Health systems have been gradually upgrading their organizational structures to allow for more digital infrastructure and tools over the years. More recently, many healthcare providers began taking an aggressive approach to innovation to meet growing patient demands and an increasingly competitive market. They invested in electronic health record technology, adopted ERPs and began choosing cloud-based options rather than on-premise ones. But when the pandemic hit, it highlighted the industry’s remaining technological challenges—and its need for better digital solutions.
To handle the pandemic and prepare for the future, healthcare organizations need scalable digital infrastructure and remote-ready tools that will ensure quality patient care and efficiency despite rising demands. Managed services and IT support partners can provide and maintain these tools so that healthcare organizations can focus on what’s most important: patients and workers.
Most healthcare providers are adding scalable digital infrastructures to help them maintain compliance, easily share and access patient information, and protect internal systems and databases. But since the pandemic began, healthcare IT teams have switched to a reactive mindset. Everyday maintenance IT tasks like addressing security gaps have been put on hold, and teams have switched their focus to preparing existing infrastructure for new needs and increased usage.
For instance, physicians need fast and easy access to hundreds of patients’ medical records from a variety of providers in order to effectively treat an influx of COVID-19 patients. As a result, many hospitals have had to update their data sharing systems to support interoperability. Here, a managed services partner can help. They supplement existing infrastructure with software to help operations run securely and efficiently. They provide around-the-clock monitoring so that emerging operational problems are addressed quickly and infrastructure is scaled when necessary.
Managed services can also help enterprises build infrastructure to support the rise of telehealth. For instance, a managed services partner can recommend communication models for an organization’s telehealth system based on its clientele, budget and technical skills. They can create video conferencing capabilities that will facilitate virtual consultations, or build an app that allows patients to chat with their doctors via text messaging.
Healthcare organization leaders should look for a managed services provider that has experience in the industry and can provide software options that are specific to the medical field. They should also look for a solution that can guarantee HIPAA compliance across an enterprise, from individual desktops to databases.
Similar to physicians, IT teams in the healthcare industry have been affected by the pandemic. The speed with which teams can conduct IT implementations has slowed, and ongoing projects are on hold so staff can focus on capacity challenges caused by high patient loads and an increased number of telehealth requests.
IT support partners can help teams scale and manage this uptick. They offer resources that can address volume increases and everyday maintenance projects like surveying systems for security gaps concurrently. Via a secure cloud network, IT support partners also offer 24/7 off-site assistance—a feature that’s particularly helpful amid the current crisis. With all non-essential employees working remotely, IT issues have to be addressed from afar. IT support partners can help teams navigate this switch with around-the-clock monitoring, additional personnel and enterprise tools that enforce back-ups, storage and security best practices remotely.
Ideally, these partners also offer disaster recovery and business continuity plan solutions that prepare healthcare organizations for every worst case scenario. If a hospital’s database is hacked, disaster recovery solutions put an immediate plan in motion that minimizes downtime and recovers losses quickly so hospital operations and patient care remain unaffected.
Managed services and IT support partners offer healthcare organizations the additional expertise, solutions and people needed in the COVID-19 crisis. But more than that, they can prepare hospitals and healthcare providers for the post-pandemic world. By outfitting themselves with telehealth capabilities, remote-ready tools and digital infrastructures now, healthcare organizations can provide better patient care.