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Is outsourcing IT support the key to improving operational efficiency in healthcare?

22/02/2024 minute read OneAdvanced PR

The healthcare sector faces a myriad of challenges as it adapts to meet evolving patient expectations and integrates with rapidly advancing technology. This makes it ever-more important to ensure that IT systems are adequately supported to ensure the smooth running of these organisations and avoidance of downtime which could have critical consequences. In this blog, we will delve into the challenges inherent in managing in-house IT support and discuss whether outsourcing to external providers is the key to improving operational efficiencies and ultimately, patient care.

Industry pressures

Healthcare providers are under tremendous pressure to deliver exceptional medical services while simultaneously cutting costs and enhancing efficiency. This necessitates the need for streamlined processes, automation of routine tasks, and optimised resource distribution.

User demands have also developed – patients now expect personalised healthcare plans, transparent billing, and effective communication. Meanwhile, technological advancements like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, cloud computing, and automation are revolutionising how healthcare services are delivered. From powering sophisticated chatbots to predicting health outcomes, assisting in drug discovery, and even revolutionising surgical procedures, the future of healthcare is changing.

The criticality of effective IT support

The smooth operation of IT systems is critical for healthcare institutions to function effectively. The reliability of a healthcare provider's IT support directly influences operational efficiency and the quality of patient care. As healthcare operations are increasingly dependent on sophisticated IT systems for records management, appointment scheduling, and patient care coordination, any form of disruption can lead to loss of crucial information, operational delays, and compromised patient care.

Thus, it's essential for healthcare organisations to maintain robust IT support that ensures their tech infrastructure operates without interruption, swiftly addresses arising problems, and offers necessary guidance to medical and administrative staff. This, in turn, facilitates continuous care delivery and allows providers to meet the high-quality, efficient service standards their patients expect.

The challenges of in-house IT management

However, delivering effective in-house IT support and operating an efficient IT help desk is far from easy for healthcare organisations. In-house IT functions are not always within the core competencies of a healthcare provider and typically require substantial investment in personnel, training, and technology. In-house IT teams may also face conflicting priorities, resulting in delayed response times to support requests. Key challenges include:

Costs: Provisions for in-house IT support can be a substantial financial burden. Recruiting, training IT personnel, and maintaining cutting-edge hardware, as well as software can severely strain budgets, especially in smaller establishments.

Availability: In-house IT teams may not always provide 24/7 services or be available during critical times, which can delay the resolution of IT issues and disrupt healthcare operations, affecting patient care, and productivity.

Time to resolve issues: For healthcare providers, expeditiously resolving IT issues is vital for maintaining uninterrupted operations. In-house IT support, however, may be hindered by competing priorities or inadequate resources, leading to protracted downtimes, affecting patient services and organisational performance.

Expertise & tech skills shortage: The healthcare industry requires specialised technical knowledge to manage various complex systems, including both on-premises and cloud technologies. However, finding and retaining IT professionals equipped with this skillset is challenging, particularly with the current tech skills shortage.

Should you outsource your IT Service Desk?

Outsourcing your Service Desk to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) can provide a solution to these challenges for healthcare organisations. It allows them to access a dedicated team of professionals who specialise in providing top-notch help desk support. They will have extensive experience across industries and technologies and possess the knowledge and resources to ensure that technical issues are resolved promptly and effectively.

Outsourcing the IT Service Desk can also bring cost advantages. By partnering with external service providers, organisations can reduce operational expenses associated with hiring, training, and managing an in-house team. Outsourcing enables businesses to leverage economies of scale, benefiting from shared resources and infrastructure, ultimately resulting in significant cost savings.

Another significant advantage is the faster response times. External service providers often offer round-the-clock availability, delivering 24x7 support to address IT issues promptly. This ensures minimal downtime and maximises productivity, as businesses can rely on a responsive and accessible IT support system at all times.

Additionally, outsourcing the IT Service Desk allows organisations to allocate their internal IT staff to core business functions. By entrusting routine IT support tasks to external experts, internal teams can dedicate their time and expertise to critical projects and strategic initiatives. This streamlined approach increases efficiency and fosters innovation within the organisation.

Learn more about outsourced service desks, or get in touch today to learn more.