The healthcare industry is ready for a digital transformation. As legal frameworks surrounding digital health data and telemedicine have finally been codified, now is the time to bring data technology and healthcare expertise together. Healthcare IT consulting helps healthcare professionals and program managers to implement the technology they need to transform their operations. Healthcare IT consulting delivers other benefits as well. Every stakeholder can benefit, from patients to professionals, administrators to accountants.
Here are just some of the benefits that you can expect after getting healthcare IT consulting. Digital transformation truly permeates the entire organization, leading to lasting improvements for everyone involved.
9 Benefits of Getting Healthcare IT Consulting
1. Faster Service for Patients
Ultimately, the goal of every healthcare program and facility is to provide quality care for patients. Integrating IT with healthcare operations leads to faster, better service for patients via a number of improvements. First, logistics become much easier to manage. Facilities can acquire new medical devices or replenish their inventory faster, reducing wait times for less common procedures. Managing staff schedules is likewise simplified as online systems can automatically allocate staff to meet demand.
However, healthcare services aren’t just about medical treatments. Patients are affected by other aspects of healthcare management. IT, however, gives patients the power to handle certain tasks on their own. Shifting to electronic health records also allows patients to access their information more easily, reducing the number of calls to healthcare offices. Billing becomes more agile thanks to automation. Essentially, every healthcare task becomes faster to execute. In addition, errors are greatly reduced, which reduces the burden on support staff.
2. Minimize Medical Malpractice
Faster service means nothing if it leads to mistakes. Fortunately, proper IT implementation not only makes healthcare operations more agile, but it also mitigates risk considerably. Medical errors are quite common, as a recent study noted. Errors occur when actions are not taken at all, or when the wrong action is taken due to a mix-up in the healthcare system. Digitization of medical records and improved data collection practices greatly reduce the incidence of medical errors.
Several studies have shown that electronic medical records lead to lower error rates than paper records, provided the system is properly utilized. Reducing the frequency of medical mistakes in your organization will reduce losses due to malpractice suits and out-of-court settlements. In addition, fewer errors allow your organization to handle more patients in a timely manner. There are other benefits to digitizing your healthcare workflow as the data you collect can propel operations forward.
3. Understand Your Organization Better
Every successful organization today uses business analytics to improve its processes, shed waste, and raise operating margins. Healthcare programs can likewise benefit from the same technology to operate better, even in the face of challenging circumstances. The key is to capture data from as many sources as possible. Many medical facilities and program organizers still use a mixed model, where some data is collected digitally but other data points are buried under stacks of paper. Healthcare IT consulting fixes that.
Healthcare IT consultants have an objective, neutral view of your operations. Where you might see a benign habit that isn’t worth changing, an IT consultant might see an opportunity to improve data collection. When experts enter and analyze your processes, they’ll provide recommendations to help you optimize data gathering every step of the way. This data can then be fed into analytics software running in the cloud to help administrators get a better idea of how the organization is performing.
4. Increased Telehealth Opportunities
The global pandemic pushed telehealth to the forefront of healthcare operations. Medical facilities were inundated with patients requiring isolation and intensive care, which left little space for everyone else. Organizations that had already embraced healthcare IT were well prepared for the circumstances. Those that lagged behind struggled to deliver telehealth services. Effective telehealth requires electronic medical records, compliant communications platforms, and extensive training for staff. However, it’s clear that providing telehealth services will remain vital for the future.
More patients are willing to use telehealth services than ever before. Consider the results of a 2005 study, which found that only about a third of patients would be open to a telehealth session, with a similar percentage being completely unwilling to try it. In contrast, a 2021 survey saw willingness jump up to 67%, with only 2.3% saying they would not consider it. Telehealth can deliver more cost-effective services and improve program performance across the board.
5. Remain Compliant With Data Privacy Laws
One of the reasons some organizations have hesitated to implement telehealth and electronic medical records is due to concerns about data privacy. Laws like HIPAA impose strict requirements regarding access to medical data. However, rather than fear these laws, organizations need to embrace them as guiding tools toward a complete digital transformation. That is exactly what we are doing as IT consultants. We know that data privacy legislation is only going to continue to impose restrictions on healthcare.
However, those restrictions also open doors. Protecting patients’ data enables secure telehealth and optimizes operations. Securing data properly also reduces the risk of data breaches, and can even help an organization rebound after an attempted cyberattack or a malware infestation. Many healthcare providers were targeted by cybercriminals during the start of the pandemic. Those that were prepared fared better than those that had not completed their digital transformation.
6. Experienced Experts Lead the Way
What keeps organizations from fully implementing IT into their operations? For many, it’s a lack of experience. Even with a robust IT department, it can be difficult to decide where to begin. Administrators may be worried about downtime during the transition or the challenge of changing processes and retraining staff. Competing interests need to be balanced. A digital transformation is not the work of a single department, but rather an entire organization.
Healthcare IT consulting brings a team of experts to your organization. They’ll examine existing processes to determine the best way to transition without disrupting daily operations. They can listen to the various concerns of different stakeholders to find solutions that please everyone. Effective IT healthcare deployment happens when experienced experts lead the way, something very few organizations can achieve on their own.
7. Spend Smarter
Going digital requires some investment to get started. However, the up-front costs of your digital transformation don’t have to be exorbitant. The key is to spend money wisely where it’s needed. For example, rather than replace every piece of legacy software with freshly written code, APIs can link existing programs to modern cloud-based tools. While certain enterprise-grade features may seem attractive, they may not be useful to your organization. Expert advisors can help you decide where to allocate your budget.
In fact, modern IT deployments are becoming cheaper thanks to cloud computing and cloud-based software. Instead of having to invest in expensive servers and complex storage solutions, you can use the cloud to handle most of your healthcare IT. Cloud computing, like manufacturing, benefits from economies of scale. The company that invested in a massive data center can lend you a portion of its processing power at a much better price than you could attain on your own.
8. Stay Ahead of the Curve
The IT landscape is constantly changing as new technologies and advancements emerge. Therefore, your system also needs to be flexible and able to adapt to new developments. IT consultants live and breathe IT; they know what to expect in the years to come. Having these experts at your side gives your organization a strategic advantage as you’ll be able to plan your IT deployments going forward. You can budget your expenses more accurately and implement the latest technology faster.
Early adopters always have the advantage in the long term. While other organizations struggle, yours will be agile and able to implement new technology faster. The sooner you complete your digital transition, the more prepared you’ll be. Ask your consultants to prepare an IT roadmap that outlines improvements and new deployments that you should make over time. With this document, you’ll have a clear view of the road ahead.
9. Reduce Costs and Maximize Output
All of the benefits we’ve considered so far add up to one extremely important reason to go digital: Better financial performance. IT cuts down on excess bureaucracy and lubricates logistics, reducing time costs. It expands the ways you can offer service to patients, boosting revenue. Automation slashes payroll.
Best of all, you cut costs without sacrificing quality and output. On the contrary, your organization will provide better service to more people all while spending less than before. IT is deeply embedded in the future of healthcare, you don’t want to be left behind.
Start Your Transformation Today
So, what does it take to get started? Healthcare IT deployment is a very personalized process. We aim to get to know your organization to better understand how we can help you achieve your goals. Contact Riveraxe LLC to schedule a meeting, or email our CEO directly.