Article

3 essential elements of a strong healthcare information technology partnership

By Ainsley Platt | May 23, 2022

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Is your healthcare information technology (HIT) partner providing the support you need? If you feel like it's not helping you keep up with the industry, you’re not alone. Healthcare is constantly evolving, and many organizations are working with EHRs and practice management systems that were never built to navigate this complicated environment.

So, if it’s time to reassess your current HIT vendor relationship or start the search for a new one, what should you be considering? We’ve identified three crucial characteristics of HIT partnerships that enable healthcare organizations to thrive.

Technology that evolves with your needs

The ability to adjust to change is vital for a HIT solution’s -- and a practice’s -- evolution. This can include something impactful such as evolving to support telehealth capabilities during a pandemic, or simply being able to address new reporting requirements. The ability to evolve can take many different forms, and they can all have tremendous effects on the health of your practice and patients.

A HIT partner’s evolutionary ability is often determined by how easy it is to update or upgrade software. In addition to delivering new capabilities and security patches, software upgrades are often essential to remain compliant, yet upgrading on-premises solutions can be costly and disruptive. They can require additional IT support, require unanticipated maintenance fees, and may cause interruptions to clinician and administrative work if the installation doesn’t go smoothly. A nimble and reliable cloud-based solution solves this problem with technology that connects your organization directly to the HIT partner.

While there are solutions that are technically cloud-based, many are self-contained and don’t take advantage of the cloud’s full potential. There are open cloud-based solutions that can connect you with fellow healthcare organizations and other relevant entities, including labs, imaging centers, and pharmacies. By maintaining an open channel with the HIT provider, these solutions enable easy, frequent upgrades allowing the technology to continually evolve to address industry needs and your own.

Visibility into performance

Making beneficial, strategic business decisions for your practice without an accurate view of your performance is nearly impossible, which makes finding a HIT partner that enables you to collect and parse your own data essential. Visibility enables your organization to accomplish more, including tracking clinician performance, identifying billing inefficiencies, and planning for organizational expansion.

Now think about the possibilities if your HIT partner can expand that visibility into other healthcare organizations, particularly ones that practice the same specialty. HIT solutions that operate on open cloud-based technology can offer that to you. These partners can calculate industry benchmarks specific to your specialty or organization type to measure your organization’s performance against. With that context for your organization’s performance, you can identify areas where you may outperform your peers and others where you need to improve. Your organization can begin setting strategic near- and long-term goals based on industry behaviors.

Having a proactive HIT partner

The level of interest and involvement your HIT partner takes in your organization can impact you both clinically and financially. Proactive HIT partners work with you beyond onboarding and periodic check-ins by continually supporting you in other areas. They can actively take over your paperwork processing and other administrative tasks, freeing your staff to focus elsewhere, while also managing denials and medical coding issues, to help improve the speed and amount you’re able to collect.

Taking on work is not the limit for a partner. The value of deep visibility into the industry’s and your own performance metrics is limited by your ability to understand and take action on them. A proactive HIT partner will have specialists that can work one-on-one with you and help you to track your organization’s performance and set appropriate benchmarks. They can help you identify organizational and staff improvement opportunities and support you as you achieve your goals.

You might have felt extremely lucky to have any of these features be part of your HIT vendor relationship in the past. But with the speed with which healthcare continues to change and the challenges your organization faces daily, having a strong HIT partner with all these capabilities is essential to your success today and in the future.