaks in real-time. Consequently, administrators can dispatch medicine, professionals, and equipment to where they are most needed.
The Information Revolution Has Improved Our Healthcare System
These changes are just the beginning. As AI, machine learning, and other information technologies evolve, healthcare organizations will get better at fulfilling their mandates.