Tips for Doing Business in the Healthcare Sector
For information technology (IT) solution providers willing to invest some time and energy, the healthcare sector can provide a wealth of opportunities. CompTIA recently published its 4th Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities research study to take the pulse of the small- and mid-size physician practice to better understand where opportunities may lie. A few of the many key takeaways from the study include:
The importance of IT to healthcare providers continues to trend upwards – a net 89% of physicians and other providers now rate IT as important/very important to their practice. And yet, when asked about key strategic priorities for the year ahead, technology initiatives do not make the top five. Healthcare providers cite needs such as controlling operational costs, improving workflow efficiencies, enhancing staff productivity and implementing better risk management/compliance safeguards at the top of the list. The takeaway: It’s imperative to connect the dots between technology solutions and business objectives.
Healthcare providers give generally satisfactory marks for the core IT in use at their practice. Sixty-six percent report being very or mostly satisfied. These are solid marks. However, it does mean 1 in 3 healthcare providers are at least somewhat dissatisfied with some aspect of the technology in use at their practice. Areas of greatest frustration include: EMR/EHR systems, computers (general), billing and collection systems, fax machines, networks/slow Internet/downtime and printers. IT solution providers able to deliver superior reliability, performance, customer service or cost savings can capitalize on the segment of customer most receptive to improvement.
In the healthcare sector, like most industry sectors, management of the IT function is highly correlated with size. Small healthcare practices, without the resources for full-time IT staff, tend to manage IT with a do-it-yourself approach, occasionally calling in an IT solution provider for more sophisticated work. Despite approximately 1 in 5 healthcare providers reporting utilizing some form of managed IT services, the research suggests awareness and understanding of the managed services model is on the low side.
While the managed services model may not be suited for everyone, it does address a few key requirements of healthcare providers: The need to maximize system/software reliability and uptime, security, predictable costs and defined customer support. Unfortunately, there is no easy path to raising awareness of the managed services model other than investing the time in customer education and relationship building. MSPs taking these steps improve their odds of success.
CompTIA’s 4th Annual Healthcare IT Insights and Opportunities study was developed with input from a survey of 375 doctors, dentists and other healthcare providers in the U.S. during November 2012. The full report is available at no cost to CompTIA members. Visit www.comptia.org/research or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
CompTIA members can read the full report here.