While outsourcing IT in healthcare provides clear benefits, from cost reduction and improved services to better caregiver experiences while navigating privacy and compliance matters, there are also risks involved. The proper way to mitigate these risks is to establish your outsourcing requirements, vet the provider landscape, establish a true two-way partnership with the chosen provider, perform a thorough two-way due diligence, and, last, but not least, establish a robust governance process to drive the relationship.
Vendor management is important in any healthcare environment, but the stakes are even higher in healthcare IT outsourcing. Not only are there contracts to navigate and compliance to manage, but— to effectively streamline operations and provide good experiences for patients and caregivers — organizations also need to build long-term provider relationships that support operations as well as the bottom line. In addition to the normal tasks that come with vendor management, the success of healthcare IT outsourcing is dependent on a robust governance process.
Integrate third-party providers with your existing healthcare operations
Integrating third-party providers with existing operations will help organizations streamline processes and keep things running smoothly. To get it right, it’s important to properly vet any potential providers. A clear and thorough vetting process minimizes business risk and liability; increases healthcare governance and safeguards; and ensures providers have the proper experience, skills, standards, and compliance (among other criteria) in place to access and support your facilities and systems
Teams also can minimize risk while integrating third-party providers by:
- Addressing any compliance issues upfront
- Maintaining a mindset of continuous improvement
- Mapping out existing infrastructure and essential systems to continuously identify opportunities and potential risk areas
Improve provider relationships
Improving and strengthening provider relationships is an ongoing necessity. Approaching these relationships as long-term partnerships is essential. When evaluating providers, consider working with trusted healthcare IT outsourcing advisors who can match you with the right healthcare outsourcing providers. Not only does this take the pressure off of you and your team; it will also enable you to build long-term relationships that benefit both caregivers and patients — and support operations as well
To strengthen provider relationships, ensure that you are:
- Measuring experience metrics that focus on service and business (e.g., admission systems availability) instead of (or in addition to) technology metrics (e.g., server availability)
- Defining expectations and deadlines
- Maintaining clear and consistent communications
- Establishing strong relationship governance
Mitigate risks upfront
Healthcare IT outsourcing carries potential risk — from weak data protection and miscommunication issues to inadequate governance structures and lack of training. These risks can create not only diminished quality of patient care, caregiver experiences, and operational processes, but also problems for your bottom line.
Over the last decade, more than 2,000 data breaches involving healthcare records have occurred, with 34% of these breaches stemming from unauthorized access or disclosure.
The good news is that many of these risks can be avoided by focusing on your pre-contract due diligence. By enlisting the support of strategic advisors, like the Windsor Group, you can rest assured that your decisions will be backed by a high level of experience and qualifications within the healthcare space.
All these strategies come back to the need for clear governance. When you assess risks upfront and partner with an experienced healthcare IT provider, you can proactively mitigate risks. That said, you can continue to manage risk and improve relationships through clear governance of your providers. For example, you can:
- Provide clear objectives for your third-party providers
- Ensure proper onboarding and knowledge transfer processes
- Define clear responsibilities and compliance strategies
- Provide ongoing training for continuous improvement
- Establish a regular cadence of reporting, meetings, and communications
These strategies will go a long way in managing your provider relationship and reducing risk.
For additional support in assessing your healthcare IT outsourcing needs, evaluating providers, and selecting the best option for your healthcare environment, reach out to the strategic sourcing advisors at the Windsor Group. Find out about our industry unique engagement model. We can help.