3 Challenges in Health Care and How IT Can Help Solve Them

There's a real opportunity here for MSPs.

Allison Francis

March 26, 2019

4 Min Read

It’s no secret that health-care IT has some pretty unique challenges. As medical technology advances, so does the technology to manage health care on the backend.

The problem is that while health-care technology gains in the industry are meant to make the lives of the patients easier, there are some serious issues on the provider side of things.

Here are three common challenges we see in health care and how IT can help solve them, with insights from experts at SWC Technology Partners.

1. Data, Data Everywhere

Problem: There is an overabundance of data captured in many different disparate places. It permeates every component of the health care system. Think patient data captured in medical machines, appointment information, prescription information and so on, not to mention insurance companies having their insurance data in their own separate systems.

Ultimately, the data in health care is everywhere and organizations within the industry are trying to find ways to embrace all relevant data sources to provide better patient care.

Solution: The idea is to leverage data-analytics solutions to consolidate data into one centralized “source of truth.” Providers can pull data into a cloud-based data warehouse and then make sense of it with solutions like Power BI to visualize charts and graphs that tell a story. Health-care providers can then use this data to make better decisions or predict outcomes.

2. Houston, We Have a (Communication) Problem

Problem:There are a lot of different players in health care [patients, providers (doctors, nurses), insurance payees (insurance companies)], and they aren’t effectively communicating or collaborating. Part of the problem is that there isn’t a very good way to get access to the same info due to the use of some pretty archaic (or at least, archaic by technology and modern solution standards) methods.

There continue to be errors and sharing inefficiencies due to the continued use of low-key technology. If a world of high-tech machines and systems and unfathomable medical advancements, the good ol’ pen-and-paper approach is still widely used.

Not only is this wasteful, it’s wildly inefficient. People just aren’t getting the information they need. Put simply, folks in the field need a better way to get access to the same info, to operationalize.

Solution: All parties involved in health care should be able to exchange the information among themselves securely. There needs to be more of a streamlined process for patients, consumers, providers and payees to get the information they need, when they need it.

Technology can help with data-analytics technologies and apps focused on this very thing. Using cloud-based data management systems, for example, is one possible solution that has the potential to diminish, or even solve the gaps and blips caused by the traditional pen-and-paper way of managing data. This method allows for the quick, complete and secure transfer of data. Sharing is caring, guys.

3. Cyberattacks On the Rise

Problem: Health care is a huge target for cyberattacks, and it’s getting worse. There’s a ton of patient information out there, and without proper security, it’s ripe for the stealing. The Journal of the American Medical Association stated recently that annual health data breaches increased 70 percent over seven years with 75 percent of breaches being classified as a “hacking or IT incident.”

According to SWC, the health-care industry is especially vulnerable to cybercrime due to three primary reasons:

  • Valuable data in Electronic Health Records (EHRs).

  • Health care’s lack of IT investment & end user training.

  • Highly connected systems.

Health-care data, in its various formats, is spread across the three P’s: payers, providers and …

… patients. It could be in the form of clinical data from EHRs, billing or enrollment data. Because these systems are so highly connected, hackers can easily slip in and gain access to a private practice or hospital’s financial, administrative and clinical information in one fell swoop. The worst part is that because of the sheer amount of data generated and stored on a daily basis, it could take ages to even detect the breach.

Solution: It’s vital to protect an individual’s privacy when storing, processing or transmitting protected health information (PHI) and ensure HIPAA & HITRUST compliance. How? Providers must modernize an organization’s infrastructure by moving to the cloud (the cloud is more secure than on-premises — I know, shocking).

It’s also important to develop a threat-based cybersecurity plan to strengthen one’s security posture and protect against attacks. Because many organizations don’t have the IT staff or expertise to monitor and provide around-the-clock support, this is where MSPs can step in.

About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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