As technology continues to transform the healthcare industry, firms that deliver health services, along with healthcare providers, are looking to invest their technology dollars in areas that can have the greatest positive impact on their customers. When budget time rolls around, decisions need to be made about investing in new innovations versus keeping the lights on.
Managed service providers can often deliver help desk and infrastructure services at a lower cost and with greater quality that in-house teams. There is the added benefit that they often have access to better tools and talent, and can bring expertise to the table on other important issues related to operational tech, like Security. The dollars saved and the additional expertise can help firms innovate and provide better outcomes to their patients.
Here are 5 things Healthcare organizations should consider when choosing a managed services provider.
- Security expertise – Security is front and center on most technology decision makers list of concerns. High profile breaches and the loss of sensitive data can have a significant detrimental effect on a business’ bottom line and its reputation. Make sure the provider you choose has the security chops to keep your infrastructure safe. Look for providers that offer managed security services offerings in addition to regular infrastructure management and help desk. Often times, these services will be integrated, providing a more secure environment overall.
- Industry experience – Healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies and firms that interact with patient information are subject to regulations that many other organizations don’t need to deal with. There is the added pressure that, unlike many other industries, lives can be truly affected if there is a network outage, if data goes missing due to a corrupt backup, or if a drug production line goes down. Managed services providers working in healthcare need to approach environment management with that point of view, and ensure their maintenance and support models and internal processes account for those possibilities.
- Diverse skillset – For all the efficiencies technology can bring to healthcare, those of us that work in the field know that troubleshooting issues often goes way beyond looking in a log file. An application may be freezing or responding slowly. The root cause may be a failed backup that left the application database in an unstable state. Having expertise all the way from the desktop to the network and back-end services is important for quick issue resolution and smart infrastructure growth.
- Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery capabilities – As a healthcare provider, you need to be able to maintain your level of service if there is a major systems issue. Shouldn’t the firm overseeing your infrastructure be able to continue to provide service if they run into issues? You want a firm that not only understands your business continuity needs, but understands their own needs, and has built the necessary infrastructure to ensure they can continue to deliver service to you.
- References/Customer Satisfaction scores – Finding a provider and finding a partner are often different things. A provider is interested in delivering a service. Think of the cable company (cable TV service that is rarely high in most people’s customer satisfaction list). You work to deliver a quality product to your consumers and to help drive better health outcomes. Your managed services provider should be as committed to helping you drive better outcomes for your business. How are they rated by the people that know best…their other customers? Ask for and check their references, look at how they’re recognized in the industry, and find out what they bring to the table beyond just hands on a keyboard or a voice on the other end of the phone. If they’re interested in building a partnership, they’ll not only agree to provide the information, they’ll be eager to share their successes.
For healthcare technology executives, the decision to trust your infrastructure to a managed services provider can carry real risks the decision should be weighed carefully. Look for firms that want to build that partnership. The firm you choose should want to build a solution with you, not just sell you the solution they’ve already built. Insist on a diverse set up skills, security acumen, and an understanding of your needs.
The Performance Services team at West Monroe Partners has experience building and managing technology healthcare industry. If you’re looking for a partner to help you shape your technology roadmap, we can help.