Managing expenses is one of the core tasks of any business owner or manager. Nothing is free, so you need to know what’s coming in and what you’re paying out. But to run operations profitably, you might find yourself having to prioritize your expenses. When you do that, what gets bumped up-front and what gets pushed to the back? A mistake that many businesses make is to give IT a lower priority. Rather than reduce their IT costs, this often increases expenses.
In this blog, we’ll use medical offices to demonstrate the reasons for low priority on company IT budgets and the consquences.
Why Such a Low Priority?
Many types of businesses think nothing of dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars on diagnostic machines or specialty equipment. However, they drag their feet when it comes to upgrading outdated computer terminals. In all honesty, this shouldn’t come as a big surprise as CEO’s often have an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. After all, how often have you been to a doctor’s office and have seen an exremely old scale?
Imaging systems and other medical equipment offer tangible benefits to physicians when caring for their patients. Some can’t see the point of upgrading a computer system that can still do the job. Additionally, and we’re just being frank here, new medical equipment can often mean more money in the pocket of the practice. Updating the reception desk terminals doesn’t seem to offer any real profit.
That being said, there are other reasons for not wanting to upgrade other than just dollars and cents. For instance, finding good HIPAA compliant hardware or software can be difficult. As a result, upgrading can be a nightmare, especially when the current system that’s being used was installed decades ago.
The High IT Costs of Low Budgets
With many types of investments, including IT purchases, the less you pay upfront, the more you’ll pay in the future. In the example mentioned above of the old scale, as long as it’s accurate, age doesn’t matter. But if you’re running older computer systems that don’t have modern safety protocols, your system is exceptionally vulnerable to attacks.
While hackers wanting to steal credit card numbers is no surprise, what is surprising is the apparent value of medical records being sold inside the dark web. HHS’ Office for Civil Rights reports a 59% year-over-year increase in these sorts of attacks, with much of it blamed on outdated systems and hardware. Not only is it difficult for the patients whose privacy has been violated, but it also opens up these healthcare providers to a sea of liability.
In addition to security risks, you may also face the risk of being left behind. Patients are now treated at a higher level of service than ever before. For instance, who ten years ago could have ever dreamt of a world where you could receive your test results at the same time your doctor does, on your phone? These and many other services can be provided via patient portals, which are a major example of how the future is now alive in healthcare. A significant emphasis has been made making patients and doctors partners and the only way to do this is by easy access to information.
Lastly, modern IT just makes everything move faster. The fewer resources that are dedicated to non-medical tasks, the better and faster your patients can be cared for. This happens when you reduce time needed to do things like billing, insurance claims, scheduling and other managerial tasks.
Modern Solutions to Modern Challenges
Even with clear benefits, it is still a challenge to acquire, implement, and maintain a modern IT solution for your operation. It is a major undertaking to know what will work best for you with so many options at so many price levels.
That’s where a quality Managed Service Provider comes into play. MSPs work well with healthcare organizations since we do all the IT work for you. It allows you to get back to taking care of your patients. We work with your needs and budget to see what will make your office run at top efficiency.
We don’t work only with healthcare organizations. All businesses can benefit from the support of an MSP. Contact our team for a free consultation.