Technology has changed the way industry professionals approach the idea of healthcare. Many of these innovations are positive — facilitating patient care and ensuring traditional treatments are more effective — but they also present some unique challenges when it comes to managing healthcare information technology expenses.
Telecom, mobile, and cloud computing are now at the forefront of the digital revolution within the industry. However, there are still challenges that the healthcare industry faces when dealing with their overall IT spend.
One of the most significant selling points of electronic health records (EHRs) is they allow practitioners to access relevant patient data instantly. With the adoption of this technology nearly complete — around 95% of hospitals use EHRs — interoperability is proving to be a challenge. What does that mean? Simply put, patient identification isn’t standardized, often making it impossible to match a person with their records. Nearly anyone can input information into a patient’s EHR, but withdrawing data isn’t always possible.
Avoiding interoperability problems are pushing the industry to find answers. One solution is cloud-based EHRs. Cloud-based EHRs centralize the database while still providing important security features. But, cloud computing comes with its own set of challenges. Managing cloud spend, lack of expertise and resources, cybersecurity, and governance are lurking dangers that can challenge already maxed out IT departments.
Outsourcing cloud expense management and implementing a cloud cost management strategy can help organizations plan for future costs and consumption. With a better understanding of costs and usage, a business can more effectively enforce accountability. In addition, it can also improve the performance and efficiency of its cloud technology.
Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
Many healthcare organizations have either consolidated, merged or been acquired in recent years. Hampleton Partners found the accelerated implementation and adoption of healthcare apps, telemedicine and web-based resources drove both M&A volumes and values in 2020.
While M&A activity is often good news for a healthcare organization, it can make managing IT expenses tricky. Different companies may have different carriers and contract terms. Plus, bringing in lots of devices from multiple organizations creates a decentralized technology inventory. Lack of visibility, disorganized data, and decentralized repositories can lead to overspending on telecom, mobile, and cloud vendors.
Complex Healthcare IT Ecosystems
Larger organizations have more complex healthcare information technology ecosystems. But, they may lack the resources to appropriately manage the associated expenses. The larger the organization, the more invoices, contracts and services it must manage. Accounts payable (AP) teams are often scrambling to process invoices and pay bills in time to — hopefully — prevent service disruption and late-payment fees.
However, lack of time and resources inhibit the ability to audit because telecom, mobile and cloud invoices can be thousands of lines long. What’s more, these invoices often use tech lingo that AP teams might not understand. This can mean an organization is paying for services and devices they no longer use.
Growing employee preferences for mobile devices means more “things,” and more data. Many medical professionals now work off tablets or mobile phones, especially as EHR move to the cloud. Plus, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios will continue to expand as telehealth grows in popularity. Providers want to use their preferred devices to treat patients virtually.
However, expenses don’t start and end with simply purchasing mobile devices and plans. Connectivity and data usage have their own cost implications. Healthcare organizations need to ensure devices are on the right mobile plan for each use case. They also need to ensure that they’re only paying for what they have, what they use, and what they agreed to pay.
Solving the Cost Challenge of Healthcare Information Technology
Healthcare organizations already have their hands full when it comes to managing their business. Tracking down and eliminating unnecessary IT and technology expenses should be the least of a healthcare organization’s worries.
Technology expense management solutions like Tangoe help healthcare organizations solve these challenges by:
- Using automation to process invoices, manage inventory, place orders, and audit and optimize expenses — creating efficiencies and eliminating human error.
- Providing a centralized view of an entire technology ecosystem, even in the case of M&A or consolidation — giving IT leaders total visibility into all data and devices and allowing them to decommission unused services.
- Supporting mobile programs, securing mobile devices, and providing reports on spend, inventory, data, and orders — so mobile assets can be optimized to save an organization money.
- Monitoring an organization’s cloud resource usage and computing demands while providing reporting features to outline waste and redundancies.
- Helping organizations to address risk, develop innovative and technology-driven strategies, and keep costs lean with Advisory Services.