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HIT Outsourcing Remains Significant Despite Recent Dissatisfaction

As organizations grow dissatisfied with their HIT outsourcing tools they still see the benefits they offer for ROI and technical staff availability.

HIT outsourcing

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- A new Black Book survey highlights the benefits of HIT outsourcing for infrastructure solutions rather than hosting, monitoring, and maintaining them on-premises.

Healthcare organizations are looking to cloud-based, as-a-service infrastructure to cut back on their technology costs and the staff necessary for onsite monitoring and maintenance.

The survey focused on EHR outsourcing and polled 1,587 users of IT outsourcing solutions. Respondents included 807 hospital CIOs and 89 CFOs. They provided feedback on their partnerships with outsourcing to EHR vendor’s as-a-service options.

The survey found that healthcare organizations are becoming less satisfied with their outsourcing experience. However, their dissatisfaction does not discourage them from outsourcing.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that they expect their usage of IT outsourcing to continue at current levels through 2019, and 34 percent think there will be an increase in IT outsourcing over the next two years.

The survey reported that Cerner Corporation was the top EHR among complex outsourcing solutions with only seven EHR vendors out of 68 receiving an “exceeds expectations” grade. This result is down from the 2015 survey where 17 vendors that were previously rated as “superior” were “slipping” in 2017.

Forty-one percent reported that their outsourcing partners “met expectations” and 39 percent stated that their outsourcing experience had “fallen below expectations.”

The majority of organizations reported that their dissatisfaction came from their IT managers did not have enough experience to effectively manage their outsourced solution.

An additional 11 percent said that they either no longer or never outsource because they want to keep their data on-premises to have more control over their applications.

Despite the general dissatisfaction of outsourcing partners compared to previous years, organizations are not discouraged and the majority will continue to use outsourcing because of its financial benefits.

Eighty-four percent confirmed that they saw an increase in efficiencies and reduced costs from outsourcing that supports their digitization initiatives. This outsourcing included hosting mission-critical applications and patient data, including EHRs.

Eighty-one percent stated that the ROI was enough to keep their outsourcing partner. Seventy-three percent said that immediate access to trained staff and needed technology were their primary reason for outsourcing.

The demand for experienced IT staff is high as more advanced IT infrastructure tools are introduced into an organization’s ecosystem and more entities are competing for IT administrators sufficiently skilled to manage on-premise IT infrastructure.

There are a limited number of admins and developers with the right experience which makes the competition for these employees very high. Many organizations are looking to cut back on IT spending and can’t afford to compete with other organizations for staff.

According to a Harvey Nash survey conducted late last year, CIOs continue to employ IT staff on a full-time basis, however, they have begun to explore and test the benefits of adding contingent employees to their IT staff. Twelve percent of respondents sourced half or more of their staff from flexible or contingent contracts.

“There does appear to be steady growth in the number of IT leaders using flexible contingent labor for more than half of their technology team,” survey analysts found. “Since 2011 this highly contingent-orientated community has grown by 33 percent. IT leaders have been increasingly looking at outsourcing as a means of accessing skills and capability compared to the more traditional view of outsourcing to save costs. As project demands grow, the contingent labor force is probably the fastest way to train people on board.”

Outsourcing to and as-a-service based tool gives organizations access to experienced IT staff that knows the tool well whose service is included in what they are paying for the solution. Despite organizations being less satisfied with their outsourcing, the benefits are still significant. 

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