There isn’t a business on earth that doesn’t rely on Information Technology, and make no mistake about it, healthcare is a business. Without revenue and profits coming in, doctors, nurses and a wide array of technicians and support staff wouldn’t be possible. While that may sound a bit overly simplistic, it is a fact of life in the 21st century and why it is important to understand the top three reasons your healthcare company needs IT support. Remember, healthcare is a much needed service but as we’ve already established it is also a business, so these three reasons for IT support are vitally important.
1. Government Mandated Electronic Patient Records
As of January 2014, the government has mandated that Electronic Health Records, EHRs, be instituted across the board in healthcare. This means that every private practice doctor as well as every large hospital must keep electronic patient records and make those EHRs available to patients and other healthcare providers alike. Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are transmitted online and are typically stored in the Cloud for easy access by anyone who has the authority or permission to access them.
2. HIPAA and Safeguarding of Patient Records
This is where we get into a bit of a ‘sticky’ situation. Yes, the government has mandated that health records be electronic and accessible to medical professionals and patients, but that leaves those records open to would-be hackers. Without well-trained and experienced IT support, healthcare applications and open source medical billing would be vulnerable to cyber criminals. Sometimes these hackers are looking to do nothing other than cause havoc, but other times their motives are far more nefarious. It takes a competent IT support team to protect against hacks and to keep all anti-virus software updated and patched to prevent hacks. While larger hospitals may be able to afford in-house support teams, smaller providers will want to contract the services of an off-site IT support team.
3. Preventing Lag in Patient Care
Finally, one of the most important reasons to have IT support staff on payroll is to prevent a lag in already slow patient care services. Bear in mind that the healthcare system is experiencing a critical shortage in trained medical professionals. Since all patient records are kept in a computer database somewhere, usually online, there is no room to be down for more than a few minutes’ lag time. If a computer goes down, doctors and other providers cannot access the records they need timely which then slows the entire process down.
These are just the main reasons why any healthcare business needs IT support staff on hand at all times. Then there are tasks like scheduling, medical billing, product acquisition and a plethora of other tasks performed with a computer and information technology. If you ever wondered why healthcare needs IT support, think of all the ways healthcare has gone digital and you will begin to understand why.