Despite heroic efforts, health systems are facing ever-increasing IT challenges, complexity and the need to react quickly to market dynamics that are changing daily. Health system leaders who already felt the odds were stacked against them were then thrown the COVID-19 curveball that threw things further into turmoil.
One ray of light that can be extracted from the year of COVID-19 is that working remotely and utilizing third-party partnerships could, in many cases, be a solution to some of the issues health systems are facing.
As certain partnerships have proven extremely beneficial, healthcare leaders can begin to see a new business model emerging that is opening the door to new ways of partnering with firms that can help relieve some of the workload and even increase productivity.
Healthcare IT leaders face a continuous challenge to align their staff and find a balance between necessary “keep the lights on” work and high-value strategic initiatives. Managed Services can be a strong offense against a volatile labor market.
All too often a senior analyst, for example, is focused on a strategic project but also needs to keep up with regular support tickets, therefore diminishing the real value the role should bring to the organization. This is where a Managed Services support model can be a perfect solution—ranging from ticket resolution, back-end reporting support or customer facing interactions. Implementing Managed Services solutions around discrete needs today will enable organizations to scale efficiently in the future.
There are some common myths that may hold healthcare organizations back from getting started with Managed Services, so here are 5 you shouldn’t believe and why.
Myth #1 – If you use Managed Services, you will outsource control.
TRUTH: Many people think Managed Services is analogous with outsourcing, but it is not. For the many IT leaders managing multiple competing priorities, it is important to think of Managed Services as “task level” resourcing. Once it is viewed through that lens, it is much easier to identify relevant projects and free up internal resources to focus on higher value-added activities.
In-house leadership should always retain control of quality and outcomes. This can be ensured by having an Engagement Manager role (as part of the Managed Services solution) who is responsible for accelerating and broadening management. Instead of having a team of 7 consultants where an internal leader has to communicate expectations with each individual, an Engagement Manager streamlines communication and performance management consistent with agreed upon Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
Myth #2 Managed Services are too expensive.
TRUTH: When comparing managed services to an internal team, the hard costs may or may not be more expensive depending on size and scope, but they are almost always going to be less costly than staff augmentation.
Managed Services provide a nice middle ground — a third-party is focused on very specific tasks, but without the high per-resource hourly rate.
Beyond hard cost savings, the true savings organizations realize is in the opportunity costs of not being able to execute on larger initiatives. Instead of needing to bring in additional consultants for strategic projects, organizations can now have the people who know the organization the best—their staff—and can drive those endeavors.
Myth #3 The Managed Services project has to be huge.
TRUTH: When organizations think of Managed Services, it is generally thought of as a big team of 20-plus. But rather than focusing on headcount, it is really about the type and volume of the tasks being done by the Managed Services team. For example, if an organization is focused on working through a backlog of reports a few hours a week, this task could be converted into Managed Services project done by a specialized team.
There is no limit to the size of Managed Services projects—from a team as small as 4 individuals to a much larger team where organizations realize greater benefits associated with scale.
Myth #4 Managed Services means employee layoffs.
TRUTH: Historically, the perception of Managed Services meant employee layoffs or reductions in headcount. However, Pivot Point Consulting has seen that deploying Managed Services to handle specific tasks and free up internal staff has reduced the need for outside consultants and staff augmentation, not employees.
Managed Services is a resourcing tool that leads to better strategic alignment while maintaining internal staff headcount. Managed Services partners assume the repetitive, but necessary, tasks to “keep the lights on” while freeing up internal staff to focus on their core competencies.
Myth #5 Managed Services is only for managing support tickets.
TRUTH: A scalable resourcing model like Managed Services can create significant, immediate value in big areas such as patient, provider and end user support. Pivot Point Consulting has also seen tremendous success and opportunities for growth with clients using Managed Services for reporting and data analytics.
In 2020, healthcare organizations were slammed with COVID-19 patient inquiries and scheduling, and there will be more instances where organizations will need to be able to address new patient interactions at scale. Managed Services can effectively be the face of an organization for help desk, application and portal support, scheduling and other patient communications that require live support.
As the predominant consumers of healthcare begins to shift from baby boomers to Gen X and Y who are more tech savvy, this opens more opportunity for expanded uses of chatbots and AI as part of the care delivery model. Future generations are going to shift market demand toward a better patient experience which will introduce new requirements and demands for IT departments. These new demands are often the perfect opportunities for targeted Managed Services resourcing solutions.
Get in the game.
As hockey legend Wayne Gretzky is famous for saying, “You have to skate to where the puck is going to be” and that could not be truer for embracing the future of Managed Services.
How are you positioning your IT department to achieve proper alignment within the organization to ensure “keep the lights on” work is done, as well as strategic initiatives? Additionally, will your department be positioned to be able to learn, adapt, implement and strategize around market changers and shifting demographics? Managed Services serves as a modern, scalable way to support that growth.
Managed Services is about freeing up your specialized resources from ongoing maintenance and repetitive tasks to do the jobs they were hired to do and retain them by providing stimulating professional opportunities.
Pivot Point Consulting is a KLAS-ranked healthcare IT leader who helps healthcare organizations experience the benefits of Managed Services solutions, scale up/down specialized resources as needed and “skate to where the puck is going to be.”
Want to free yourself up to focus on strategy? Contact our managed services experts.
Andy Palmer, Managing Director EHR & Managed Services, has over 14 years of leading EHR implementations, strategic initiatives and community extension projects. He has extensive experience planning, managing and delivering projects across a broad spectrum of healthcare organizations, including academic medical centers, pediatric hospitals and large multi-state organizations. With a specialty in Revenue Cycle IT design, clinical integration and operational workflows, Andy excels at leveraging an EHR’s capabilities and using data to drive strategic decision-making. As the Director of Pivot Point Consulting’s EHR Practice, he ensures the highest quality consultants are partnered with every organization.
Matt Curtin, Sr. Director, Strategic Growth, is a Health Strategy & Solution specialist responsible for executive relationship management, complex engagement architecture, strategic partnership leadership and delivery alignment. He also focuses on macro industry trend alignment, best practice identification and organizational capabilities. Matt leads Pivot Point Consulting’s industry relationships with KLAS and HIMSS.
Pivot Point Consulting’s Strategic Growth division includes Advisory Services, Solution Architecture, Strategic Partnerships and Enterprise Services and is charged with crafting new solutions, creating unique client partnerships and fostering emerging best practices.