Do you know when your medical practice should outsource IT?
The question of when to and how to outsource is not specific to information technology. However, in many ways the question of when and how to outsource IT may have some of the most drastic implications for businesses, especially those in regulated industries like healthcare. So do you really know when your medical practice should outsource IT?
Let’s first look at the question of when, which can easily be rephrased as “why” in this context.
Outsourcing any service can save money, time and resources for any business. When beginning to examine the benefits, the big categories that come up include:
- When a particular service, such as IT, isn’t central to the company’s generating profit.
- When a service requires a specialized skill and it becomes impractical or cost-prohibitive to maintain someone in-house.
- A given service is less expensive when outsourced than when maintain in-house.
- When a service distracts from the core business functions.
- And for any organization in a regulated industry, when keeping up with regulatory compliance becomes a concern.
These questions all speak to a need to know and understand the highest needs of the business and prioritize activities to support those goals.
Using healthcare as an example, IT may not be central to a practice’s core business functions. The practice’s core function is to help people. To heal people. However, as the healthcare industry has evolved, so have technologies and regulations. While not too long ago, it was regular practice to handle IT entirely in-house, for many practices, the cost of proactive network monitoring and maintenance has become prohibitive.
Not only is this service now costing more to maintain both hardware and software, but the cost of a specialized IT manager or team has to be accounted for. All of which takes time and resources away from the practice’s core function of caring for patients.
In some practices, this balance can lead to compromises in security, monitoring and maintenance, all of which puts patient information at increased risk. Increased costs to maintain everything in-house drains resources from core business needs like healthcare equipment upgrades and mission-critical staff.
This paints a bleak picture, and certainly outsourcing is not the only answer. However, for many practices, the cost of maintaining compliant and secure systems can be overwhelming.
One rule of thumb is that if the company is at the point that hiring a full-time IT manager is a necessity, it’s probably time to consider outsourcing to provide existing IT personnel the support they need.
The good news is that with the advent of cloud computing, advances in virtualization and security and secure remote monitoring, outsourcing IT services now can provide both cost savings and position a company for growth and profitability. Practices that shift IT to trusted expert partners are seen as good stewards of their patients’ information and enjoy greater profits.
To learn more about whether outsourcing your IT is the right choice for your practice, call one of our vCIOs at 1-800-374-9900 to discuss your practice needs and business goals.