Clinicians aren’t the only ones who must continually pivot during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Healthcare IT teams face the challenge of managing systems and infrastructure to support uninterrupted care. They must also contend with reduced budgets, as well as managing the deployment of new technologies designed to maintain greater social distancing and sanitation within their physical spaces.
Those challenges are intensified by major staff reductions. According to federal labor statistics published in May, job losses in the healthcare sector are second only to those in the restaurant industry. That’s due to a substantial drop in elective surgeries and nonurgent visits.
Leaders, then, may consider the value of bringing in a partner to help.
Known as managed services, the arrangement can provide valuable IT insights, especially for smaller or recently merged healthcare systems. By trusting a third party such as CDW to handle cloud deployments, data center solutions, mobile initiatives, collaboration tools and security, organizations can focus on core business objectives.
READ MORE: Learn why healthcare collaboration tools matter now more than ever.
Bridging a Gap in IT
Managed services — which may be scaled up or down, depending on demand — can cut IT costs by as much as 40 percent, notes a CDW white paper on the topic. This has become more significant after COVID-19 wiped out billions in revenue.
Still, expenditures were a concern before the pandemic: A February report from Gartner notes that over the past four years, 59 percent of healthcare CIOs reported operating cost pressures; moreover, 41 percent reported shortfalls in funding.
Outside guidance is crucial when 4.2 million IT jobs (including roles in healthcare) went unfilled last year, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. The society also cites a 2020 survey from CompTIA, which found one-third of companies regularly outsource some IT needs in a typical year.
The duties of managed services are many. They could entail systems and data center management or handling the arduous tasks of maintenance and upgrades. Work might involve virtualization efforts so employees can safely do their jobs from home.
This creative, strategic thinking is key for effective cost optimization. As my colleague CDW Healthcare CTO Tom Stafford says, “The best thing we all can do right now is to collaborate with peers and partners.”
Peace of Mind
Beyond cost savings, managed services help ensure organizations properly assess, monitor and evolve their technology deployments and related services — and that all efforts meet the latest security and HIPAA-compliant protocols.
That’s even more important during COVID-19: The number of healthcare breaches reported between February and May is 50 percent higher than over the same period in 2019, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Recipients can rely on specialized engineers, 24/7 support and industry-specific expertise throughout the relationship, as well as added capacity to pivot amid a public health crisis that has IT teams working at full speed to enable high-quality care.
Managed services isn’t a substitute; it’s a partnership designed to meet the unique needs of each organization. When so much in the world has changed, a strong ally offers the foresight and strength to be ready for whatever comes next.