As a Healthcare IT organization that provides managed services to the healthcare industry, we hear a lot of reasons from new clients as to why they are looking for a new support company.
Here are the top 10 signs indicating that a healthcare practice should–(scratch that… needs) to consider a new Managed Service Provider (MSP).
1) Recurring Issues Are NOT Resolved
Does your healthcare business experience the same IT issues over and over again? If this is the case, then chances are your MSP isn’t monitoring your network —They’re not tracking issues correctly, they don’t have processes in place to identify recurring problems, or they’re not getting to the root cause of the problem. (Are they telling you just to turn things off and back on again?)
2) Poor Response Times
Does it take days before you hear back from your IT company on issues? Or are you notifying them of critical issues?
If your MSP isn’t responding to you within minutes, if they aren’t picking up the phone and helping you in real time, then you need to seriously look at your options. Great MSPs have Service Levels tied to their performance on metrics. They can control things like Response Times and Remediation Plans.
3) Constant Up-Selling
Is your MSP constantly trying to sell new services or products that they offer without putting much thought into what your healthcare practice needs? Sometimes this is a symptom of item number 1 on this list. (They don’t know how to fix an issue, and they have you throw money at the problem).
4) Finger Pointing
No MSP can understand every software package that a practice may use. Sure, they know the underlying technologies (or at least you hope they do). But you still rely on them whenever there’s an issue. Do they own the problem, or do they say, “That’s the vendor’s issue, you need to call them.”? The best MSPs will have documentation on all of the other IT services your practice uses, and they should take ownership when things go wrong, even when it’s not their fault.
5) Invoices Are Inconsistent.
A benefit of using an MSP is a flat, predictable monthly fee. However, we hear constantly that every invoice is different or higher than what the practice expected to pay! Many times, this is due to expectations not being clearly set as to what is and what isn’t covered under their program.
6) You Don’t Have A Dedicated Account Manager
You have a non-technical question about new software or security concern, and you call their support line. However, they’re not equipped to determine the business impact of the new software, the security risk associated with your concern, or its effect on HIPAA compliance.
MSPs that assign a dedicated account manager who understands your business and can make recommendations for improvements beyond hardware that are the gold standard. The account manager should provide insight for improved workflow, training, security, device and software systems. Having industry-specific insights into what can work and what won’t, is invaluable when trying to run a healthcare practice.
7) Security Seems A Bit Lax
If you don’t have easy access documentation on security processes, controls, or work plans, you’re probably not compliant with HIPAA or other security regulations. Or worse, your IT isn’t secure. No one likes to talk about security, but a good MSP will make sure you are on the right path for not only technical safeguards but compliance for your entire practice.
Compliance is no joke for today’s healthcare organizations. There are countless stories about huge fines and penalties being levied against all-sized organizations. Just Google “Healthcare Wall of Shame” if you don’t believe us.
8) Industry Matter Expertise
Knowing about technology (PC’s, Servers, Firewalls, etc.) is one thing. Knowing how your technology interacts with your EMR, your PACs system, and impacts your day-to-day workflow is the sign of a truly great Healthcare MSP. If you have to train your MSP about your systems or they don’t understand your “language” then they’re not healthcare specific MSPs. A great MSP will understand Business Associate Agreements (Covered Entities & Business Associates), DICOM, modalities, lab results, HL7, ACO, CCDA, Quality Measures….and more. And they won’t talk to you about the speed of today’s CPUs in PCs.
Having a thorough understanding of the challenges a healthcare organization faces, and experience that’s real-world tested is important when selecting an IT provider.
9) Lack Of Reporting
Your MSP should be completely transparent regarding how much time they’re spending on all of your open issues at any given point in time. They should be able to provide you with an open-issue list quickly. Additionally, they should be able to provide real-time patch reports, AV reports, system reports, OS reports, etc. Today’s ticketing systems make it easy to track the status of every IT issue affecting your practice.
10) Lack Of Documentation
When your MSP loses an employee, does the support you receive suffer? All businesses have their share of employees that come and go. But if your support suffers, then it’s a clear sign that the MSP doesn’t adequately document all aspects of your IT environment. Well-run IT support operations have top documentation processes that are continually updated so anyone on the team can provide you with the support you’re paying for.
MSPs that boast you’ll have a dedicated technical representative who will know every part of your network when you sign on with them are really telling you “We have no documentation process so [Support Rep Name] will keep all notes with him.” But what happens when that rep leaves the company or goes on vacation? You get the idea….
You Should Expect More
Although we didn’t include this in the list above, your MSP must be flexible and adapt to your changing support requirements. If your IT service company can’t provide the services pricing or contract terms you need, you should look elsewhere.
We hear all the time that a healthcare practice simply accepts one or more of the issues stated above. Why? Technology is supposed to help you provide patient care, not hinder it. Don’t live with poor healthcare IT services; there are a lot of options out there today.
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