Managed IT in a Patient-Centered Healthcare Organization

Technology practices in healthcare have changed. Fifteen years ago, IT meant the guy that came and fixed your computers. Today, the complexity of patient medical information, billing systems, and surgical machinery must be supported by an automated IT network. Additionally, patients are engaged in their own healthcare like never before; from digital fitness apps to Googling symptoms and WebMD. Hospitals must adapt to stay relevant with the way that patients expect medical information to be available.

Healthcare CIOs are shifting focus from strictly technical projects to those that integrate patients and position their hospital as a leader in the industry. Investing in more efficient IT creates a system of high-quality patient care and low-cost workflows, which delivers business value for your organization.

Opportunities for Improvement

A strong partnership between the physicians and your IT team is crucial. Both departments have the same goal: to provide the highest quality of care for patients and families. Utilizing Managed IT allows for streamlined operations, comprehensive real-time medical data, and superior levels of service.

 1. Cybersecurity: HIPAA and PCI compliance

Strict regulations governing the healthcare industry work to protect the confidentiality of patients but unfortunately, do not address the risks in today’s digital environment. HIPAA and PCI compliance is the most important security measure, simply due to the valuable medical and personal data at stake. Your hospital IT team should consider the security of your patient’s personal information the highest priority.

Utilizing a Managed IT provider’s compliance expertise for Electronic Healthcare Records (EHRs) and other sensitive info ensures the highest level of data protection available. Your IT team can work alongside the Managed IT provider to conduct HIPAA risk assessments and provide regular monitoring and upgrades for antivirus and malware. This kind of continuous preparation protects your data from cybersecurity threats and fully adheres to compliance standards.

 2. Backup and Data Protection

Healthcare regulations do protect medical data but are not guaranteed security. To safeguard your EHRs completely, compliance and replication must work together. To replicate your data is to copy and store it in a remote offsite facility for “True disaster recovery”. When your system is compromised due to internal negligence or external forces of nature, every important piece of information is saved and available instantaneously. Better data storage and recovery lead to enhanced collaboration between doctors, patients, and other staff members.

Managed IT providers offer Cloud solutions for healthcare because the data sharing capabilities improve how doctors collect information and transfer it between departments. Scenario: A patient gets an emergency appendectomy in January and sees a different doctor for stomach pains in July. However, your hospital had a major power outage in March that wiped out many of the internal files. With the Cloud, the patient’s EHR is secure and able to be recovered with up-to-date information that can be used by doctors and available online for the patient. Increasing accessibility and efficiency saves on overall healthcare costs and generates informed patients.

 3. Device Security and BYOD

Technology’s role in healthcare is to support the doctors, nurses, and staff members to create an efficient, effective patient experience. Instead of writing down a patient’s vitals in a chart, nurses enter blood pressure and temperature data into a tablet for the doctor to review. Hospital staff uses Android and other smart technology to communicate across the building and keep on schedule. Many healthcare organizations allow doctors to use their personal devices at work, which risks data breaches and provides room for error.

While mobile devices deliver a user-friendly network, how does the IT staff control and protect data on all the devices in the hospital? Managed IT providers integrate Mobile Device Management (MDM) to enhance internal productivity while ensuring the safety of patient EHRs. IT staff can monitor and restrict the information available on specific devices, track how it is used, and wipe clean the media that is no longer at the hospital. MDM acts as insurance against potential financial damage, but also maintains your organization’s reputation and your patient’s trust.

In healthcare today, IT is less about wires and computers and more about developing strong connections between healers and their patients. The struggle to maintain secure, sharable data doesn’t have to be a struggle. Investing in Managed IT delivers long-term value to your hospital by partnering with experts who can assist your IT team in implementing new strategies and maximize their time spent on projects. High-quality healthcare starts with data visibility and access and ends with comprehensive diagnosis and treatment.