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Managed IT May be the Solution for Healthcare Organizations in a Post-COVID World

TechSource Editor

June 9, 2020  |  Managed Services  •  Telehealth

COVID-19’s impacts on the healthcare industry have been far reaching. From the rapid response to a global pandemic, to the hurried assimilation of telehealth for routine care to the financial strain on healthcare organizations due to the lack of elective and standard health procedures, the market is poised for long-lasting change.

Organizations have rolled out new workloads they never anticipated from telehealth applications to enabling remote work. These technology investments made in response to the pandemic need to be evaluated not just for current needs, but also for both long-term value and viability to provide immediate patient and bottom line benefit. In doing an analysis, it may become clear that there is value in continuing or even expanding your telehealth offerings or better enabling remote work on non-clinical matters.  However, many organizations will find they do not have the resources in house to support the scale and scope needed to achieve these returns. Managed IT Services may prove to be an answer to both operational and financial challenges found in continuing technology solutions initiated for COVID response.

What are Managed IT Services?

Managed IT is when a third party retains responsibility for the management and functionality of a company’s IT service, hardware and software, freeing up internal IT resources for more mission focused activities. The customer typically pays a monthly fee for the service. Managed service gives organizations the ability to utilize a managed service provider to manage some of their most complex IT tasks or to even just offload routine day-to-day operations. For healthcare organizations this gives them access to a team of technical experts, outside of their IT department, which takes on routine maintenance tasks like applying patches, monitoring and remedying performance issues and/or is the group managing telehealth equipment. Managed service providers are the experts who understand the technology and the innovation landscape ahead to improve the overall performance of technology. Managed IT is not an either/or situation – it does not mean wholly handing over your IT to a third party. Instead, managed IT is a way to deploy resources to the tasks they are best equipped to handle and manage.

Once organizations are ready and able to focus on long-term planning, the analysis of what short term fixes can be kept or even expanded on will be critical. As part of this examination, managed IT should be considered as an option for ensuring that technology that is working for patients and providers can continue to do so without taxing already stretched IT teams. Key considerations you should review when determining your next steps:

  • Interoperability to enable simplicity: What systems and IT investments exist today? Is your telehealth solution easy to use for both providers and patients? Is your video solution device-agnostic, allowing patients and providers to connect with the devices they already have? Does your solution integrate into existing and future workflows and your IT environment?
  • Scalability: Can your solution scale to meet sudden changes in demand? Does your network allow for sharp increase in use/bandwidth? Do you have the IT staff and resources to scale as your virtual care demands fluctuate?
  • Integration and Standardization: Is your virtual care program integrated with existing tools and workflows? Are your systems and solutions standardized to utilize legacy investments to full capacity?
  • Security: What standards and privacy requirements need to be considered? What certifications or user access needs will you have? Do you have appropriate control over your data, usage and deployment?
  • Adoption and Enablement: Do you have a plan to educate and train providers and patients on new or existing telehealth solutions? How will you measure utilization and benchmark success?

In interviews of healthcare CIOs across the country, a recent Becker’s Health IT article kept coming back to the theme of “investments have to be tied to strategic priorities of the organization.” Moving to a managed or as-a-service model after conducting an assessment of current technology use allows organization to focus on and invest in strategic goals. It takes the burden of day-to-day technology management and capital expenditure off the organization allowing them to re-deploy resources and money to strategic initiatives, rather than technology management. Put simply it enables the focus to be on the patient, not the technology.

For more information about Iron Bow’s IronCare Managed Services check out our healthcare site.  Or contact us today for your own customized 5-point assessment.

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