How to Pick a Tech Partner for Healthcare IT Systems

team to implement healthcare IT systems

The role of technology and healthcare IT systems has become increasingly critical. These systems can be leveraged to enhance operational agility, reduce costs, and boost overall efficiency. The selection of a systems integrator to implement, maintain, and support business systems is a decision that requires careful consideration. To ensure a successful and long-term partnership, it is essential to have a good process. It can be used to assess potential IT service providers based on specific attributes that align with your organization’s objectives.

Initial Selection Process Criteria

When starting this process, it can be helpful to first outline a set of parameters that can help improve the chances of success with your project. The following might be considered “table stakes” for the minimum evaluation that should be performed when choosing any new service partner.

1. Define Your Objectives

  • Clearly articulate your organization’s goals, challenges, and expectations for the healthcare IT systems integration project.
  • Identify specific outcomes and benefits you aim to achieve, such as improved efficiency, cost reduction, or enhanced agility.

2. Assess Experience and Expertise

  • Evaluate the integrator’s experience in implementing similar projects within the healthcare, medical, or dental sectors.
  • Assess their expertise in utilizing advanced technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, that align with your organization’s needs.

3. Examine Case Studies and References:

  • Request case studies or references showcasing successful integration projects
  • Contact previous clients to gain insights into the integrator’s performance, adherence to timelines, and overall satisfaction with their services

The Next Level of Evaluation for a Healthcare IT Systems Integrator

Once you have a list of prospective providers “passing” the first review, next identify the top-tier providers. Here is where you need to identify partners that can deliver the best long-term value. These organizations understand the nature of your industry. They will be thinking of the client first and will make decisions as partners by operating as trusted advisors. These are hallmark traits of how Axis Technical Group operates. It is why most of our clients continue to work with us for many years after the first implementation.

Strategic Implementation for Operational Impact, Not Just Technology

A prospective IT services provider must understand that technology is a means to achieve enterprise objectives. It is not an end in itself. This emphasizes a crucial perspective in the context of Information Technology (IT) solutions and services. It underscores the idea that the implementation of technology should always be guided by the overarching goals and objectives of the organization rather than being pursued for its own sake.

In essence, this concept challenges the notion of adopting technology for its novelty or cutting-edge appeal alone. Instead, it encourages IT service providers to approach technology as a strategic tool employed to address specific business needs, challenges, and objectives within an enterprise. The emphasis here is on the application of technology in a manner that directly contributes to the achievement of broader organizational goals.

  • Technology is a tool or instrument employed to facilitate and enhance various aspects of business operations.
  • This involves carefully planning and executing the integration of IT solutions to ensure they directly contribute to the success of the enterprise.
  • Whether it’s through increased productivity, streamlined processes, or improved customer satisfaction, technology should bring about positive and measurable changes.
  • Providers are encouraged to offer solutions that are not just technologically advanced but also cost-effective and purposeful.
  • Each technological implementation should have a clear and measurable return on investment tied to specific enterprise objectives.

As an example, the implementation of chatbots should be strategically executed to reduce incoming calls to a switchboard. The chosen solution should answer a significant percentage of common inquiries typically asked by phone inquiries. This approach ensures that the technology directly impacts operational efficiency and contributes to the provider’s overarching goals.

Solutions for Healthcare Business Needs

A competent healthcare IT systems integrator should demonstrate a clear understanding of the healthcare industry’s unique business challenges and contribute a unique capability or set of experiences to the partnership. This underscores the fundamental principle that the adoption of Information Technology (IT) within the healthcare sector is purpose-driven, aiming to fulfill specific operational, clinical, and administrative requirements. This perspective is crucial in understanding the strategic use of technology in healthcare settings, where the primary focus is on leveraging IT to meet the complex and evolving demands of the industry.

  • This philosophy should incorporate goals related to patient care, operational efficiency, regulatory compliance, and financial sustainability.
  • Healthcare organizations seek IT solutions that enhance operational efficiency and streamline processes, such as the implementation of electronic health records (EHR) systems, digital imaging solutions, or workflow automation tools, to optimize the delivery of care and administrative functions.
  • Healthcare organizations operate within a highly regulated environment, and given that IT solutions are crucial for ensuring compliance with healthcare standards and regulations, investments in IT must consider the growing importance of data security and privacy, safeguarding sensitive patient information.
  • IT solutions are deployed to enhance the overall patient experience, which may involve patient portals for easy access to health records, appointment scheduling systems, and communication platforms that foster patient engagement and satisfaction.
  • Given the rapidly evolving landscape of healthcare, organizations invest in IT solutions that offer scalability and adaptability to ensure that the technology infrastructure can accommodate future changes in regulations, technological advancements, and shifts in healthcare delivery models.

For example, having prior experience in successfully implementing AI-based data processing systems showcases a provider’s capability to bring innovative solutions to the table.

Integration Expertise for Seamless Performance

Integration is another crucial criterion. The chosen IT services provider should possess knowledge of how to integrate and interoperate with existing business systems commonly used by healthcare organizations. This is a foundational capability for IT service providers. It enables them to deliver solutions that seamlessly fit into the existing technological landscape of healthcare organizations, facilitating enhanced operational efficiency, data management, and overall effectiveness in healthcare service delivery.

  • In the context of healthcare, this involves connecting various IT solutions, such as Electronic Health Records (EHR), billing systems, and diagnostic tools, to work together efficiently.
  • Interoperability goes a step further and pertains to the ability of diverse systems and software to communicate, exchange data, and use the information in a meaningful way.
  • Knowledge of integration and interoperability allows IT providers to streamline healthcare operations. Integrating a new patient management system with an existing EHR system can enhance efficiency of capturing and accessing patient data. This can then reduce redundancies and errors.
  • Effective integration ensures that critical data flows seamlessly between various departments, ensuring that healthcare providers have timely access to accurate information.
  • Knowledge of integration minimizes disruptions during the implementation of new systems – a well-integrated solution ensures that the transition is smooth, and existing processes can continue with minimal downtime or disruption to daily operations.

For example, familiarity with systems like Epic and other ERP providers is essential to streamline performance. This expertise ensures a seamless integration that minimizes disruptions and optimizes overall system functionality. Read this case study for an example of how this type of integration can deliver exception results and performance improvement.

Alignment with Existing Workflows and Regulatory Requirements

Equally important is the provider’s comprehension of existing business processes within healthcare organizations’ back offices. A mismatch between the proposed solutions and the provider’s workflows, regulatory requirements, or other key criteria can lead to increased employee and patient burden. This concept underscores the importance of an IT systems integrator having a deep understanding of the inner workings of a healthcare institution’s administrative and support functions.

  • The reference to “back offices” specifically targets the administrative and operations areas of healthcare organizations. This includes activities such as billing, scheduling, human resources, financial management, and other behind-the-scenes operations. These activities are vital for the smooth running of the healthcare entity.
  • This involves knowledge of the workflows, responsibilities, and interactions between different departments within the administrative domain.
  • Healthcare organizations operate within a highly regulated environment. Back-office processes must comply with various regulatory standards. An IT services provider should comprehend these requirements to ensure that any proposed technology solutions align with and support compliance.
  • A misalignment between IT solutions and existing workflows can lead to disruptions, increased workload, and potential dissatisfaction among patients. Services providers that know back-office processes propose solutions that minimize disruptions. This will enhance the overall experience for both staff and patients.
  • Understanding back-office processes allows IT providers to customize solutions to meet the specific needs of the healthcare organization. This ensures that technology solutions seamlessly integrate into the existing operational framework.

For example, suggesting the implementation of a telehealth application that does not align with an existing appointment-setting program can result in disruption and resistance from users.

The selection of an IT services provider for a healthcare organization involves a thorough evaluation of attributes. This strategy can contribute to a successful and lasting partnership. Prioritize factors such as strategic implementation, a focus on solving business needs, unique capabilities, and integration expertise for greater success. IT partners that align with these attributes will provide you with the greater long term value. Ensure future IT partners act as a trusted advisor. Then follow the pursuit of modernizing business systems and leveraging advanced technologies for improved operational outcomes.