Healthcare IT outsourcing is becoming a reality for more and more healthcare organizations. The FBI has warned that the healthcare industry is a target for cybercriminals, and the Department of Health and Human Services has issued an alert about Ransomware attacks on hospitals. Healthcare data breaches are rising, and cyber criminals know this makes them big money. 

The risks to patients' privacy and the potential for reputational damage if hacks occur are too great for most healthcare organizations to take a chance. Disasters like the 2016 DDoS attack that affected over 25% of hospitals in the United States, leading to patient deaths, demonstrate that this problem is not insignificant. Compliance with requirements of HIPAA, PCI, SOC2, and other regulations is another primary driver of IT outsourcing, as well as cost savings. 

When it comes to health IT outsourcing, some healthcare organizations are resistant. 

Why are healthcare organizations so resistant? One reason may be that they do not want to give up control over their own data. These are all valid concerns, but they can be overcome by choosing a provider that makes sure you have everything you need. The best way to do this is through a comprehensive service agreement that outlines exactly what your needs are and how your provider will meet them. 

The move toward healthcare IT outsourcing. 

Two significant challenges are driving the move toward managed IT services for healthcare: A growing need for security expertise and highly specialized professionals. 

As you know, hackers are becoming more sophisticated every day. Healthcare is no exception, and cyberattacks pose a serious risk to your organization's data—and patient privacy. But, if you don't have IT security experts on staff 24/7/365 (or at least someone who can respond quickly), it's not just your reputation at stake but also patients' lives. 

Additionally, many healthcare providers have found that their internal resources aren't enough to meet their needs in highly specialized areas such as compliance with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations or network security audits. 

Risks to patient privacy are too significant for most healthcare organizations to take a chance. 

Healthcare organizations face unique challenges when it comes to maintaining their IT infrastructure. From some of the most advanced security technologies in the world to HIPAA compliance, healthcare providers are tasked with safeguarding sensitive patient data while ensuring that staff and patients can access their information at all times. 

But because of this heightened focus on security and privacy, healthcare organizations often underestimate how much they're missing out on by not outsourcing their managed services provider (MSP). 

There are many risks to patients' privacy, and the potential for reputational damage if hacks occur is too great for most healthcare organizations to take a chance. In 2014 alone, over 200 million stolen records from US-based organizations and $6 billion in fraud losses due to cybercrime – so why would you risk it? 

Disasters like the 2016 DDoS attack that affected over 25% of hospitals in the United States, leading to patient deaths, demonstrate the problem is not insignificant. 

It's a scary thought that a DDoS attack could knock out your hospital's electronic medical records system, which is used to manage patients' health information. A DDoS attack is a cyberattack in which large numbers of computers or other internet-connected devices (such as routers) are infected with malicious software that causes them to send requests for data from the target website or server.  

The sheer volume of these requests overloads the site and prevents it from processing legitimate traffic. This can cause downtime and even result in patient deaths during an emergency where access to information is crucial. 

In fact, according to research conducted by Radware and Ponemon Institute, nearly 25% of hospitals were victims of at least one DDoS attack in 2016 alone—and many more were hit by other types of cyberattacks like ransomware attacks (where hackers hold important files hostage until payment is made) and phishing scams (where hackers trick employees into giving up sensitive information). 

Compliance with requirements of HIPAA, PCI, SOC2, and other regulations is another primary driver of IT outsourcing. 

Compliance with HIPAA, PCI, SOC2, and other regulations is another major driver of IT outsourcing. Hospitals must comply with these regulations, which have stringent security, privacy, and data protection requirements.  

Also, the hospital's IT team must ensure that the hospital's systems are designed and implemented to meet all applicable security standards. Hospitals must have dedicated staff teams responsible for managing compliance issues like HIPAA/HITECH.  

In addition, many hospitals need to maintain their business continuity plans (BCP) to maintain their operations during an emergency after a disaster strikes the facility or when severe weather events like hurricanes or heavy snowstorms impact their location significantly enough.  

Hence, it becomes impossible for them to continue running without interruption due to unforeseen circumstances outside their control, such as power outages caused by nature-related incidents like earthquakes and human error. 

The cost of healthcare IT outsourcing can vary widely depending on the scope of work to be outsourced, and the level of service required. 

The cost of healthcare IT outsourcing can vary widely depending on the scope of work to be outsourced, and the level of service required. The cost of outsourcing may range from tens of thousands per month to millions per year. 

A managed service provider (MSP) can help you lower your outsourcing costs by managing resources and reducing costs through economies of scale while providing a high level of availability and support services typically unavailable with third-party vendors or internal IT staff. 

Selecting an MSP should include researching multiple providers and interviewing at least 3-5 MSPs in depth. 

As you research MSPs and interview them, the following factors will be essential to consider: 

  • Service level. What kind of support can be provided around the clock? Does the MSP have staff available 24/7? Do they provide support via phone, remote access, or both? The level of service is not just about how quickly a technician can fix your issue; it's also about whether the MSP has a plan for dealing with large-scale outages (for example, an emergency backup system). Also, remember that some providers' pricing may vary depending on whether you need more or less support over time. 
  • Security. Some hospitals are concerned about HIPAA compliance—whether their vendor has adequate policies and procedures to ensure patient data remains secure. Others also worry about network security; if hackers could access confidential information like credit card numbers from computers within their walls, would those computers have been protected from malware? If so, how often does this happen? 

Outsourcing your health IT services to a managed service provider (MSP) gives you access to expert professionals while reducing costs and risks. 

Managed service providers (MSPs) are a valuable resource for healthcare organizations. They can provide services like: 

  • Network and data security management 
  • Application support and maintenance 
  • Infrastructure management and support, including hardware, software, and networking infrastructure 

As an MSP partner, your organization can focus on delivering high-quality care with the help of dedicated MSP experts with experience with health IT systems. This allows you to improve efficiency while reducing costs by hiring the right people for your organization's needs.  

Also, when it comes to risk reduction, outsourcing will enable you to shift the proactive responsibility onto someone else's plate while still maintaining control over how things are done—you can even choose what happens next if something goes wrong. 

Final thought 

The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving and becoming more complex. A managed service provider (MSP) can help you manage these changes by providing the expertise needed to keep up with them. Healthcare organizations of all sizes should consider outsourcing their IT services to an MSP because it offers many benefits, including lower costs, less risk exposure, and access to highly specialized professionals who can support your mission-critical IT needs. 

SSI offers managed IT services for healthcare, offering a full range of solutions that help you keep your data safe, run smoothly, and save money. Our team of experts can help you create and launch new technology initiatives that improve the care you provide to patients. 

We offer healthcare IT solutions that include: 

  • IT support services 
  • Cloud computing services 
  • Infrastructure management services 

SSI is your partner in building true enterprise grade IT environments. Contact us today to learn more.