Technology has led to countless improvements in today’s health care office. Centralized data storage reduces the amount of paperwork and other administrative tasks that take away from patient care. Artificial intelligence assists doctors in diagnosing patients and creating integrated treatment plans. The Internet of Things has lead to an explosion of wearable devices, such as connective glucose monitors for diabetic patients.
In short, health care providers are dealing with a lot more technology today, but they aren’t necessarily getting the IT departments they need to support all of it. They rely on these innovations to make things better for patients and healthcare workers alike, so going without it is not an option. IT companies can help you cut your costs and boost the quality of patient care in many ways.
The Importance of Proper Technology Configuration
With the right configuration, technology can work seamlessly with your needs as a healthcare provider. The out of the box options from technology vendors don’t take into account the unique characteristics of your office. If software and hardware are procured without taking a big picture view of your current infrastructure and goals, then you end up with systems that lead to a lot of frustration.
When everything is perfectly configured and customized for what you need, then you end up with a great experience for patients and providers. Everything from booking appointments, keeping records, and communication between doctors, nurses and administrative staff work well.
Why You Need a Reliable Technology Infrastructure
In the healthcare industry, downtime is more than just an inconvenience. It could be the matter between life and death for a patient. You need a reliable infrastructure that has consistent uptime so you always have access to the systems you require for your office.
When you can’t access your data, the overall costs average up to $8,662 per minute, according to Everbridge (a global company specializing in critical communications and enterprise safety solutions). This expense includes the value of the staff members who need access to this information to do their jobs, as well as indirect expenses. For example, your office may suffer from bad patient reviews if an outage leads to long waits.
Staff may get frustrated when they have to deal with these complaints or stay long hours to get work done. You could lose talented providers who look for a position at an office that doesn’t suffer from technical problems.
You also face an opportunity cost when your technology isn’t set up in a way that maximizes provider productivity and value to the patient. If a system can reduce the average visit time by 30%, you can schedule in more patients and provide a better experience overall.
Another problem with significant downtime is that providers and staff members may turn to other solutions for their work. For example, the front office staff could change the way that they enter records or make appointments. These unauthorized systems may not be designed to properly protect patient records or adhere to the security standards established by your healthcare office.
An IT support company proactively addresses issues to minimize downtime and extensive problems. They monitor your systems and understand the signs that indicate that something is going wrong with an application or piece of hardware. Proper maintenance can prevent a lot of outages from ever occurring, which makes everyone at the healthcare provider happy.
Staying Compliant With HIPAA Requirements
You work with protected medical information every day and are considered a covered entity under HIPAA. You’re responsible for keeping this data safe and secure against unauthorized access, but trying to stay on top of the requirements is difficult when you don’t have enough IT resources.
If you end up getting breached due to non-compliance, you face several major consequences. The first is the HIPAA fine, which can go up to $50,000 per record with a $1.5 million annual limit per violation category. Then you face the hit to your reputation.
Patients are going to share the breach with their social circle, especially if they have their identity stolen as a result of it. These people are rightfully upset and spread the story far and wide. You could end up repairing your reputation for years following a significant incident, and some healthcare providers may not be able to take the financial hit.
If you were willfully neglectful with patient information, then you could end up facing lawsuits as well. With a decreased patient pool, HIPAA fines and legal costs on top of that are devastating, especially if you’re a smaller provider.
An IT support company with HIPAA experience knows common compliance issues and how to fix them. Since they have done this before, they finish the projects faster and reduce your chances of violations and the resulting fines.
Technology is essential to offering a high-quality patient experience. You need the right IT resources to keep everything running smoothly so that your patients and your providers are satisfied with the office. IT companies are the most cost-effective way of keeping your healthcare infrastructure running and staying in compliance with HIPAA and other regulations.