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Health IT outsourcing helps organizations manage costs

Healthcare organizations that want to work toward high-visibility initiatives may want to consider outsourcing IT support as a way to free up internal resources.

In the last decade, the healthcare job market saw an incredible amount of growth. The demand for health informatics workers continued to climb due to federal policies that promoted the use of electronic health records. With no shortage of technology needs in sight, hospitals are finding it more difficult to recruit IT talent. Many are turning to the cloud to reduce the complexity of their environments and support needs. However, the cloud has not been the only thing on the minds of CIOs to help with this -- health IT outsourcing has also been on the agenda.

Despite the popularity of cloud services, many of the assumptions that the cloud would reduce maintenance costs and allow organizations to reallocate their resources to more valuable roles proved to be inaccurate. In fact, many of the early adopters of the cloud found that simply moving their workloads to the cloud required just as much management as on-premises workloads. Concerns around security required even more emphasis on monitoring and managing the data stored outside the organization's firewalls.

Another area that is forcing hospitals to consider health IT outsourcing is security. With the increasing threats from ransomware and other cyberattacks, healthcare organizations need more resources to focus on security. CISOs are looking to either increase their budget and grow their team to improve their protections or to work with third-party vendors to assist with monitoring and managing security events.

More health IT executives are choosing the latter option and seeking help from third-party vendors to contain costs since managed services have become a commodity. Health IT outsourcing is cost-effective and allows the hospital IT staff to focus on higher value items.

Managed service providers (MSPs) are structured to deliver on their service-level agreements with accuracy for multiple clients, and many have created a niche by focusing on healthcare clients only. They typically have all the appropriate resources for escalations, supporting healthcare clients, and possess a strong understanding of compliance requirements that healthcare needs. Some of the leading vendors in the MSP space have recognized the need to bundle services that are relevant to healthcare groups, such as:

  • security monitoring and management
  • cloud workloads management and support
  • 24/7/365 IT help desk support
  • hardware and operating system support
  • license management
  • vendor management
  • end user training
  • new employee onboarding
  • ongoing security awareness initiatives
  • HIPAA compliance training and audits
  • disaster recovery and business continuity planning services
  • cloud services

By working with the services listed above from MSPs, hospitals can free some of their internal resources and allocate them to other projects and initiatives that are far more impactful to their organizations. Projects related to analytics, IoT, cloud adoption, mHealth, EHR implementations or upgrades, and patient engagement solutions are just a few areas internal IT staff can shift their focus to once free.

Some industries see outsourcing IT support as a job killer, but in healthcare, it is an effective way to put existing resources to better use. Health IT outsourcing allows hospital IT staff to be more involved in high-visibility initiatives and projects. CIOs can now effectively free some of their engineers from having to constantly put out IT fires. This allows them to use their healthcare and IT knowledge to help advance important hospital initiatives.

Next Steps

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This was last published in October 2017

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