Managed IT Services in Health Care: Boosting Efficiency and Care

Managed IT Services in Health Care: Boosting Efficiency and Care

Information technology (IT) in health care organizations can improve patient care and management. It has transformed how health care is provided, with innovations like wearable gadgets tracking vital signs and telemedicine platforms enabling remote medical visits.

These advancements come with challenges in maintaining and securing complex IT systems. Managed IT services providers can address these challenges by offering specialized expertise and support tailored to the unique needs of health care organizations.

By partnering with expert managed service providers (MSPs), health care providers can improve their IT infrastructure’s reliability, security, and compliance, so they can focus on delivering high-quality patient care and operational effectiveness.

In this article, we explain managed IT services in detail, including the pros and cons of outsourcing IT functions. We also offer tips to help you select the best provider for your business.

Table of contents:

What are managed IT services?

Managed IT services involve outsourcing some or all of an organization’s IT responsibilities to third-party providers, such as individual contractors or agencies. These MSPs specialize in IT, particularly in sectors relevant to health care, such as data security, patient confidentiality, and cloud computing.

In health care, managed IT services help secure sensitive patient information and provide health care providers with the technology and software they need to deliver efficient and effective care. These IT services can include infrastructure management, network monitoring, and help desk support.

For example, a managed IT service provider can help a health care organization set up and maintain a secure electronic health records (EHR) system. This includes securely storing and transmitting patient data and keeping the EHR system up to date and accessible to health care providers.

Managed IT services can also help health care providers meet regulatory requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which sets standards for protecting patient health information. These services can help health care providers implement policies to train all team members in HIPAA regulations and follow best practices for data privacy. IT service providers can also perform regular audits to detect potential vulnerabilities and ensure all systems comply with these regulations.

By outsourcing their IT needs to experts, health care providers can spend their time and effort on providing high-quality care to patients. Managed IT services also help health care providers access technologies constantly, improving efficiency and reducing the costs of having an in-house team.

The growing need for managed health care IT

Health care IT has evolved significantly in the past few decades, from paper-based records to advanced digital systems that provide real-time access to patient information.

According to a recent study, 90% of health care executives have either implemented or are in the process of implementing digital health technology in their institutions. This demonstrates the growing need for managed IT services as these organizations continue to integrate health care technology into their operations.

One example is telehealth technology, which is on the rise in health care. Telehealth enables patients to receive medical care remotely through technology such as remote monitoring, video chatting, and mobile health applications. The approach has become increasingly popular due to its convenience and ability to provide access to health care services for patients in remote areas.

As health companies undergo these digital transformations, their IT needs become more complex. Managed IT providers offer health care organizations comprehensive services, including data management and cybersecurity.

In the case of telehealth, IT experts can ensure the systems are user-friendly, reliable, and secure. They can also provide technical support to patients who encounter issues using the platform. This support may include troubleshooting common problems, assisting with software updates, and addressing connectivity issues to maintain uninterrupted access to telehealth services.

Pros and cons of managed IT services in health care

Below, we explore the pros and cons of managed health care IT services to help you decide whether they’re right for your organization.

Pros

Some of the key benefits of managed IT health care services include the following:

  • Improved cybersecurity. IT experts who specialize in health care systems and technologies prioritize data privacy to safeguard patient information. They can provide effective solutions to mitigate potential cybersecurity risks.
  • Streamlined workflows. Managed IT service providers can tailor and streamline software systems with customized interfaces to meet the specific needs of health care organizations. This can help health care practitioners make better-informed decisions, leading to better patient outcomes.
  • Reduced downtime. IT service providers can offer maintenance and support to prevent downtime and ensure that systems are running smoothly. This service can save health care organizations time and money by reducing the need for costly repairs that can impact patient care.
  • Cost savings. Managed IT health care services can provide health care organizations with access to expert resources and knowledge without significant upfront investments. This approach helps in the efficient utilization of resources and also allows predictable budgeting and scalability.
  • Enhanced patient data security. Managed IT services providers can monitor sensitive patient data to help prevent data breaches and online threats.

Cons

Health care organizations face a few unique challenges that may make them reluctant to outsource IT services to other individuals or companies. These challenges include:

  • Data security. Any security breach can result in consequences, including legal repercussions, loss of reputation, and patient trust.
  • HIPAA compliance. Violating HIPAA regulations can result in fines and legal action.
  • Staffing. Health care organizations need to hire skilled IT professionals who understand requirements specific to health care, which can be expensive.
  • Patient experience. Health care organizations’ IT providers must provide high-quality services that meet patients’ varying needs and expectations.

How managed IT services address health care challenges

Fortunately, managed IT service providers can address the challenges discussed above by providing tailored solutions that cater to the needs of the health care industry in the following ways:

  • Enhanced security. IT service providers can implement firewalls and other security measures to prevent data breaches. They can also ensure data is backed up regularly and securely.
  • HIPAA regulatory compliance. Managed IT services can help health care companies achieve HIPAA compliance by implementing access controls and network security measures. They can also provide training to staff on HIPAA regulations.
  • Expert staff. Managed services can provide health care organizations access to a team of skilled IT workers with expertise in requirements specifically for health care. They also offer 24/7 support.
  • Improved patient experience. Managed health care IT services can offer mobile apps and other digital tools that make it easy for patients to access their medical records and communicate with health care providers.

Components of managed IT services in health care

Third-party IT experts can assist health care organizations with the following technical services:

  • Help desk support. IT experts can provide 24/7 support to solve patient issues, fix connectivity problems, and ensure the smooth operation of medical equipment. They can quickly address technical issues, allowing patients to access their records and receive medical attention.
  • Disaster recovery. Managed IT service providers can resolve software breaches and disruptions, locate missing files, and organize data efficiently in real time. In a natural disaster or cyber attack, IT experts can quickly recover data, ensuring the continuity of health care operations and patient care.
  • Cloud services. Cloud services can facilitate medical record sharing and improve collaboration among health care professionals. IT experts can provide secure cloud-based storage solutions, allowing health care providers to safely access patient information from anywhere.
  • Data center management. IT staff can help health care organizations make patient data accessible to authorized personnel while protecting it from others. For instance, they can implement data storage solutions that comply with HIPAA regulations, guarding patient data from breaches.

Managed IT services’ cost-effectiveness and ROI

When it comes to managing IT services, health care organizations can hire an in-house IT team or a third-party managed IT services provider. While in-house IT teams give clients complete control over their IT infrastructure, they can be expensive to hire and maintain. On the other hand, managed IT service providers can offer cost-effective solutions that align with an organization’s needs.

For example, you can outsource IT responsibilities to a managed service provider, an agency specializing in network administration, cybersecurity, and other related fields. Rates for these services can range between $25 to $100 per hour. Assuming an average cost of $50 per hour, if an organization needs these services for 20 hours per week, it will spend $52,000 per year. However, this amount can vary depending on the organization’s specific needs, allowing them to control their spending.

In contrast, hiring a full-time IT employee can be much more costly. For instance, an information security analyst has a median annual salary of $112,000 per year. Not only do you have to pay for their salary, but also benefits, training, and equipment.

In addition, one full-time employee may not be enough to cover all of a health care organization’s IT needs, especially if they require access to support 24/7. In this case, the client would need to hire multiple full-time employees, which can quickly add up in costs.

Return on investment (ROI) measures the profitability of an investment in relation to its cost. Managed IT services can lead to increased profitability by reducing downtime so health care organizations can maintain productivity and avoid revenue losses.

IT service providers can also improve operational efficiency by offering 24/7 support, giving continuous access to IT expertise, and expediting technical issue resolution. Outsourcing IT services to providers also gives organizations access to specialized knowledge without the costs of hiring and training internal staff.

How to choose the right managed service provider

Choosing the right managed IT service provider can streamline operations, data security, and compliance with regulatory requirements. Below are some key factors to consider, along with a checklist of questions for health care organizations to use to evaluate an IT provider.

  • Industry knowledge. Look for a provider with experience working with health care organizations. They should understand the unique challenges and technology needs of the health care sector.
  • Comprehensive services. Choose an IT expert who offers services tailored to health  care organizations, including network management, cybersecurity, data backup and recovery, and compliance consulting.
  • 24/7 support. Ensure your provider offers ongoing support to address IT issues quickly and minimize disruptions to critical health care operations.
  • HIPAA compliance expertise. Verify that the IT support services agency or freelancer has expertise in HIPAA compliance and other relevant regulations governing the health care industry.
  • Pricing models. Select a service provider that provides transparent pricing models tailored to your organization’s budget and needs.

To gather this information about managed IT service providers, you can request references and case studies, review testimonials and online reviews, and explore their social media and online presence to better understand their reputation in the industry. These methods can help health care organizations make informed decisions when selecting a provider that aligns with their IT needs and budget constraints.

You can also ask the service provider the following questions:

  • What is your experience working with health care organizations, and can you provide references or case studies?
  • What specific services do you offer for health care organizations, and how are they tailored to our industry’s needs?
  • Do you provide 24/7 support for resolving critical IT issues?
  • What security measures do you implement to protect patient data from breaches?
  • Is your pricing model scalable to accommodate our organization’s changing IT needs?
  • What are your disaster recovery procedures, and how do you ensure data integrity and accessibility?

By considering these critical factors and asking the right questions, health care organizations can confidently choose a managed IT service provider that aligns with their needs and will successfully manage their IT infrastructure and services.

Find managed service experts on Upwork

If you’re looking to hire skilled managed service providers, Upwork is the best place to start your search. With just a few clicks, you can easily browse through the top-rated IT and managed service professionals and select the one that best fits your needs.

You can also choose from over 50 managed service provider companies and find the perfect fit for your IT and networking requirements.

Heading

asdassdsad
Projects related to this article:
No items found.

Author Spotlight

Managed IT Services in Health Care: Boosting Efficiency and Care
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

Get This Article as a PDF

For easy printing, reading, and sharing.

Download PDF

Latest articles

X Icon
Hide