Healthcare CIOs and their IT departments have been steadily moving up the value chain in their organizations—making technology more relevant to their Boards of Directors than ever before.
With the help of continually evolving technology and tools, CIOs are transforming from what was effectively an asset management role to that of a strategic business adviser to the health system.
However, this added responsibility entails extra pressures and concerns. Let’s review the top pain points facing today’s healthcare CIO and discuss best practices to resolve these vital concerns.
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was enacted in 1996 but only brought into the 21st century a few years ago (2013) to finalize new online security and privacy safeguards. However, hardly a day passes without a report of a (largely avoidable) patient data breach from a hospital, contractor, or other organization handling sensitive personal health information. Thus, it comes as no surprise that data security is at the top of best practices for IT departments in the healthcare industry. IT departments are expected to maintain proper levels of security while simultaneously working with declining budgets and substantially increased risks.
Working with a third-party MSP with both the expertise and the comprehensive set of managed security services can provide protection from cyber issues that jeopardize business operations and the bottom line.
The key here is simplification. Most physicians have to remember countless logins, and nurses typically carry up to three or four mobile devices with them all day long. This adds up to a great deal of administrative overhead, which drives up costs. Not to mention the fact that when BYOD issues (an insecure information exchange between clinicians on their own mobile devices) are added into the mix, things can get extremely messy.
Savvy MSPs have realized that enterprise mobility has quickly become an integral part of a mobile-enabled healthcare workforce. A well-managed enterprise mobility solution allows for greater efficiency, improved productivity, and enhanced employee and patient interactions.
Having just spent millions to upgrade to electronic health records (EHRs), healthcare organizations are now wondering how to get the most out of their investments. Many healthcare IT teams have discovered how to capitalize on EHRs’ capability and use their MSPs to offer multiple services to various end-users, including patients, clinicians, and even other health/internal systems—all working to increase patient satisfaction by removing barriers that delay clinical processes.
One thing that goes along with healthcare is data. So, so much data. In fact, with pressures to analyze, secure, and deliver actionable insights to managers, clinicians, or customers, many data centers are struggling just to keep pace. The Third Annual Health IT Industry Outlook Survey from Stoltenberg Consulting found that healthcare IT leaders believe that the most significant barrier to hospital data analytics is not knowing what data to collect and how much of it—followed by the lack of organizational clarity on what to do with data and what to look for when analyzing it.
The roadblocks aren’t unknown either. Even though efficient data analytics is linked to a significant reduction in costs, increased business intelligence, and improved clinical outcomes, there are challenges in the lack of common standards and infrastructure and in combining data from disparate sources. Add in the HIPAA regulations and privacy concerns, and data analysis just became considerably trickier.
The good news is that many MSPs and vendors are beginning to offer big data collection and analytics components in software to take the burden of data analysis off internal IT teams. Now freed from the data grind, IT can use the insights to advance the way healthcare organizations can meet regulatory policies, communicate internally, and anticipate their patients’ needs.