December 12, 2018
Many hospitals are undertaking major transformations of their technical support functions, according to a brand new study by Black Book Research. What’s the urgency about? Poor support quality…sub-par results that are reportedly even worse than last year’s dismal numbers. Sixty percent of hospital IT leaders say that EHR vendors and third party outsourcers are falling short of tech support expectations.
How is this phenomenon impacting patient care? What are the reasons for such inferior support? And, what steps are hospitals taking to receive the results they need?
Remarkably, at the same time EHR vendors have been counting on outstanding customer experience as a primary driver of competitive advantage, many are failing to provide even average support. According to the Black Book report, hospital IT managers would prefer that their EHR vendors provide tech support, as opposed to their hospitals providing it internally or outsourcing it. But in the absence of satisfactory tech support from EHR vendors, many hospitals are employing third-party outsourcers to fill the void.
This solution has worked in some cases, but unfortunately not in most. Eighty-eight percent of clinicians reported that patient care delivery is continually impeded by inadequate tech support by outsourcers, up ten percent from last year. Eighty-one percent of hospitals employing third-party outsourcing tech support are significantly dissatisfied with the level of response and overall service in the twelve months following go-live.
Why is excellent technical support so elusive?
Unfortunately, hospitals have inadvertently been knocking their heads against several obstacles that are often built into an EHR vendor or support outsourcer’s operations or overall business model. As a result, many partnerships are destined to falter or even fail from the get-go.
Enter the clinical service desk.
The hospital IT support firms that are most effective typically offer a “clinical service desk” component to remedy the above problem. This is “Tier 1-Plus” support…first call resolution on clinically-oriented steroids.
A relatively new concept, CSD is specifically designed for physicians and other clinicians to get first call resolution for all IT issues, including clinical systems usage issues. In other words, a physician doesn’t have to wait in a queue to get his call answered, and doesn’t go through a T1, 2, and 3 rigmarole that can take hours and sometimes days. Here’s how CSD works:
Frustrated hospitals are making tech support changes in 2019.
Hospital chief medical officers surveyed by Black Book will apply new requirements in EHR procurements for multi-level tech support ranging from vendors’ health records to basic help desk through engineering interventions; these requirements will be a leading competitive inpatient EHR differentiator.
If hospitals are not moving to a new EHR and are unhappy with their vendor’s tech support, they will continue to search for third-party outsourcers, albeit better-qualified ones. Hospitals that are currently using an unsatisfactory outsourcer will look for a better one. A decreasing number of hospitals will rely on in-house technical support. “The increasing complexity of healthcare technology has made it even harder for an in-house help desk team, especially in small and medium-sized communities to have sufficient expertise to meet all of an organizations’ tech support needs,” said Doug Brown, Managing Partner of Black Book.
One of the greatest benefits of large studies, in this case a vendor-independent survey of 4,400 technology support users, is the opportunity to take advantage of lessons they have learned. Healthcare tech support is on the cusp of change. As healthcare technologies evolve and improve, more hospitals are finding that they must move to a more holistic support infrastructure that better meets all users’ needs. With a lot less frustration.
Please contact us if you would like to discuss Phoenix’ #1 ranked hospital IT outsourcing services. We know how to do it right, and all of our hospital clients agree.