Originally posted on https://sados.com/it-support-news/managed-it-for-medical-offices/
All across the country, there are thousands of doctors that still don’t use electronic records. Many government and professional organizations still keep their information on paper forms because the task of moving to a digital system is too daunting. Even those offices that have made the jump are doing it wrong.
With the help of managed IT services, medical professionals can stay ahead of the game. Here are ten clear-cut ways that managed IT services will improve the way that your office functions.
1. Stay Ahead of Nefarious Actors With a Secure IT Setup
Given that half of all business enterprises faced a hack in 2018, there are few companies out there who don’t have to worry about being breached.
Data breaches cost a lot of money and can cause long-lasting problems for any type of enterprise.
With the help of managed IT services, you won’t have to spend the money on training and updating systems for IT staff. It’s a part of what you’re paying for.
Doctor’s offices hold a lot of private and personal information about patients. For some hackers, getting ahold of billing information can be a way to make money by scamming an office’s patients.
For other hackers, selling demographic information about how many people in the area have this or that medical condition is a source of revenue.
Rather than having to be on the defense, your best defense is a strong offense. With enterprise-level security, no matter the size of your office, you can have your system monitored continuously. You’ll stop cyber attackers before a problem arises.
2. Stay HIPAA Compliant
One of the easiest ways for any doctor’s office to lose their license is to fall out of compliance with HIPAA standards. While your team might be trained to keep their mouths shut about personal information while in the office, your data doesn’t have that kind of self-control. Data accessed by anyone can’t keep itself from being shared.
If you want to stay ahead of data compliance issues, having managed IT services is the best way to avoid problems with HIPAA. Once you fail to stay HIPAA compliant, your office could face fines or even lose your license. Staying secure and protected is as good for your clients as it is for you.
Updating your system for added security is one way of ensuring that you stay compliant. However, when you work with managed IT services, you won’t have to schedule downtime or pay any staff to handle those updates. Your system will be updated behind the scenes by your managed IT staff, and you won’t have to worry at all about compliance issues.
3. Network Uptime Reflects Your Practice
If your practice uses online tools, apps, or any kind of digital interface to interact with clients, you’ll be managing some kind of server. That server needs to be tested, maintained, and updated regularly. Paying for staff to handle that for a small office might not be worth the price.
With managed IT services, you ensure that you don’t have any kind of unexpected downtime. A poorly maintained system or one that hasn’t been updated in a while could be subject to any manner of attacks or breaches.
Being prepared for power failures, data loss, and natural disasters is as important as preparing for security breaches.
Anything that damages your accounts can damage both your bottom line and your office’s reputation. Manages service providers ensure that the data you store is safe in any kind of disaster.
They’ll maintain your system on a series of off-site locations so that even if your office is flooded in a storm, your data can be accessed somewhere else.
4. Have the Latest Technology at Your Fingertips
Having access to the latest technology usually takes something out of your budget when it comes to purchasing it. That doesn’t include installation and maintenance, which is an entire line-item in your annual budget.
If something important and new is coming down the pipeline, you can bet that your managed IT service staff is looking at it. If there’s anything new in encrypting data or improving your email experience, they can let you know about it.
When you have internal IT staff, it’s hard for them to find the time to keep the day to day system running while looking at new tech. Thankfully, managed IT companies are large enough to be able to do both. In fact, they often devote entire departments to researching new technology to find out ways to help their clients.
When you order managed IT services, you’re paying to have someone in the trenches looking at new developments while having someone else implementing. You’ll have more options that you’d expect when you’re working with managed IT services.
5. Secure Tech = Seriously High Returns on Investments
When you pay for licenses on new technology, you’re taking a bet that the time and energy you commit will come back as a return. However, you don’t know whether or not you’ll end up saving more money in the end. Often, you have to have experienced a major folly with an old system to know how well the new system fares.
Thankfully, with the help of managed IT services, you don’t have to take this gamble. The managed IT service provider is going to handle all of that work for your organization. Large offices can have managed IT staff help cover the work that can’t be done while smaller offices can save on six-figure competitive salaries for tech workers.
Patients are going to have a lot of questions about your web tools, and rightfully so. They’re going to want to know how secure they are and whether or not you’ve added a layer of security to protect their data. You have to assume that they’re going to be more informed than previous generations of patients.
If they come to you with serious questions, they’re going to want serious answers. If this is the case, you can point them in the direction of your managed IT staff and never worry about losing them as a patient.
6. Improve Processes at Your Office
Most doctor’s offices use technology as a way to add on to existing processes. In most cases, the staff is irritated by new technology because when it’s added to an office, it usually acts as just another thing for admins to do. The purpose of technology is to make processes easier as well as to change the way we imagine them.
When you partner with your managed IT staff substantially, you’ll be learning new ways to do the work you need to do. Building a partnership with your organization, and this allows them to identify issues in your office and offer substantial solutions. Rather than having staff working twice as hard, let your managed IT staff teach you how to make life easier.
Managed IT services evaluate and identify ways for technology to streamline your business. When you take their recommendations into account, you can replace archaic systems and improve communication among staff and between staff and patients.
7. Simplify Billing
One of the biggest headaches for medical offices is to track down patients and get them to pay bills. As more people are moving toward online bill payment and automated digital payments, fewer people are opening mail and sending out checks. Your best patients could turn delinquent just because it’s harder to pay you than other service providers.
Adding a digital payment platform isn’t easy and can be expensive for small offices. However, the money it can save in chasing down delinquency and sending out redundant bills is massive. It also saves precious time that your staff shouldn’t be spending on something that could be automated.
When you implement managed IT services, you can implement a better billing system to eliminate delinquency. You also won’t have to worry that you’re leaving any of your clients’ payment or personal data up for being hacked. When IT professionals take the wheel, they ensure the highest standards in service.
8. Let the Professionals Strategize IT for Your Medical Practice
When a doctor or a group of medical professionals get together to open an office, they do so to spend their providing the best care possible. The best-laid plans can be thrown off course if an office doesn’t prepare a technology plan. Knowing what technology to use for billing, what to use for record keeping, and how to keep it all together can throw an office off its course.
Managed IT services providers take control in a situation like this and ensure that service providers can get back to doing what they do. A doctor or nurse shouldn’t be scrolling through an inbox with thousands of messages to find some small bit of data.
IT service providers can not only provide the technology for offices to use but also provide a strategy for using those tools. Any information that comes in can be saved and processed with a centralized customer relationship management tool. Any time a patient comes in, staff will know their name, their history, and how to provide them the best service possible.
9. Stay Competitive
Going into a doctor’s office this year is far different than going into an office ten or even five years ago. The amount of technology that’s implemented in the check-in, communication, and payment process is massive. Most patients appreciate any bit of technology that visits faster and easier.
However, there are very few standards when it comes to what technology an office should be using. That’s because there are so many companies out there competing for attention from doctors and so few doctors consulting with IT service providers. While medical practitioners might have an instinct for what kind of technology they’d like to use, having an IT professional filter, the information is valuable.
IT service providers know the pros and cons of most technology. They can inform doctors of what kinds of tools patients respond to and which they don’t. They’ll also be able to have a frank conversation about security concerns that any doctor’s office should have.
10. Attract More Clientele
Ask most millennials how they order a cab, order take-out, or how they find a date, and they’ll pull out their phone and show you. Ask them how they book appointments, pay bills, and talk to their doctor; they might not have a good answer. As most people under 35 are accustomed to using their phone for other services, the medical profession is woefully behind.
However, when you can set up payments, portals, and communication services that function via a mobile application, you can bridge that gap. Building, maintaining, and securing an app is a mountain too steep for most medical offices. Rather than having to try to handle that all on your own, managed IT service providers can make it happen.
This allows medical offices to stay in communication in the format that a growing number of patients require. By texting notifications or being able to send notifications through an application, younger patients will feel closely connected to their doctors. This is a great way to stay relevant and to ensure that the next generation is even healthier than the last.
Managed IT Services Can Save Your Practice
Whether it’s HIPPA, hackers, or competitors, the chips are stacked against medical offices that aren’t ahead of the technology curve. Thankfully, managed IT services ensure that offices don’t have to worry about providing excellent care and writing excellent code. Both can be left to the professionals, providing better overall service to patients.
If your staff wants to stay on top of the latest tech trends, check out these nine trends that will improve the way you provide care.