By Nathan Putnam
Many health systems are still tackling the challenge of how to reduce IT infrastructure complexity without sacrificing flexibility, accessibility and performance.
In an increasingly technology focused world, how can you cut through the noise and plethora of cloud solutions and vendors that all promise to be “best-in-class” and find a solution that best suits your healthcare IT (HIT) strategy?
Healthcare IT Infrastructure Solutions – Build In-House or Outsource?
The healthcare ecosystem is large, with many moving parts and a dependency on information sharing. However, health systems are notorious for siloed data and being behind in digital transformation. Many systems still rely on Master Data Management (MDM) systems as the key in their data architecture.
This results in frequent and widespread barriers in exchanging electronic information across systems. In fact, over 50% of hospitals have reported difficulty in matching or identifying the correct patient or provider between systems. Additionally, half of hospitals indicate they lack the ability to exchange and receive data, because their EHR system lacks the appropriate capabilities and over 60 percent reported difficulty locating provider data.
I argue that while in-house integration solutions can offer you ownership and enable you to directly address a single solution, these integrations are often incredible fragile, challenging to scale, require large resources to maintain and lack agility.
In contrast, I offer several reasons to consider outsourcing your IT infrastructure to a cloud-based solution, to improve your digital workflows and enable you to achieve all the aforementioned features and more.
Six Reasons to Consider Outsourcing Healthcare IT Infrastructure Solutions
Performance: IT platforms and a reliable infrastructure are business critical, therefore ensuring they perform optimally is paramount. Outsourcing healthcare IT infrastructure solutions promises faster speeds and better performance due to more frequent testing and thus repairs than in-house teams have bandwidth for.
Scalability: Scalability of your IT infrastructure is an essential functionality. An outsourced solution can and should accommodate expansion without hampering any existing workflows. Additionally, it can ensure that your scaled system maintains or improves your efficiency.
Maintenance: APIs and your IT infrastructure are the glue that holds your enterprise together and connects you to your patients. It is without question that they are critical but maintaining them is incredibly time consuming and frequently falls on the shoulders of your IT teams. All too often IT teams are barely keeping their head above water, balancing maintenance with other critical tasks. Outsourcing puts the job of infrastructure upkeep in the hands of professionals, well-versed in solving malfunctions and ensuring functional consistency.
Experience & Quality: When building healthcare IT infrastructures, you need to be able to take complex data, and present simple questions and answers to the end users. Outsourced integration platforms have spent tremendous amounts of time building and perfecting their APIs. In the end, in-house APIs require many hours being put toward building and maintaining and are often unable to produce a product just as high in quality.
Flexibility: Cloud-based integration platforms are incredibly agile, can be tailored to any specific need and often have a swift implementation. Innately, integration platform means architectural APIs are flexible and offer easy to use and create APIs, enabling any number of additional features you may require.
ROI: What is the opportunity cost of not outsourcing? Money, time, disruption to workflows and frustration. Investing in a cloud-based architecture will save you time, by reducing maintenance and money in both human labor cost and more efficient and effective workflows.
Ultimately, outsourcing offers many more advantages than an in-house infrastructure.
In an increasingly fast-paced world, a well-oiled healthcare IT infrastructure that enables interoperability and seamless integrations is a must. While a high performing API is all but invisible, as soon as it is underperforming, you and your customers will suffer. Internally, the malfunctions and management are a headache, and externally, even the slightest delay can have users abandoning your website in favor of a timelier one.