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Running an organization with multiple Orthopedic surgeons, nurses, administration staff, and support staff is a complex endeavor. Tackling that task without the right IT support is daunting. In this article, we’ll answer these important questions.

  • When should we start looking for a new IT services company?
  • What are the essential traits of an Orthopedic IT support team?
  • How do we switch IT services companies? (the process)

What should Your Orthopedic Group Be Looking For In an IT Services Company?

Orthopedic groups, like professional organizations the world over, have to deal with very common IT challenges.

  • Security
  • Business Continuity
  • Data Backup & Recovery
  • Network Management and Maintenance
  • Office Software Maintenance
  • Hardware Lifespan Management

Don’t you wish that was all the IT support topics your Orthopedic group had on its plate?

But it’s not, is it?

On top of those run-of-the-mill IT tasks, you have.

  • EMR/EHR Management Software Maintenance
  • HIPAA Compliance
  • Encryption and Secure Data Transmission Requirements
  • Legacy EMR/EHR Software Concerns
  • Integration of Imaging and Diagnostic Tools and Software
  • Patient Communications and Inter-Office Collaboration
  • Efficiency Goals Including Paperless Office and Mobile Workflows

Running an Orthopedic group is kind of like conducting the Philharmonic – regardless of how many surgeons make up your group.

The right healthcare IT professionals can make your job just a little bit easier and enable your surgeons and staff to take full advantage of the IT hardware and software in which your group has invested.

When should we start looking for a new IT services company?

Because we have served the Orthopedic community for quite a while now, we would never encourage a group like yours to drop your current IT support solution unceremoniously. Having said that, there are some key indicators to look at when considering a switch.

  1. Are Your IT Systems (and those managing those systems) keeping pace with your group’s current growth trajectory? In other words, are you being slowed down by your technology?
  2. Is there technology that you know you need to adopt, but your current IT support team is advising against it because they are unfamiliar with it?
  3. Are you facing chronic IT security or compliance related problems?
  4. Do you currently have an IT support team that uses a break/fix model and you want a more predictable IT expense for budgeting purposes?
  5. Are you experiencing frequent downtime?

Anyone of these five situations is a legitimate reason to spur groups like yours to consider a switch to a healthcare IT services team that specializes in serving Orthopedic groups.

What are the essential traits of an Orthopedic IT support team?

  • A deep understanding of cybersecurity
  • Vast experience in helping organizations meet and maintain HIPAA compliance
  • A comprehensive strategy to deal with current EMR/EHR records as well as legacy EMR/EHR
  • A holistic, proactive approach to IT management
  • A cheerful and professional attitude
  • Relationships with the leading hardware, software, imaging, and diagnostic tool vendors
  • A team with a wide range of IT expertise
  • An ability to listen
  • The capacity to explain technical problems and solutions in a way you and your staff can grasp
  • A knowledge of Orthopedic workflows gained through experience
  • A “fit” with your group’s internal culture
  • The desire and capacity to find and utilize new and proven technologies to provide greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability to your organization

How do we switch IT services companies? (the process)

Many times, HO we go about doing something is as important as WHAT we are doing. Here are some thoughts as to the process that an organization should undertake in switching from one IT services company to another.

If you’ve determined that your current IT services team no longer meets the growing requirements of your organization, the first step is to have a frank conversation with your current IT people. Assuming that they have served you well, the conversation will go more like an “It’s not you, it’s us” talk than a “Dear John” letter.

However it goes, there are a couple of things that have to come out of that meeting.

  1. A timeline for handover to the new IT services company
  2. A plan to hand over any necessary documentation and passwords
  3. A commitment to work with the new IT services team in migrating any data, virtualized machines, or applications to the new IT services company
  4. A commitment from you that you will recommend them to other organizations that you feel would benefit from their IT support
  5. An exchange of contact info so the outgoing team can begin the process by contacting the incoming team (a business card will suffice).

Once the initial meeting is over, you must hold both the outgoing IT services team and the incoming team to the timetable discussed and agreed upon.

It will take some time for the two companies to work together in the background to ensure a smooth transition.

If there are bumps along the way – and there often are as a result of hurt feelings and conflicting personalities – be prepared to “go it alone” with your new healthcare IT services team. In which case, allow for a weekend when the new team can come in and deal with everything on their own, without the distraction of your staff or disrupting your care of patients. This scenario is less desirable, but it can be accomplished.

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of having been abandoned by your current IT support solution, the process is both simpler and more complicated at the same time. It’s simpler because you don’t have to walk gingerly around the outgoing team, but it’s more complex because the incoming IT services company employees have to examine your systems and figure out what the last guys did right, did wrong, and didn’t do at all.

Have some questions about switching IT services? The GDS team serves Orthopedic groups nationwide and would be glad to have a no-obligation conversation with you to answer any questions you might have about the process.

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