According to Logicalis US, an international IT solutions and managed services provider, health care IT (HIT) is in the midst of a much-needed transformation, something that is certain to be top of mind for health care CIOs, as well as health care software providers.
With pressure mounting to meet new regulatory requirements and ICD-10 deadlines, as well as the increased demands being placed on IT departments for interactive communications among patients, providers and payers, health care CIOs need a set of “best practices” to help them navigate this IT transformation and arrive at the data-driven, value-based future of health care from where they stand today.
“At Logicalis, we call this IT transformation a ‘journey’ because it isn’t something that happens overnight. This is a multi-stage process requiring significant evaluation of not only IT systems, but also of what the future workflows and business processes will be and how health care providers, patients and payers can all seamlessly share time-critical data,” says Ed Simcox, health care business leader, Logicalis US. “It’s a journey that is taking health care IT to the new levels of IT sophistication needed to support a substantial business change from volume to value.”
Specialized health care applications are expected to play an important role in helping health care providers going through this transformation journey reduce costs and increase the quality of patient care. For health care software developers, this spells opportunity, but it is also creating delivery challenges as health care clients demand an op-ex, “pay-as-you-go” procurement model. Software as a service (SaaS) may be the key to success for health care software providers, and a cost-effective route to new, affordable technology solutions for the health care CIOs struggling with new IT demands under an existing IT budget.
According to Logicalis, CIOs must examine five important areas as part of their roadmap to success in the new health care IT landscape.
Click through for five steps on the road to health care IT success, as identified by Logicalis.
Of all the technical capabilities health care IT professionals are being asked to master today, the key is an ability to adapt to change that, by all indications, is entering warp speed. As a younger, more technology-oriented generation of doctors and tech-savvy patients take their place in health care’s future, IT is going to be drawn increasingly into the actual delivery of health services. As a result, health care IT professionals won’t be spending the bulk of their time caring for their IT infrastructures. The good news is that if the IT infrastructure is transformed from today’s siloed systems into a virtualized, automated IT-as-a-service resource, then the IT department will be able to focus its efforts directly on using technology to help doctors and nurses care for their patients and allowing patients to electronically manage their own care and wellness.
Mobility and BYOD
Today’s clinicians and patients are bringing their smartphones, tablets and other devices into the health care environment. Providing a health system with secure, high-performance mobility improves overall productivity and helps clinicians deliver quality, evidence-based health care at the point of care. The key is to be able to support multiple devices and platforms securely and seamlessly while ensuring patient confidentiality, 24x7x365 availability, and simplified infrastructure management.
Business continuity/disaster recovery (DR)
Health care organizations must now support an always-on, always available business model. They need cost-effective and resilient solutions that include backup, archiving, DR and business continuity capable of covering complex operations such as large hospital campuses, multiple clinics and remote locations. DR solutions must ensure instant access to critical electronic health records (EHR), including medical records and images, and be performance-intensive while also meeting flexibility, scalability and legal/compliance requirements. DR-as-a-service is one way to achieve DR best practices in a health care environment.
Storage and vendor-neutral archive (VNA)
HIT generates enormous amounts of data and images that need to be managed, protected and accessible. Whether a CIO is looking to consolidate and modernize storage to reduce cost and support requirements, or looking for specific solutions for medical imaging, a vendor-neutral archive (VNA) may be the answer. VNA solutions can offer an enterprise data repository for images and other non-transactional data that serve multiple clinical applications including picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), EHRs, patient and physician portals, health information exchanges, and more. With a centralized archive, clinicians can securely add, access and share relevant patient information across the enterprise for more collaborative diagnoses and treatment plans.
Patient portals/mobile applications
To meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements and receive federal incentives, today’s health care providers must not only offer patient portals, but they must also get patients to use them. Health care patient portals and mobile applications allow patients to securely interact and communicate with health care providers anytime, and from any device, without sacrificing their privacy. Feature-rich patient portals can be deployed as standalone websites, integrated with a health care organization’s existing website, or as add-ons to the EHR provider’s patient portal application. No matter how they’re deployed, patient portals and mobile applications increase patient engagement by providing secure online access to their health care data.