Health Care IT Support: How Managed Services Can Help

By: Jacqueline Lee - Leave a comment

In the U.S., health care expenditures accounted for $3.2 trillion in 2015, nearly 18 percent of the total GDP, according to Forbes. In light of these figures, introducing new technology into the health industry would not only improve patient care but also potentially lead to a cost savings of $300 billion.

Digital transformation is expanding the workload and expertise required to deliver health care IT support. Few hospitals, clinics or health groups operate in single-vendor environments. User needs range from the archaic to the advanced. Employees may simply need to sign out a USB to VGA converter for a PowerPoint presentation, or they may need to facilitate electronic health record (EHR) integration, health care analytics and machine-to-machine networks within a heavily regulated IT environment.

Identifying Ticket Priorities

Remotely wiping the CEO’s lost cell phone is more important than resetting a password for Jane in accounting. Support desk software with automation capabilities can pick up keywords in incoming alerts and tickets, link new tickets to past tickets, assign tickets to the technician with the most appropriate skill set and send out reminders about service-level agreement (SLA) guarantees.

SLAs are crucial to maintaining business continuity. If a critical system becomes unavailable, an SLA might call for converting to paper record keeping after two hours. A health care IT support team not only tackles ticket resolution but also ensures the hospital functions seamlessly. In a medical environment, failing to prioritize correctly can be a matter of life or death.

Ensuring Communication

Hospitals become hubs of activity during natural disasters, severe weather events or catastrophes. They need to communicate with law enforcement, government officials and the media as well as provide information to worried loved ones. Everyday communication — such as maintaining phone service for the billing department and keeping wireless networks up and running — is just as important.

Clinics, hospitals and health groups also communicate with a range of payers, from government agencies to private insurers. Support service technicians help users navigate these systems and ensure seamless data transfer between the provider and the payer.

Medical clinics also need access to patient records to coordinate care within patient medical teams. Whether clinics still communicate by fax or through sophisticated EHR systems, support services must handle secure data transmission at appropriate speed.

Protecting Data

Regulations like HIPAA and HITECH outline expectations for the protection of personal health information (PHI). Support teams work to secure data both at rest and in transit. PHI can end up in multiple environments, from the hospital server room to a remote data center to a nurse’s personal device. Support teams not only handle the operational aspects of protecting data but also educate employees about health care security.

Hospitals and clinics now manage a fleet of mobile devices, and they’re accountable for data protection on every end point. Mobile device management capabilities such as on-device data segregation provide some protection, while encryption and VPN services can offer remote access while still keeping data safe. When devices are lost or stolen, remote-wipe capabilities can prevent malicious actors from accessing the data. Speedy breach detection and effective incident response can help mitigate regulatory fines and penalties.

Investing in Managed Services

Ticket management, communications maintenance and security are only a few of the responsibilities handled by health care IT. The support team is also responsible for a hospital’s service catalog, employee onboarding and deploying and configuring new patient medical devices.

Managed health care technology support solutions can help local teams wrangle their increasingly complex multivendor environments and service catalogs. Whether you’re outsourcing service desk tasks or developing a new service for the catalog, it’s often easier — and far less costly — to let a single expert team manage support instead of coordinating between multiple vendors.

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About The Author

Jacqueline Lee

Freelance Writer

Jacqueline Lee specializes in business and technology writing, drawing on over 10 years of experience in business, management and entrepreneurship. Currently, she blogs for HireVue and IBM, and her work on behalf of client brands has appeared in Huffington Post, Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc. Magazine. In addition to writing, Jackie works as a social media... Read More