HITInfrastructure

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Advanced Health IT Infrastructure Tools Reduce Cost

Health IT infrastructure needs to be diligently planned to support successful future digital tools.

health IT infrastructure

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Health IT infrastructure is increasingly vital as more aspects of patient care depend on the support of IT infrastructure tools. The pressure of value-based care adds to the importance of investing in IT infrastructure technology to reduce overall ROI.

Organizations are working more with vendors to figure out how to best apply advanced technology to their IT infrastructure.

A recent GovWin research report advised that vendors help guide organizations through their advanced technology implementations such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning, and predictive analytics.

“Vendors that understand agencies’ current needs and architecture and can articulate the best options for implementation or use of new technologies, will have an advantage,” said report authors.

Vendors must also work with healthcare organizations to ensure that all the technology they are implementing is HIPAA compliant.

The report found that the overall growth of health IT will be driven by investments in the VA, in new EHRs, and the associated network infrastructure needed to support advanced tools.

Healthcare organizations are challenged to make their IT infrastructure more efficient while cutting back costs. Advanced technology will cut back on overall costs in the long-term, but the initial investment can be intimidating.

The introduction of mobile devices into health IT infrastructure calls for the architecture and infrastructure to support them. Telehealth programs are growing and entities need to have the tools to efficiently and securely make connections and share patient data.

Organizations are deploying telehealth programs to cut back on costs associated with patients visiting care providers. These programs also help patients in rural areas get access to care without having to travel.

Patient convenience and cutting back costs are two benefits of telemedicine, but setting up a successful telemedicine program from an infrastructure perspective needs a significant amount of attention.

Organizations need to consider how clinicians and patients are securely connecting to the network remotely. Entities also need to know how strong that connection is to support video streaming and other data intensive telemedicine needs.

Network improvements and data storage are the two most critical IT infrastructure systems that need to be evaluated before expanding.

On-premises servers are expensive and purchasing them to expand a storage environment can’t be taken lightly. This is especially true when existing servers haven’t been fully utilized yet. Servers also take up space, with many organizations not having extra room available to store and run servers.

Entities have two steps in this situation: consolidate servers and move data to the cloud.

Not all data belongs in the cloud and many organizations don’t have the desire to exclusively store their data in the cloud. Healthcare organizations want to keep at least some of their data on-premises.

Organizations need to get the most out of their IT infrastructure technology. Upgrading it starts with examining hardware, software, and the network. However, there is still the question of keeping costs down.

How do entities confront this challenge while keeping the cost within reason?

The advanced technology currently available is a good place to begin planning an upgraded IT infrastructure. Technologies that will improve patient care and workflow are not available to help organizations through their digital transformation.  

As healthcare organizations prepare for their future IT infrastructure they need to thoroughly build a realistic timeline and plan which upgrades will happen first.

Entities need to plan future looking strategies for their IT infrastructure. While advanced technology will save money in the long run, the savings will only be tangible if the tools being implemented are the correct ones for the organization. Future IT infrastructure can only truly save costs if it’s functioning at its highest capacity.

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