Why Do Hospitals Need Managed IT Services?
The increased use of technology has undoubtedly strengthened the healthcare system, and as healthcare and hospitals expand into new areas such as telehealth, mobile and cloud-based health solutions, keeping IT systems fast, scalable, reliable, and secure has never been more important. The increasing cybersecurity concerns and delicacy of HIPAA compliance has added quite a bit of strain to healthcare systems and hospital IT infrastructure, but the good news is, to overcome these challenges, hospitals and healthcare organizations can outsource their IT operations to manage IT services providers (MSPs).
An MSP can alleviate stressors for healthcare systems by offering a broad range of support, from adjusting staff requirements as needed and overseeing/monitoring systems to ensure there are no interruptions, to integrating cloud-based technologies and that information is secure while also facilitating data backups and recovery initiatives and establishing HIPAA compliance.
Using an MSP to manage specific aspects of hospital IT allows for more flexibility and scalability.
MSPs can automate services like monitoring and alertness to emergency calls. There are numerous benefits to automation, including:
- Overcoming staff and skills shortages
- Minimizing risks of data breaches, and
- Reducing overall IT costs
According to a recent executive survey, the number of hospitals and healthcare organizations that have started to use automation technologies has tripled over the past year.
Finding a qualified IT staff is a primary challenge in order to keep the system’s performance up to the highest standards possible. An MSP can provide competent and skilled IT professionals who can automate software and equipment, ultimately improving the overall quality of patient care and scaling down the demands for reliable in-house IT staff and relieving pressure on the healthcare organization.
MSPs have a combination of qualities when it comes to monitoring networks and servers, including reliability, security and flexibility. They also have the scalability to provide more, or fewer services based on specific projects. Of all their many qualities, scalability alone is what defines an MSP as an ideal outsourcing option for healthcare organizations.
Cost efficiency is another reason hospitals turn to managed IT services. Rather than hiring new employees or using unskilled IT staff, organizations and hospitals can rely on managed services providers to fill gaps where needed. Additionally, MSPs always have the most relevant and up-to-date software and technology equipment, which eliminates some costs of hardware or software upgrades.
Security and Recovery.
The increased use of technology and electronic equipment has provided numerous benefits to healthcare organizations and hospitals. However, implementing technology solutions also means increasing the risk of security breaches. So, healthcare organizations and hospitals must have security and recovery plans in place—not only to meet HIPAA compliance regulations but make sure that the risk of security breaches is minimal. MSPs make sure that data is being monitored and managed 24/7 from their operation centers. The automation, as discussed earlier, makes it even more convenient to monitor and protect the data, alongside staying current with the regulatory compliances.
Complying with the HIPAA requirements can be a challenging task for healthcare organizations, hospitals, and MSPs. Understandably, there are concerns about data protection around patient data if outsourcing IT tasks and projects. There are professional and qualified MSPs that meet HIPAA compliant regulations, can help monitor patient data and minimize factors that may lead to HIPAA violations, including:
- Untrained Employees: An untrained employee is a significant liability for any organization. Losing a patient’s information or unknowingly passing it on to outsiders and non-covered entities can result in severe penalties.
- Theft or Cyberattacks: The most unfortunate way of violating the HIPAA is to lose the patient’s identifiable data, either due to theft or a cyberattack. This is where ensuring cybersecurity by MSPs comes into play.
- Unencrypted Data: While encryption isn’t mandatory under HIPAA, unencrypted data is highly exposed to breaches and attacks. Having encryption methods in place ensures that patients’ data can be restored with all the relevant information.
Managed IT services providers are competent enough to stay current with HIPAA requirements and protect critical patient data by providing:
- Trained Staff: MSPs carefully choose talented members from the hospital’s IT staff and train them on basic HIPAA standards. A HIPAA compliance officer makes it easier for the staff members to report the breach in case of any potential violation.
- Policies and Procedures: Staff members are further familiarized with the policies and procedures to comply with HIPAA standards. The rules are documented for convenience. In addition to that, the training record and staff’s adherence to the policies are documented as well.
- Encryption: Data encryption is perhaps the most prominent way to restore lost information. It provides an additional layer of security to the computerized identifiable information.
Data Migration and Virtualization
As technology continues to advance and more and more data is absorbed, hospitals must adapt quickly. MSPs can help hospitals transition to a hybrid virtualized environment to store more data, and information can be easily accessed by doctors, administrators, and other staff from anywhere. With a virtualized environment, reliability is increased, and downtime is minimized.
Hospitals and healthcare organizations are shifting towards cloud migration and virtualized environments. Yet, in-house IT teams of the hospitals may not be able to manage fully, monitor, and control the cloud migration process due to time limitations and other factors.
A managed IT services provider can minimize the hassles of cloud migration and virtualization, including monitoring data in the cloud, ensuring security, and identifying and resolving any issues.
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