Information technology services have played a key role in the continual growth of the healthcare industry in the 21st century. Healthcare providers utilize managed IT services to improve patient outcomes, automate manual and business processes to reach objectives, and maintain safe and secure operations. The symbiosis between IT professionals and healthcare providers ensures a focus on innovation and, ultimately, patient satisfaction.
IT services that the healthcare industry needs
The global healthcare IT market is expected to reach $649.21 billion by 2027. The reason for this growth is the attempts of healthcare organizations to address counterproductive hospital workflows, ineffective patient data sharing and medical supply chain, and other issues.
Custom software platform
There are many different software solutions available for medical providers, including:
Electronic health records (EHRs) are digital versions of a patient’s paper chart that allows for the storage, management and sharing of a patient’s health information among authorized providers.
Practice management systems may help a healthcare organization to manage the administrative tasks of running a medical practice, such as scheduling appointments, billing, and claims processing.
Telemedicine software allows patients to consult with healthcare providers remotely without attending in-house practices (medical office), using video conferencing and mobile devices.
Medical billing and coding software. This software technology helps practices accurately code and bill for medical services, which ensures claims are processed correctly and that providers are reimbursed for professional services.
Clinical decision support systems. These software solutions provide healthcare providers with relevant, up-to-date information and guidance to help them make more informed decisions about patient care.
IT companies may help healthcare providers protect against different types of cyberattacks and help to ensure that sensitive information is kept secure, through implementing the following techniques and principles:
Auditing and reporting. IT consulting companies can help even small practices perform regular audits and reporting to ensure regulatory compliance and identify areas for improvement.
Confidentiality and authorization. These principles ensure that sensitive information is only accessible to authorized individuals. Data breaches are prevented through techniques such as data encryption, access controls, and user authentication.
Integrity. This principle ensures that healthcare data is not tampered with or modified without authorization. Integrity is achieved through techniques such as digital signatures and data validation.
Availability. This principle ensures that authorized individuals have secure access to the data and systems they need when they need them. Disaster recovery planning, load balancing, and redundancy are the applicable techniques in such cases.
Compliance with regulations
IT companies can help medical practices navigate the complex landscape of healthcare regulations and implement technical and administrative controls to ensure compliance. They can help a healthcare provider understand and implement the technical safeguards required by:
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (USA), which aims to protect the privacy and security of patient health information (HIPAA compliance).
General Data Protection Regulation, setting standards to protect the personal data of European citizens.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, which aims to protect credit card and other sensitive information.
IT consulting and support
IT companies can help healthcare providers adopt an agile mindset by providing training as a service on agile methodologies, such as Scrum and Kanban. They can also help providers implement agile tools, such as project management software, to facilitate collaboration among healthcare workers.
After consultations with a reliable IT company, healthcare providers might decide to build a system related to the problem they want to solve. However, such software hides risks such as security patches, bugs, feature updates, etc. This is why IT companies offer support services that include 24/7 availability and maintenance.
Business Continuity (Disaster Recovery)
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 40% of businesses never reopen after a disaster. This is why IT companies can help medical organizations develop and implement business continuity plans, outlining procedures for maintaining critical business functions in crisis events (network outages). Procedures may include identifying critical systems and data, determining recovery time objectives, and establishing communication and incident response protocols.
In the case of disaster recovery, IT partners focus on procedures for restoring systems and data, which may include determining recovery point objectives and establishing failover and failback procedures. IT companies can help healthcare customers implement backup and data replication solutions to ensure that data is protected and can be restored.
IT companies can help healthcare customers utilize cloud computing and implement cloud-based solutions, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), to ensure business continuity and disaster recovery. These solutions can provide a hospital or other medical practice with the flexibility to scale up and access resources on demand.
Benefits of healthcare IT services
IT services for healthcare can provide several benefits, including:
Better patient care. Electronic health records (EHRs) and other IT systems can help healthcare providers access and share patient information more quickly and easily, leading to more accurate diagnoses and better treatment decisions.
Improving efficiency. Healthcare IT systems can automate many administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and billing, freeing up staff time for more vital tasks.
Better coordination of care. IT systems can help healthcare providers share patient information across different medical facilities and departments, improving communication and coordination of care.
Reduced errors. Electronic prescribing and other IT systems can help reduce errors caused by handwriting or other forms of human error.
Cost savings. Healthcare IT systems can help reduce and control costs by streamlining processes, reducing administrative tasks, and preventing errors.
Higher patient engagement. Telemedicine, patient portals, and other healthcare IT services can help patients receive urgent care, leading to better health outcomes.
How to choose a software development partner
There is a set of criteria that you should follow when choosing a software development partner apart from the costs:
Portfolio of services. Only a reliable IT company can present you with the complexity of the project they worked on, the tech stack they utilized, and other specifics.
Feedback from customers. It’s a good idea to ask a company or people who engaged in some way with the partner you chose.
Operations. You should be aware of how your IT partner operates, including the team of professionals that will work on your project.
Post-launch support. Ensure that the software development company can expand, scale up, and maintain the software solution.
The medical industry is considered conservative, as bringing a new product or project to the table takes time, resources, and patience. Innovative approaches and techniques hide risks that usually cost healthcare providers billions. Therefore, healthcare providers should search for a trusted HIPAA-compliant IT partner that ensures managed services support the business objectives and patient safety.