Mar 02 2022

Partner-Delivered IT Services Help Mitigate the Effects of Staff Shortages

IT staffing shortages can place the burden of troubleshooting onto nurses, impacting patient care. Relying on partners can keep operations running smoothly when healthcare organizations are understaffed.

Burnout from the pandemic has exacerbated the ongoing nursing shortage, as well as a shortage of support personnel critical to a hospital’s operations, such as IT. Both nursing and IT staff shortages can impact healthcare organizations on many levels, including patient care.

IT staffing shortages can result in nurses having to troubleshoot technical issues or delay their work due to a system or equipment failure. They may have to call a service desk for help or attempt to address the technical issue on their own, which can amplify the problem, reducing valuable time spent with patients and slowing care delivery.

Healthcare organizations have options for addressing staff shortages. Partner-delivered services enable healthcare organizations to supplement their staff with IT experts, mitigating issues that can have a negative impact on patient care. It’s important for healthcare leadership to understand whether they could benefit from partner-delivered services and what their options are if they choose that route.

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When Does a Health System Need Partner-Delivered Services?

Healthcare organizations need to focus on all areas of their operations. If service, critical project or security issues occur because of IT staffing shortages, it may be time to consider partner-delivered services.

Organizations often look to new technology to help alleviate issues caused by staffing shortages, but in many cases, these initiatives fail because there are not enough qualified staff to operate, maintain or monitor the technology. In addition, full adoption takes time, whereas partner-delivered services can be implemented quickly to address areas specifically impacted by the staffing shortage, for as long as the organization needs.

Partner-delivered service packages can be customized to fit an organization’s budget, and payment can be planned to fit the organization’s needs. Often, a partner service is less expensive than a technology solution the healthcare organization may be considering, which could fail without enough qualified staff to operate, maintain and monitor its implementation.

It takes about 90 days to replace an employee who leaves an organization, and if several employees leave at once, that time frame is amplified. In that situation, it could take more than a year before the IT team is fully staffed again. A partner-delivered service can be deployed right away, allowing the healthcare organization to manage important IT systems and services while it hires new staff. Once internal staffing is back to an appropriate level, the agreement can be terminated.

RELATED: Learn how technology can alleviate the effects of the nursing shortage.

Overcoming Connection Barriers with IT Partners

One barrier that keeps healthcare organizations from connecting with IT partners is simply not knowing their full capabilities. It’s important to understand the abilities of all business partners and to have agreements in place that allow an organization to move quickly if the need arises for their support, which can be provided remotely as well.

Most healthcare organizations know where to go when they need to augment nursing or housekeeping staff, but not IT staff. Agency staffing for nurses and other staff outsourcing can be expensive, and many healthcare organizations are hesitant to turn to partner-delivered services for IT because they anticipate high costs. However, the value of partnering with an IT service provider quickly outweighs the costs of not having a full-time employee in that position to manage necessary systems and processes. In many cases, the cost can be reasonable if the organization communicates with the partner directly.

Healthcare leadership may be concerned about the time needed for partners to acclimate to an organization’s IT systems and services, but that shouldn’t be an issue because the partner is already an expert in the service and likely can meet the organization’s IT needs quickly. This takes the burden off nurses and other staff who may have had to handle IT issues, freeing them to focus on patient care and safety.

CDW Amplified™ Services focuses on configuration, data, development, infrastructure, workplace, security and support/staff augmentation services, providing fully vetted IT experts. For more information, contact your account representative or call 800.800.4239.

This article is part of HealthTech’s MonITor blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using #WellnessIT.

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