It’s one of the more daunting challenges facing the medical industry: How do we leverage technology to increase efficiencies? More specifically, how can we prepare to implement electronic medical records without sinking a small fortune into new equipment, software and IT personnel?
The answer may be simpler than you think. You don’t need to create an internal IT department, dedicate valuable square footage for a server room or make a significant investment in hardware. Instead, consider outsourcing with an IT company that is a Managed Services Provider (MSP) capable of hosting your entire business, not just your EHR.
Benefits of Hosting With a MSP
Cost-efficient. Medical practices can save thousands of dollars in capital costs by having their networks hosted. At first glance, some doctors prefer to own their internal servers; however, purchasing servers and updating them every 3-5 years isn’t the best business decision. Simply put, the ROI isn’t there to justify repeated investments. That’s the role of the MSP, which acts as your IT department, an appealing option, even for practices that already have dedicated IT personnel.
Hassle-free. At the same time, owning equipment requires maintenance, monitoring and advanced technical skills when your practice is dependent on EHR. In a hosted environment, the network is constantly monitored and updated with multiple back-ups to ensure that vital records are not lost or compromised. Data is no longer on individual PCs. Users access the information from a centralized host so nothing needs to be installed locally at the workstation. Imagine not needing to deal with infected PC’s and the headaches that go along with maintaining them.
Highly secure. Similar to systems used in the banking industry, hosting packages for medical practices should include all the latest security features, ensuring compliance with HIPAA’s security regulations. This includes state-of-the-art, climate-controlled data centers with back-up power supplies, redundant internet connectivity, anti-virus and malware protection, multiple layers of firewalls and data encryption.
More accessible. To draw another comparison to the banking industry, medical practices that use hosting services can access data and files through the web– just like when bank customers take advantage of online banking services. Using the Internet means data is accessible from any location, so doctors are just a click away from retrieving files… even if they’re at an off-site location.
Smooth EHR transition. It’s looming: By 2015, medical organizations are to convert to electronic records; yet, three-quarters of Ohio’s 30,000 physicians haven’t made the transition, according to the Ohio State Medical Association. Many practices aren’t quite sure how to even initiate the process. Hosting is a total business solution and not just narrowed to EHR. A practice can utilize MSP services in advance of implementing EHR and be positioned to adopt the application that best suits their needs.
Do What You Do Well
There’s an old adage in business: “Do what you do well, and outsource the rest.” Unless medical practices want to make the significant investment to internally manage hardware and software needs they may want to explore Managed Services. In addition to saving time and money, a hosting company provides peace-of-mind, technical assistance and HIPAA security support — freeing you to focus on delivering quality service to patients and customers.