Managed IT Services for Healthcare – Everything That Your Healthcare Organization Needs to Know

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Today, 84% of hospitals and healthcare centers use cloud service for backup, analytics, and disaster recovery functions. And more than 76% of healthcare service providers are moving their existing IT infrastructure to the cloud. A rising trend to facilitate a seamless migration includes leveraging managed IT services for healthcare.

“Did you know that the healthcare cloud computing market is expected to hit $55 billion by 2025?”

Hospitals often opt for this strategy to minimize the frictions of self-managing cloud IT infrastructure, such as high costs. But what do healthcare managed IT services entail? Here is a quick guide to give you a better perspective.

healthcare cloud computing market

What is Managed IT Services in Healthcare?

Managed IT services in healthcare entails outsourcing a facility’s IT functions, as well as operations to a third-party, usually at a lower cost than running an internal department. Third-party service providers for medical managed services are mostly referred to as managed service providers (MSPs).

Healthcare managed IT service providers are responsible for:

System Monitoring

One of the critical IT functions performed by cloud managed services providers is ongoing system monitoring, which includes testing and security checks. For instance, they can manage and monitor your medical application and facilitate the necessary upgrades on a need basis.

Technical Support

MSPs give 24/7 technical support to ensure that your medical IT infrastructure is up and running, year in, year out. The support may extend to regulating identity and access to the platform, doing incidences checks, and reporting for real-time resolution before they prove to be costly.

Issue Resolution

Managed IT services come with an all-around service desk to facilitate prompt issue resolution. This function can include a general IT help desk, a clinical service desk, and a patient service desk. Both employees and patients can resort to these help desks to have their issues resolved in real-time, 24/7.

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Top 5 Cloud Managed Services Used in the Healthcare Industry

Some of the most sought-after managed services healthcare in the industry include:

Healthcare & Patient’s Data Backup and Recover

This service is sometimes referred to as operational recovery, which entails building and storing copies of patient information to mitigate losses in anticipation, or in the event of a breach. Although healthcare professionals can do this on their own, seeking the services of an MSP is always the prudent solution because third parties have the technical know-how and expertise of doing this effectively.

An MSP will build a security-proof strategy that guarantees full data recovery in the event of a breach. Even better, they do this autonomously so that you can focus on other core practice functions, such as following up on patients to enhance their experience and promote quality healthcare. The benefits of a proactive data recovery plan are numerous, including cost reduction, minimized downtime, as well as enhanced cybersecurity.

EMR Consulting & Support

Electronic medical records, popularly abbreviated as EMR are critical in running a modern practice. EMR consulting offered by MSPs comes with full-time technical support to minimize downtime in case hitches arise. An MSP gives you access to trained and authorized professionals who can be stationed at your facility and operate as an extended team of your internal department. Alternatively, these professionals might travel to your location from time to time to ensure that the installed EMR hardware works optimally, as designed and intended.

Besides installing innovative hardware to streamline workflows when capturing medical records EMR consulting & support services can extend to configuring:

  • Tablet PCs
  • Printer, scanners, and fax machines
  • A signature pad for electronic signing

Healthcare IT Security

Cloud security in healthcare can be challenging, given that medical practices are regulated by varying rules and provisions that differ from one jurisdiction to another. For instance, the laws guiding the access and storage of medical data in the US are definitely different from the UK’s provisions. With this in mind, healthcare professionals often opt for on-premise data storage solutions to comply with the local laws and regulations.

However, building a custom on-premise IT infrastructure that is fully regulatory compliant when accessing and storing patient information can be pretty daunting. MSPs can help you do that effectively while keeping up with regulatory obligations. At the same time, MSPs can help you build applications that require higher availability than their regular counterparts to guarantee a secure, continuous workflow.

“Did you know that by the end of 2020, security breaches cost $6 trillion dollars for healthcare companies and there is a 75.6% chance of a breach of at least five million records in the upcoming year alone?”

24/7 Network Monitoring

Often designated as 24x7x365, this is a network monitoring service that keeps tabs on your IT infrastructure around the clock, throughout the year. The service, usually offered by a resourceful MSP, extends to server monitoring and real-time desktop support so that issues can be resolved as they arise to ensure business continuity.

Healthcare practices are investing in this service to cushion themselves against unforeseen, but usually targeted and coordinated cyberattacks, ransomware threats, and data breaches. Typically, network practitioners need 24/7 network monitoring to facilitate:

  • Patient care quality and continuity
  • Centralized medical information for seamless access and management
  • Real-time collaboration on multiple, secure devices
  • Ongoing medical research and development
  • Improved patient experience in online bookings and appointments

Data Migration & Managed Cloud Infrastructure

Businesses understand that cloud computing is the latest tech powering innovation and service delivery in the healthcare industry. However, operating or migrating to the cloud is totally different from what medical practitioners are used to when deploying patient information to legacy systems. It takes an experienced MSP with necessary data migration & cloud infrastructure skills, as well as understanding to do this effectively.

A reputable MSP will perform various functions when shifting your IT functions to cloud infrastructure, including:

  • Patient data transfer from legacy systems to the cloud
  • Data restructuring for PHI encryption and separation
  • Systems and apps restructuring to ensure that they are cloud-native
  • Security beef-up through network isolation controls

Data migration to the cloud is an iterative cycle that involves moving data of every application from a primary origin to a centralized cloud destination. Your MSP will leverage machine learning tools to minimize any error or data discrepancies during the entire process.

The Benefits of Managed Services for Healthcare Providers

Managed services for healthcare providers come with a ton of business benefits, including:

Improved Patient Healthcare

Outdated technologies and computer systems are a pain point for any business that wants to streamline its operations and enhance customer experience, healthcare facilities notwithstanding. Moreover, using outdated technologies to manage patient journeys can compromise the quality of healthcare, given that they are unreliable, and in most cases, insecure.

Healthcare managed IT services ensure that your practice leverages up-to-date systems and technology to optimize internal processes and improve patient healthcare in the process. For example, real-time collaborative tools offered by MSPs can increase engagement between staff and patients, even in the instances of remote healthcare provision.

At the same time, managed services can help you increase staff mobility, which in turn offers greater employee satisfaction. A happy staff means optimal service delivery throughout all patient touch points.

Security

Security is paramount in healthcare facilities because they often deal with sensitive patient data. Healthcare businesses are typically required to comply with certain rules and regulations to guarantee the privacy, as well as security of patient health data. For instance, practitioners in the US must comply with various federal regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Privacy Rule.

The latter regulation requires healthcare practitioners to safeguard patient data, whether stored in physical or electronic formats. There is also the security law that applies to patient data stored in digital formats. MSPs will help you create unique data encryption processes, as well as implement innovative IT security measures to enhance compliance in these areas.

At the same time, an MSP will offer secure collaboration systems to ensure that hospital staff works together in real-time without jeopardizing the security of patient data. For instance, they can encrypt communication between devices, as well as cloud access to ensure that all patient records are safe.

Cost-Optimization

Any business must always keep its operation costs lower to sustain itself, healthcare centers not being an exemption. With that in mind, it is always the goal of any healthcare service provider to accomplish more on a reasonable budget. But again, doctors and nurses are expected to offer the highest quality of healthcare services as provided by codes of conduct and various regulatory requirements.

MSPs take over IT management and monitoring functions to help you save costs. They can do this at a relatively affordable budget, thanks to economies of scale, since they serve many clients at the same time. Even better, they offer all-around services, such as compliance and security predetermined overhead costs, so that you can plan the budget ahead.

Managed IT services also means you don’t have to hire specialized talents or train the existing internal department on an ongoing basis, saving you from unnecessary costs.

Want to see how we provide managed services in healthcare hands-on? Check out our recent Case Study with Easly

Scalable Infrastructure

Probably the biggest challenge that healthcare businesses face is scalability. For instance, you might have to deal with outdated on-premise data centers, not to mention limited physical space if you are still using legacy systems for data storage. There is also the issue of limited budgets when it comes to technologies that offer limited to zero scalable options. All these obstacles might hinder business growth and impede patient care improvement.

Partnering with an innovative MSP can help you scale rapidly at relatively affordable costs. Your service provider can help you acquire or build custom software to extend your healthcare operations to a cloud-hosted infrastructure. This means that you can hire and train more staff, as well as accommodate a high number of patients on your system.

Business Agility

Business agility entails rapid, ongoing, and systematic adaption to the prevailing industry trends in a bid to maintain a competitive edge over other players. This extends to streamlining strategies that touch on complex and ambiguous, yet critical functions, such as IT operations.

Working with an MSP ensures that your medical practice adopts strategies geared towards business continuity. For example, proactive data recovery plans can ensure that you don’t lose vital patient information in the event of a disaster. There are also proactive security measures that ensure 24/7 compliance so that you don’t get bogged down with unnecessary fines or long-term penalties that might include withdrawal of your practice certificate.

Another MSP function that can help streamline business agility is staffing. An experienced MSP should offer a single point of contact for all your staffing functions, including real-time customer support, account management, or any other role that you want to outsource.

IT Risks for Healthcare Providers and How to Overcome Them

Prevalent risks faced by healthcare providers due to poorly manages IT functions and infrastructure include cyberattacks. A recent survey shows that 83% of physician practices have already experienced some form of cyberattack. These attacks have led to a loss of vital data, including private patient information, lab results, diagnoses, and critical medication lists. The survey also points out that phishing and computer viruses are the most prevalent types of targeted cyberattacks meted out on physician practices.

The healthcare industry still remains one of the most sought-after targets by cybercriminals, given that most practices around this sector still operate on outdated technologies and legacy systems. Most practices are often driven out of business if they can’t honor demands from the cyber attackers, such as paying ransom to recover their lost data.

Fortunately, partnering with an MSP can help you leverage the latest technologies that auto-update to safeguard vital patient data. An experienced service provider can also implement monitoring systems that detect and counteract cybersecurity risks before they result in actual breaches.

“Did you know the most popular targets among hackers are the healthcare and finance industry, at an astonishing 15% and 10% respectfully?”

Wrapping It Up

Managed IT services for healthcare are a game-changer for many practices. They take over the tiresome, redundant, yet critical IT functions to let professionals focus on what they do better—providing optimal healthcare while keeping risks at bay. Consult an experienced MSP today to find your IT outsourcing options and streamline the workflow in your practice.

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