The healthcare sector has experienced several transformations in the past decade. After the revolutionary upsurge in digital technologies and innovations, all aspects of the healthcare industry have reshaped and improved. Patients’ data can now be stored to build case and knowledge bases to understand better and evaluate disease and plausible cure.

This data can be shared with patients or other internal departments in the form of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Patients based in remote and rural areas can be observed and treated via telemedicine. Online scheduling of appointments and medication refill requests can be made digitally through patient portals.

Over the past few years, outsourcing IT has appeared as one of the most successful business models. It eliminates the unnecessary headache and load of HR management, logistics, accounting, and other tasks by offering an efficient and cost-effective escape route of outsourcing in the form of staff augmentation, managed services, or project outsourcing. 

As far as the healthcare industry is concerned, it undoubtedly faces plenty of challenges related to affordable and effective patient care. There is a vital need to offer quality care in today’s global healthcare industry and cut costs. These are some of the primary drivers of modern-day’s IT outsourcing.

Also Read: A Complete Guide to Calculate Outsourcing Cost in 2021

Most certainly, no other sector or industry can better benefits from the perks of Digitalization than healthcare. As the healthcare industry produces a large amount of data, the healthcare providers are in constant need to access and digitally track the patient’s record.

To avoid any misconceptions, it’s crucial to determine if and how your healthcare facility requires the services of an IT Outsourcing vendor.

Why Hospitals are Outsourcing IT Segments or Functions 

1. Improved RoI

The top reason for opting outsourcing model is to reduce costs so as hospitals do. Statistically, around 90 percent of outsourcing hospitals have experienced a sound return on investment within a year.

2. Immediate access to trained staff and needed technology

The continuously accelerating technological advancement is a blessing and a curse for healthcare facilities, especially hospitals or clinics set up in rural settings that experience difficulty finding and dealing with qualified IT staff. Such limitations may require hiring third parties to provide one or more of a wide range of complex technology services, including managed services for digital and network infrastructure, project management, strategic CIO leadership, and full IT staff augmentation. Most capacity generation practices can be implemented either onsite or offsite, and sometimes a hybrid of the two.

3. Increased cybersecurity risks

Patient data is one of the most confidential records globally; that’s why it is not easily available for machine learning or other data science purposes. A fear of cyberattack is another primary driver for outsourcing network applications and staff as not-technical internal staff cannot deal with the rapidly evolving cyber world. Moreover, procurement of modern security solutions is very expensive, and enjoying the perks of a security firm’s leveraging of assets and protocols can be a smart decision.

4. Lack of critical IT leadership

As technology has summited to new heights, it has also become crucial patient care and hospital management segment. This IT-driven transformation has turned the role of IT leadership from just an IT technician to a significant strategic and policy-making role in healthcare facilities’ overall operations and management. Many hospitals face hurdles while finding this level of IT leadership. With every passing day, the demand for such experts exceeds the current supply, especially in smaller communities and rural hospitals. The best IT outsourcer vendors offer executive-level IT management with the appropriate leadership and strategic knowledge to collaborate intelligently with the hospital’s upper hierarchy.

5. Allows hospital IT staff to focus on more important projects

Another notable advantage of IT outsourcing is that it allows hospital IT staff to spend less time and effort on infrastructure and spare it to focus on core projects and objectives. With effective outsourcing services, the hospital’s executive leadership can focus more on primary functionalities and operations related to healthcare delivery and management.

6. Organizational crisis

While several different scenarios can show up as an operational crisis involving IT, a worst-case scenario needs an immediate solution in third-party IT vendors to keep the hospital open and operate properly for its patients. 

Some of the daunting issues that are likely to appear are like:

  • The IT staff shortfall and internal issues are preventing hospitals from a turnaround while costs keep increasing. There is so much that needs to be handled by IT support.
  • As a rural or community hospital, to attract and retain the state of the art leadership, network infrastructure, and security, it is desired to create a sustainable IT framework for that, so turnover is the main problem due to the presence of so many IT voids that need to be fulfilled.
  • Heavy IT expenditure for short-term projects is the main concern in adapting modern technology with evolving internal challenges. How can one save expenditure and have instant access to specialized resources whenever required?
  • Support for a 24/7 quality service desk is costly to acquire.  It isn’t easy to sync call volume with a present staff of full-time employees. 

How to Determine if you Need Healthcare IT Outsourcing

A well-managed outsourcing model can curb difficult internal issues in a minimum budget, but poorly-managed outsourcing can exacerbate those problems or create new ones.  Healthcare facilities have proven to hire unqualified or irresponsible vendors, resulting in unsolved problems, financial damage, and even produced operational crises. Hiring an immature IT outsource vendor without any prior experience of working with a hospital can be disastrous.

Also Read: How to Save 70% Revenue Using Staff Augmentation

The problems come amidst the lack of knowledge these outsource service providers may have related to hospital workflow infrastructure and the uniquely urgent nature of healthcare dynamics, which are primary factors in hospital IT operations. Failure can teach us more than success can do. Similarly, hospitals’ poor experiences with outsourcing can offer a crucial lesson for that healthcare facility gearing up for outsourcing.

Before opting outsourcing model, a healthcare facility is strictly advised to acknowledge the grassroots sources of its problems, needs, and needs outsourced demand solutions. The hospital must also acknowledge what it requires to pay for and develop a realistic roadmap to fulfill those specific requirements. Depending upon the degree of seriousness, every problem requires a solution is needed to evaluate, which is a time-consuming process but worth it. The general planning process should work as follows, as time allows:

  • Requirement Analysis

Before outsourcing any IT service or product, the hospital should perform requirement analysis lead by relevant participants and stakeholders. The CIO or IT Director is often the least objective leader for this process. His role can ensure a collaborative effort by significant stakeholders from relevant departments and the IT department. If necessary, an external hospital IT consultant can be called for interim guidance and gain a clear perspective of seemingly unimportant things.

  • Assessment of Objective Needs

The analysis approach, including conclusions, must be driven by an objective needs assessment. Such assessment is intended to outline the gaps between the IT department’s contemporary outcomes and the outcomes the healthcare facility is expecting. Compared to the plausible loss in not meeting them, the desired outcomes should be prioritized concerning organizational strategic priorities and the investment required to meet the objectives.

  • Rational and Independent Assessment

The requirement assessment drive should be purely objective, meaning that it doesn’t include individuals’ desires or favorites. Requirements must be defined only by performance data concerning the relationship of potential variables with organizational goals.

  • No Space for Prejudices and Toxic Influences

The assessment and analysis must be free from all kinds of prejudices for a particular solution, whether it be an internal or outsourcing vendor, irrespective of the past or present relationships with one. The project will likely fall if either who or how casts its shadow on the analytical criteria. Outcomes and recommendations will lose integrity and fail to add any value. It can make the decision-making process risky and costly.  

For instance, assessments can be compromised by organizational politics, individual influence, or dictatorship of the powerful or favorite. There are many examples where services or equipment are outsourced unnecessarily because an incoming CEO wanted to keep his strings tied with outsourcing vendors from his previous hospital. Some hospitals have outsourced services because without analyzing their real problems and doing what they were dictated.

  • Final Decision is Equally Important

Considering the heavy expenditure of IT outsourcing contracts in the long run, final decisions to acquire an outsource service provider should be weighed rationally. The overall reason and impact of incorporating IT outsourcing firms into the facility must be evaluated differently. Then turn your focus to the primary concern of acknowledging the particular problems that need outsourcing support. 

The functionalities that require support may range from a vulnerable server or an unsatisfactory service desk to saving costs by switching to the cloud server. The best outsourcer service providers can offer many solutions ranging from outsourcing all IT services to the partial outsourcing of discrete services.

Conclusion

The central idea here is that to make a rational decision and making outsource process hurdle free and successful, and stakeholders should collaborate to perform a SWOT Analysis to understand and weigh clearly:

  • The unique problems/requirements of their particular healthcare facility and their costs
  • The assets and liabilities that existing IT functionality offers
  • The closely linked strategic objectives of the hospital
  • The potential risks and threats

If the final decision is to collaborate with an IT outsourcing firm, various outsourcing vendors exist in the market. They all offer various services, some very specialized, such as cybersecurity firms and server hosting companies. Other firms offer a lengthy array of patronage, including almost every IT service. Most of the companies are usually authorized and experienced. Still, they must ensure that the vendor you will engage has prior experience providing IT-based solutions to any renowned healthcare facility and how it generates the desired outcomes. 

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