Across industries and institutions, workers are demanding balance, support, and relief more than ever before. This movement—in many ways spurred and accelerated by the pandemic—is resulting in widespread staffing shortages. Healthcare is no exception; in fact, it is a prime example. An MGMA poll found that 73% of medical practices ranked staffing as their biggest challenge heading into 2022, and it remains top of mind going into 2023.
The stakes are remarkably high in healthcare because staffing is not only a business concern but also a top patient safety concern. The effects are felt throughout medical process operations, from IT and administration to patient care delivery. The industry workforce is strained—and innovation and intentionality are imperative to address today’s healthcare staffing challenges.
What are practices doing to address staffing shortages?
Innovative practices are approaching this challenge from many angles, including:
- Creating a healthier, more inclusive work environment
- Outsourcing roles or departments
- Cross-training staff
- Redesigning jobs and departments
- Adjusting operating hours
- Reducing and/or centralizing services
- Expanding telehealth offerings
- Investing in data analytics to identify efficiency opportunities
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and there are many more strategies healthcare practices can adopt to improve staff satisfaction and minimize shortages. This post focuses on one primary area: outsourcing IT management.
As practices rely more heavily on telehealth solutions, automated patient reminder and scheduling tools, self-service patient technologies, billing tools, and remote patient monitoring technologies, the need for a trusted IT partner increases. As a result, the global healthcare IT outsourcing market is expected to reach $64 Billion by 2027.
How can outsourcing healthcare IT help address burnout and staffing challenges?
There are many areas of expertise in the world of healthcare IT. Overall network management, compliance requirements, cybersecurity, telehealth troubleshooting, EMR hosting, remote work operations, infrastructure updates, new rollouts, and much more. However, staffing a team that can handle a comprehensive list of IT needs is both unrealistic and highly expensive.
When you partner with healthcare IT experts who can provide fractional managed IT services, you can enjoy the benefits of managed IT without the full weight of the expense. These benefits include reducing and controlling operating costs, improving practice focus, and gaining access to industry-leading IT capabilities—which in turn free up dollars for critical initiatives, relieve administrative burden, and create much-needed efficiencies.
Let’s explore four specific ways outsourced IT management can improve your practice’s staffing resource use and employee satisfaction.
1) Expanded capacity
Working with an external IT partner—especially one with experience in healthcare IT—significantly increases the resources and expertise you have at your disposal. Your outsourced IT team can keep overall IT operations humming along smoothly (think: network security and remote desktop management) while also managing critical security, infrastructure, and compliance maintenance tasks. An external healthcare-focused IT team can also lean on decades of experience to provide unparalleled support in identifying potential threats and handling breach situations.
Meanwhile, your internal staff can opt to focus on tasks directly relevant to healthcare delivery optimization. Rather than getting bogged down in daily “slog” work and fighting fires, your internal IT resources and other practice employees will have more free time to focus on patient experience and revenue generating activities.
2) Cost savings
Outsourcing IT management can also benefit your margin. A healthcare IT partner’s extensive knowledge and experience will help you increase the efficiency and seamlessness of system launches, trainings, and updates. This yields both short-term benefits—e.g.., quicker onboarding, better tech adoption, fewer workflow disruptions—and long-term impact—e.g., enhanced organizational productivity, higher ROI on new tech, and improved staff satisfaction.
An external partner can also help you trim costs on hardware upkeep by moving systems to the cloud and address periodic issues faster to maintain practice revenue and efficiency.
3) Strengthened security
One of the most compelling reasons to use an external IT partner is the advanced data security they offer. Rely on an outsourced IT expert for insight into the latest security threats, consistent attention to mitigating vulnerabilities, and specialized experience in addressing crises. Rest easy knowing a dedicated partner is wholly committed to the safety of your data and systems.
More robust security for you means fewer breaches, improved staff community trust, and lower patient risk. It also means your practice has one less thing to worry about, allowing staff to remain laser-focused on patient care, experience, and outcomes.
Workforce scalability and flexibility are challenges throughout many areas of healthcare. On the clinical side, practices are familiar with addressing surges, lulls, or unexpected events by using on-call, per diem, or travel staff. On the IT side, you can be prepared for any scenario simply by using outsourced services.
Rather than pouring time and money into hiring for specialized tasks and “just in case” needs, you can have quick, all-hours access to a vast pool of IT experts. The money you save can help cushion thinning margins or be invested into meaningful staff support initiatives or work environment improvements.
At first glance, outsourcing healthcare IT services may seem like a relatively small step on the journey toward a more scalable and effective healthcare workforce. However, technology is now woven into nearly everything we do. As such, thoughtfully allocating IT responsibilities among internal resources and a managed IT partner can mitigate staffing shortages and burnout. Beyond that, it can make a meaningful impact on patient experience, practice operational efficiency, and your practice’s bottom line.
Looking for a healthcare IT expert?
Learn more about how Physician Select Management’s managed IT services can benefit your practice. Then, schedule an expert consultation to explore the best solutions for you.