This is where a managed services provider (MSP) comes in. MSP services may include:
- IT Operations (hardware and software issues)
- Network Monitoring
- Cloud Storage (and Backups)
- Managed Security
- VoIP System
When you work with an MSP, you get an entire team of well-qualified engineers who are available around the clock, and you’re not depending on just one person to keep things running. This allows you to focus on patient care rather than if your network is functioning properly.
But how do you find the right MSP for your practice? As with any other vendor, you’ll want to seek out more than one quote. We’ve put together some of the most important considerations when it comes time to choose the right healthcare IT MSP.
Seek Out a Specialist
Once you’ve decided to partner with an MSP, it’s important to work with one that specializes in the healthcare industry. There are a lot of MSPs out there, serving a wide variety of industries. You need a specialist, because the healthcare field is subject to so many rules and regulations that don’t affect other businesses.
HIPAA compliance is a prime example. While your run of the mill MSP may be good at providing general IT services and VoIP services, if they don’t know all of your security requirements and other mandated requirements, you run the risk of fines, licensing issues, and other setbacks.
In addition to the basic MSP services mentioned above, a healthcare IT specialist can also provide HIPAA Security Risk Assessments and Telemedicine capabilities.
Pay Attention to the Questions THEY Ask
The right healthcare IT MSP will ask you a lot of questions, in an effort to fully understand your medical group’s needs, both now and in the future. They will want to know what services and vendors you have now, what you need from a cloud provider, how large your practice is and if there are plans for expansion, and much more.
Based on your answers, the MSP will provide a comprehensive exam of your current IT situation, including analyzing your:
- Hardware such as computers and laptops
- Applications such an EMR system
- Your network
- Your security tools
Each MSP you request a proposal from should note any outdated systems and identify potential security issues. And they should be able to explain things clearly.
Size Really Does Matter
Ask a healthcare IT MSP how many clients they serve. If they’re too big and serve a lot of clients, your concerns could get lost in the shuffle. If they’re too small, they may not be able to handle all of your needs in a timely fashion, and they might need to outsource some services.
You want the Goldilocks healthcare IT MSP. Medium sized, with the in-house staff, tools, and resources to proactively address your IT needs and security, both now and in the future. Location matters, too. You want to select an MSP who can offer both on-site and virtual support. They don’t even have to be in your state if staff will travel to your location when needed.
Look for an MSP that Offers You a Virtual CIO
Having a virtual chief information officer (vCIO) is a great asset to your practice. A virtual CIO can lend their expertise in helping you with:
- Corporate IT strategy
- Quarterly technology performance reports
- Budget planning
- Business impact analysis
Ask About Their Tools and Technology
This might be getting into the weeds a little bit, but you’ll want to ask about the tools and technology an MSP uses to streamline your IT systems and provide you with the utmost in cybersecurity. A highly qualified healthcare IT MSP can easily answer this question.
They make extensive use of advanced technologies and have documented processes in place. Their network operations centers (NOCs) are equipped with the latest monitoring and management tools, enabling them to handle most issues remotely.
They should be able to tell you what tools and technology they use for your:
- Ticketing System
- Document Repository
- Security Tools
- Cloud Storage
You Want a Healthcare IT MSP with a Proven Track Record
You also want to work with a healthcare IT MSP that has been in business for a while, and has satisfied clients they can refer you to. You may be able to find some of this information on their website, but if you don’t see it, ask for a list of references. Think of it this way. If you had to have surgery, you would want to work with a board certified, experienced, and well-reviewed surgeon.
With an MSP, look for ISO 9001 certification and information about who their current clients are, as well as their client retention rate.
Work with a Healthcare IT Partner You Can Trust
At PEAKE Technology Partners, we specialize in providing healthcare IT services. It’s all we do. Your patients trust you to provide quality care and to keep their information safe, and you should expect the same from your IT partner.
If you’re looking to outsource your IT services, or you’re not happy with your current MSP, please reach out to our team for a consultation. We work with medical practices on the East Coast, predominantly in the Mid Atlantic, as well as North Carolina.
Call us at (866) 357-3253 or use the contact form to schedule a conversation.
by Mary Knotts, Partner
July 8, 2021
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