As healthcare organizations move forward with the installation of electronic medical record systems, they face a big decision – whether to control the system in-house or to outsource their IT management.

In making a decision about outsourcing, many elements need to be taken into consideration.

There are five major reasons why healthcare providers go with outsourcing – to control or reduce their operating costs, to maintain their emphasis on providing healthcare, to obtain the expertise of companies in the IT field, to conserve resources for other projects, and because they just don’t have the resources to put together their own IT department.

Using an IT vendor can offer many benefits. Due to  their expertise, IT companies know how best to utilize IT systems to optimize their efficiency and effectiveness, as well as maintain security. With an independent IT firm, hospitals know they are getting knowledgeable professionals to install and maintain the system, as well as training employees in using it. Also, with outsourcing, hospitals have a good idea what their future IT costs will be.

In order to see if outsourcing is the best option, healthcare organizations need to consider if using an outside firm will help to enhance the healthcare provider’s health and well-being. This can be done financially, by saving the provider money, by avoiding incurring new costs, or by making costs more predictable. It can also be done through improving the quality of services or through management improvements, such as reducing risk and improving operating efficiency.

If the healthcare organization decides to use an outside vendor, it needs to be careful about the handling of the relationship to make sure it is getting the best value. For example, the provider needs to understand clearly, before taking any action, exactly what it wants to accomplish by using the IT vendor. In other words, what are its business objectives? These need to be set before any contract negotiations. Also, after an agreement is reached, the healthcare provider must remain active in monitoring and managing the operation with the vendor. It just doesn’t take care of itself.

The situation may change over time, so each side needs to be flexible. As an example, the kind of technology the healthcare organization needs might change, and so the contract may need to be renegotiated.

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding how to select an IT vendor. The provider needs to look at the vendor’s history – does it have a track record of success, of working well with its clients and keeping them happy? How much experience does the vendor have in the healthcare field? How flexible is it in delivering when changes are required? Also, how competent is the vendor technically, in terms of what its products can do?

Morgan Hunter Healthcare specializes in HIS Project/staff augmentation for healthcare facilities and systems throughout the country. We can help your hospital or medical clinic by outsourcing all of your IT management. Contact us today.