The healthcare industry is undergoing a massive digital transformation. From electronic health records (EHRs) to telemedicine, healthcare organizations leverage information technology to improve patient care, enhance efficiency, and reduce costs. Yet, selecting, implementing, and optimizing new healthcare IT systems can be daunting for many medical practices. This is where healthcare IT consulting firm comes in.
Healthcare IT consultants help healthcare providers navigate the complex IT landscape. They provide valuable services in selecting software systems, managing implementations, optimizing workflows, training staff, and realizing maximum value from IT investments. As medical practices seek to thrive in the era of value-based care, precision medicine, and patient engagement, partnering with a health IT consulting firm has become critical.
Selecting New Software Systems
Upgrading practice technology starts with choosing new software tools and applications. However, with hundreds of fragmented point solutions on the market, identifying the right ones can be extremely challenging for medical groups. Healthcare IT consultants add immense value by thoroughly evaluating a practice's needs, vetting potential systems, and providing tailored recommendations.
They start by deeply understanding the practice's objectives, workflows, infrastructure, and budget. What clinical, financial, or operational goals does the practice aim to achieve? How complex are existing workflows and documentation needs? What systems and platforms are already in place? What budget is available for new investments?
With answers to these strategic questions, consultants establish a framework to evaluate software options. They thoroughly assess various systems based on features, integration abilities, implementation complexity, ongoing support needs, and acquisition/subscription costs. Healthcare IT consultants leverage their extensive market experience with hundreds of medical software solutions to quickly narrow down a tailored shortlist of recommendations.
For instance, consultants may help a large multi-site medical group identify a scalable, enterprise-grade cloud-based EHR platform that unifies back-end patient data and workflows across all locations. Or they could guide a specialty practice to pick a modern patient portal that aligns with their objectives for higher patient engagement and seamlessly integrates with their existing clinical suite. Read more about selecting the right healthcare IT partner for your medical practice at Empeek.
Managing IT Implementations
The software implementation process is a monumental undertaking filled with potential pitfalls. This is another area where experienced healthcare IT consultants provide immense value. They leverage best practices to develop comprehensive project plans that guide practices smoothly through system rollouts.
The implementation planning process is extensive. Consultants establish detailed timelines mapping out all pre-deployment, go-live, and post-live activities. They define major milestones and interdependencies in software installation, data migration, workflow analysis, form building, customized configuration, user training, testing, and go-live preparation.
Experienced consultants anticipate likely challenges associated with integrations, data transfers, workaround requirements, or added customizations. They build appropriate time cushions into the project plan to avoid unnecessary delays during the rollout process.
The implementation phase is when the rubber meets the road. Consultants oversee the intricate technical details during system configuration, testing, and troubleshooting. They also manage practice expectations regarding workflow changes and documentation required to harness maximum value from the new software. Consultant project managers communicate clearly on progress and upcoming milestones throughout the implementation journey.
Go-live represents the moment of truth. Consultants work closely with practices to validate data transfers, provide elbow-to-elbow end-user support, and rapidly address any surface issues to minimize productivity disruptions. Some medical IT consulting firms even offer full IT department resourcing and staff augmentation services during deployments. This enables doctors and clinical staff to focus completely on delivering patient care.
An EHR or practice management software implementation provides a pivotal launchpad for transforming workflows through technology. However, many practices struggle to effectively reengineer processes to maximize software utilization and achieve efficiency gains. This is where healthcare IT consultants add unique value through organizational change management.
Consultants dive deeply into current workflows to map out enhancements for the new system. They work closely with all end users – doctors, nurses, front desk staff, billers — to analyze existing workflows, identify bottlenecks and frustrations, eliminate redundant steps, and modify documentation practices. The goal is to lean out the workflow to enhance productivity.
Healthcare IT consultants then utilize the tools and automation capabilities intrinsic to the new software to develop redesigned future-state workflows. This may involve building specialized point-of-care templates to streamline clinical documentation, configuring rules-based automation for billing processes, or creating patient outreach tools.
Consultants also develop KPI dashboards tied to the practice's strategic goals, whether clinical, financial, or operational. Tracking key metrics enables groups to monitor progress and quantify gains from the optimized workflows.
The workflow transformation methodology provides immense value. Healthcare IT consultants utilize their cross-industry insights to share creative best practices that practices can be customized within their new software system to drive efficiencies. The workflow enhancements translate directly into measurable improvements — from reduced claim denial rates to higher patient satisfaction scores — creating bigger clinical and financial wins from the IT investment.
Providing Ongoing Training and Support
Sustaining user adoption is vital for long-term IT success. Healthcare IT consultants strengthen utilization by providing ongoing training resources. They develop tip sheets, quick reference guides, webinars, and lunch-and-learns tailored to different staff roles when rolling out new systems. The extended help desk for post-live application assistance is one of the most popular healthcare IT consulting services.
Additionally, consultants continuously update clients on evolving IT tools, marketplace trends, and system enhancement opportunities. They essentially serve as ongoing strategic advisors, maximizing returns from IT investments over their entire lifecycle.
The evolving role of healthcare IT consultants provides tremendous value to medical groups striving for clinical and financial transformations. Their offerings now span well beyond just EHR implementations. Leading healthcare software consulting firms provide advisory services across the entire IT spectrum – from data analytics to cybersecurity, patient engagement to population health management, and cloud migrations to virtual care solutions. They give practices much-needed guidance to continuously elevate performance amidst rapidly accelerating technological disruptions in healthcare.
In summary, partnering with healthcare IT consulting firms enables modern medical practices to make smart decisions on IT investments, smoothly manage technology transitions, optimize workflows for efficiency, provide ongoing user support, and keep pace with innovation. Healthcare IT consultants empower practices to realize maximum value in enhanced patient outcomes, lower costs, and future sustainability.