How to Launch Managed IT Services in Healthcare the Right Way

Article Summary

Tech-Enabled Managed Services Data and Analytics (TEMS D&A) helps healthcare institutions and medical sites address compounding labor challenges by cutting costs and facilitating a wide range of improvements in the financial, operational, and quality care realms. This approach also prioritizes the well-being of employees in the near and long term. This article delves into how health systems should seek a managed IT services partner with industry experience, customization, and a proven track record for optimal outcomes.

Professional woman and man overlooking tablet device for managed IT services.

Outsourcing in healthcare has become a necessary solution to address resource shortages and difficulties in hiring and retaining high-quality staff, particularly for managed IT services. Indeed, the healthcare industry is evolving with greater access to data analytics for value-driven improvements.

With innovation also comes ongoing challenges of controlling tech-enabled costs, quality, and outcomes amid a tight labor market. While typical outsourcing arrangements bring short-term cost savings, healthcare executives must plan a meaningful transition of employees and roles effectively and without detriment to the company culture.

Selecting a managed IT services partner for outsourcing can be a complex process; however, many leading healthcare systems that consider these decision-making factors have tremendous success in caring for employees while reducing labor costs in the near and long term. 

Ensure Dependable Performance for Managed IT Services

The current healthcare landscape for employers makes securing top talent competitively and with above-market compensation and benefits difficult. Additionally, supplying top-of-license work, specialized professional development, and more career opportunities have become challenging for health systems to offer. These concerns require a strategic partner who can drive governance over organizational change with a solid commitment to outsourcing performance.

An ideal partner will work collaboratively with the healthcare provider organization to align:

  1. Performance metrics and guarantees within the contractual arrangement.
  2. A clear strategy and thorough planning for employee transitions.
  3. Proven track record in dependable performance and employee engagement.

When entering a managed IT services agreement, other factors that each partner must account for include:

  • Size and complexity of the healthcare system or hospital
  • IT budget for the cost of managed IT services
  • Industry experience and expertise of a managed services provider
  • Support availability for transition or service needs
  • Customization of the arrangement
  • Transparency about pricing and services
  • Performance outcomes
  • Open communication with check-ins, audits, and progress reports

With Health Catalyst Tech-Enabled Managed Services Data and Analytics (TEMS D&A), healthcare provider organizations do not need to cut performance, people, or morale to reduce costs. This arrangement yields a measurable value from technology-enabled efficiencies that hospitals achieve through standardization, automation, and consolidation to reduce labor costs, often by 15 to 25 percent.

How to Launch a Successful Outsourcing Managed IT Services Partnership

When assessing outsourcing partners, it is important to consider the healthcare provider organization’s size and complexity of the system to determine the appropriate services. For example, does the organization need basic IT tasks like network monitoring and support? Or are specialized services such as data analytics, program ROI, or security and disaster recovery most important? Deriving these answers to accomplish a successfully managed IT services partnership requires collaboration at multiple levels of the organization and must involve key stakeholders throughout the process.

Through TEMS D&A, Health Catalyst becomes a partner for data reporting and insights specialization. By offering unique skill sets required for population health management and other value-driven care models, clients realize continuous improvements in organizational performance.

Partnership Customization

Healthcare systems have found that TEMS D&A simplifies the management of entire functional areas by consolidating vendors and scaling the partnership scope across the organization. Health Catalyst establishes personalized services to meet specific client needs, as seen in this example with INTEGRIS Health.

INTEGRIS Health struggled to scale up or produce the desired results using its homegrown data and analytics platform. The organization ceased internal efforts to develop a data and analytics platform, embracing the Health Catalyst Data Platform as its source for high-quality data and analytics.

INTEGRIS Health also engaged Health Catalyst’s professional services and utilized the TEMS D&A management team, responsible for developing and delivering the critical data and insights required for continuous improvement. INTEGRIS Health integrated data from seven disparate sources into a secure, scalable, stable platform, ensuring its application data was reusable. As a result:

  • Data is transparent and validated by subject matter experts and operational leaders.
  • High-value data and analytics enabled credible and trusted insights.
  • Leaders could identify improvement opportunities and make data-informed decisions.
  • Team members entrusted the data, relying on it for decision-making and improving performance.

Those results extended to a greater than $3M annual indirect labor cost savings, realized by reducing a duplicative data ecosystem and eliminating the resources required to maintain a homegrown data and analytics platform.

“With the Health Catalyst data and analytics platform, we’re able to capitalize on having disparate data in a curated, well-documented, stable location and data ecosystem—requiring 50 percent fewer people to maintain than when we were building our own platform.”

Lisa Olenski, MBA, Vice President, Continuous Improvement, INTEGRIS Health

Performance Transparency

With a TEMS partnership, healthcare provider organizations can assess partner performance through service-level agreements (SLAs), a shared governance committee, service-level credits, and transparent performance metrics.

Banner Health utilized TEMS chart abstraction services to gather data on over 150 variables for numerous patients, enabling the organization to compare its performance against national standards and enhance processes and patient outcomes. This emphasizes the importance of accurate data abstraction; in collaboration with Health Catalyst, Banner Health aimed to achieve an inter-rater reliability (IRR) of over 90 percent.

By employing the Health Catalyst Data Platform, the organization implemented an abstraction IRR analytics application to meet this objective. As a result, Banner Health now boasts a consistent and scalable IRR process for The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP) and every registry, measure, or abstracted data element of interest.

Banner Health can confidently abstract accurate data to gauge performance and rely on this data to inform improvement efforts. The organization improved IRR efficiency, effectively visualizing the IRR rate and number of abstracted and matched values. These improvements also included:

  • Ninety-three percent inter-rater reliability for all registries—more than 23K abstracted variables.
  • One hundred percent of abstractors receive peer review and feedback through the IRR process.
  • Scalable, efficient, accurate IRR process that can be applied to every registry.

“The IRR analytics application further increases our confidence in the high-quality data abstracted by Health Catalyst, enabling us to use the data for both reporting and improvement.”

Nirav Patel, MD, FACS, Medical Director of Surgical and Procedural Services, Banner Health

Outcomes Measures

TEMS D&A also enables the healthcare organization to gain efficiency and scalability of reporting, assess quality and speed of analytics, measure adoption and usability of data, and progress towards high-value analytics.

In another example of applying the TEMS D&A framework, Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance (BSWQA) wanted to quantify its care management programs’ financial impact and success but lacked the necessary data and strategy.

Identifying an appropriate control group was a barrier, limiting the ability to evaluate and quantify the ROI. As a result, the care management team struggled to articulate the complete value of its program offerings. To determine the financial impact of its care management programs, BSWQA leveraged its analytics platform and TEMS D&A.

The organization performed a propensity score matching analysis to evaluate the difference in outcomes and costs for patients receiving care management interventions compared to like-type patients in a control group who did not receive care management interventions.

For the first time, BSWQA can evaluate the financial impact of its care management programs, calculating the true ROI and shared savings impact. The organization was able to use propensity score matching and the robust data from its analytics platform to confirm the following:

  • $30M in estimated annual savings over five years.
  • Seventy percent less utilization for commercial members receiving inpatient transition outreach.
  • Sixty-three percent less in annual spending for Medicare patients receiving outreach from the proactive care team.

“The robust data in our analytics platform enabled us to use propensity score matching to create appropriate cohorts and evaluate the effectiveness of our care management programs. Leaders now have greater insight into the ROI and can make informed resource allocation decisions to improve patient outcomes and organizational performance.”

Adam Geller, Analytics Developer, Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance

Choosing a Dependable Managed IT Services Partner to Overcome Labor Challenges

In summary, TEMS D&A enables:

  • Access to specialized expertise,
  • Cost-effective labor strategies,
  • Enhanced innovation in data and analytics,
  • Opportunities for team members to collaborate and advance in their careers and
  • The ability to focus on core healthcare activities while experts manage the data and analytics infrastructure.

In conclusion, selecting a managed IT services partner for healthcare organizations requires careful consideration and evaluation of various factors. From continuous support to a proven track record of quality service, the chosen provider must offer the necessary assurances to maintain employee engagement throughout the outsourcing arrangement.

Furthermore, customization, transparency, and performance outcomes are essential components to consider when establishing a partnership. Industry experience and expertise in data quality requirements, employment demands, and cost needs also play significant roles in making the right choice. By prioritizing these criteria, healthcare providers can ensure a successful and beneficial outsourcing managed IT services relationship that meets their specific needs and requirements in today’s increasingly digital landscape.

Additional Reading

Would you like to learn more about this topic? Here are some articles we suggest:

Can Healthcare Outsourcing Rescue Hospitals from Labor Challenges that Underpin Their Financial Struggles? Part 1: The Struggle

Can Healthcare Outsourcing Rescue Hospitals from Labor Challenges that Underpin Their Financial Struggles? Part 2: The Struggle

Tech-Enabled Managed Services: Smartsourcing Clinical Data Abstraction Reduces Costs and Improves Value

A Look at the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) 2024 Final Rule

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