Managed Services for Healthcare Applications and Cloud Infrastructure

TABLE OF CONTENTS

What are managed services?

Is managed services the same as outsourcing?

10 Problems solved by managed services

Key terms and definitions

Most common types of managed services

Why are managed services a good fit for healthcare?

Application managed services for healthcare organizations

Managed service offerings for optimizing operations

IT operations is a continuous process that requires time and resources. Managed services can help organizations free up their technical talent from support and maintenance of healthcare applications and cloud infrastructure. The IT teams can then focus on work that matters the most—innovation and business growth. Organizations also get to predictably manage costs while achieving improved efficiency and user satisfaction.

What are managed services?

Managed services facilitate the delegation of a business’s support and maintenance operations—such as hosting applications, setting up relevant security measures, and maintaining the cloud infrastructure—to third-party service providers who specialize in handling these responsibilities. Known as managed service providers (MSPs), these third-party organizations can manage and maintain entire IT functions, business applications, or parts of them. 

The extent to which a business would rely on managed services can be specified in the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and governs the nature of services offered. The SLAs are tailored to the organization’s unique needs and provide flexible service models.

In most managed services arrangements, a business owner sources the IT equipment and setup and then outsources its management and upkeep to a managed service provider. Based on the agreed-upon terms, an MSP may offer services like issue resolution, reporting, round-the-clock monitoring, cybersecurity needs, VoIP solutions, and backup recovery, among others. These MSPs, typically, charge a flat fee for the service offered over a specified period. This helps to lower labor costs and also eliminate the cost of hiring new IT staff.

Is managed services the same as outsourcing?

Managed services are not synonymous with outsourcing. While it’s true that both these models entail hiring third-party service providers, that’s as far as the similarities go. The scope of work for outsourced and managed services is markedly different.

Outsourcing firms provide specific services that cater to narrowly defined tasks and business processes. With outsourcing, you cherry-pick specific, often unimportant, tasks that you would like third-party organizations to help with. On the other hand, managed services take on a far more holistic and proactive approach for improving the efficiency of business processes through excellent IT services.

As such, the solutions offered by MSPs are comprehensive. A large team of skilled IT and software development professionals is involved in operations, consistently improving end-user experience through operations support and enhancement of existing IT services and software applications.

10 Problems solved by managed services

The team of professionals accessed through managed services brings a sense of ownership and control in addressing these ten common problems:

1. Cybersecurity:

MSPs can configure firewalls properly, access management solutions, administer identity, and ensure data security in the cloud.

2. Experience:

MSPs bring in a wealth of experience on multiple fronts that in-house IT teams, in most cases, cannot match. By partnering with an MSP, organizations can assess IT expenditures, not worry about maintaining operational readiness and successfully implement elaborate and current security policies.

3. Mobility:

With the workforce increasingly operating remotely, security challenges have grown manifold.  Security measures enabled by MSPs can help bring mobility-the ability to allow people to use their own devices securely outside of walled office locations.

4. Costs:

Managed IT services also save costs and time due to their scalability, helping healthcare organizations cut costs by up to 40%. With MSPs, businesses gain access to top-notch IT support at a significantly reduced cost.

5. Data backup:

MSPs can employ effective processes for backing up crucial data and offer support for its recovery in case of a crisis.

6. Machine support:

From desktop devices to virtual data servers, managed services can take over the routine tasks of offering machine support. This frees up your in-house tech resources, allowing them to focus on tasks that can add value to business operations.

7. Help desks:

With managed services, you no longer have to dedicate human resources to handle user queries and concerns. Instead, MSPs can set up virtual or on-site help desks to make sure no query goes unanswered.

8. Vendor management:

As ironic as it sounds, a third-party organization can prove to be the solution for streamlining vendor management. They can serve as a single point of contact between business and vendors, freeing up in-house personnel from this task.

9. Standards:

MSPs adhere to key standards such as PCI compliance, a prerequisite for IT operations in finance, healthcare, and education industries. This mitigates risk while keeping IT operations up-to-date with the latest technologies, strategies, processes, and information.

10. Task Management:

MSPs reduce repetitive operational tasks, redirecting resources to augment tech capabilities. With a 4.2 million gap in IT jobs, partnering with third-party experts becomes an urgent need to cut back downtime and minimize performance issues.

Key terms and definitions

Familiarize yourself with some terms and definitions used in the context of managed services to make an informed choice:

  • Agent: A program that allows MSPs to remotely gather information about machines and IT systems, aiding in their management, upgrades, and issue resolution.
  • BDR: Backup and disaster recovery (BDR) is a combination of data backup and disaster recovery solutions that help keep an organization’s systems functional even in the face of a crisis.
  • Managed IT services: A third-party organization fulfilling IT tasks and managing processes.
  • Fully managed IT services: Managed services coupled with a Network Operations Center to enable proactive monitoring of systems, issue resolution, and enhanced performance outcomes.
  • MDM: Mobile device management (MDM) entails security platforms deployed to monitor, secure and manage employees’ devices such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops.
  • SLA: Service-level agreement (SLA) is a contract between an MSP and a client that specifies the scope of managed services.

Most common types of managed services

Likewise, there are different types of managed services available for organizations of all sizes:

Application managed services:

This entails maintaining applications, digital products, platforms, and the associated technology infrastructure for organizations. 

Managed Networks and Infrastructure:

In this type of IT support service, an MSP typically takes over the network tasks in their entirety, from setting up WAPs, LAN to managing systems, backup, and storage.

Managed Security:

This is a comprehensive security service for remote infrastructure, covering everything from BDR to cybersecurity.

Managed Support Services:

One of the most commonly leveraged services, it covers all IT-related assistance, from troubleshooting to handling advanced issues.

Managed Print Services:

This service type involves remote assistance for print-related data and file infrastructure and is best suited for businesses with complex file management systems.

Managed Cloud Infrastructure:

This is an in-depth service option that covers all cloud infrastructure management needs, from network to storage, computing as well as virtualization services for operating systems, apps, and more.

Managed Software as a Service (SaaS):

The providers offer a subscription-based software platform in this service type.

Managed Wireless and Mobile Computing:

This service type caters to mobile computing and wireless needs, such as offering wireless connections that can be utilized on an organization’s internal networks.

Managed Communication Services:

MSPs offering this service cater to communication infrastructure needs such as VoIP (voice over internet protocol), messaging software, and sometimes, even third-party call centers.

Why are managed services a good fit for healthcare?

From diagnostics to patient management, every aspect of healthcare service today involves software applications and IT  in some form or the other. Consequently, it has resulted in a steady climb in tech-related costs, 90% of which is spent on software maintenance. By collaborating with an MSP, healthcare CIOs and CMIOs can effectively counter this consistent rise in time and money devoted to applications and IT infrastructure upkeep by nearly 30% and divert it to enhance other capabilities.  

Depending on the type of services offered, an MSP can take care of a sizable chunk of non-medical staff operations, serving as a single point of contact for customer support, inventory order placement, accounts management, and more. 

Further, the focus on IT-driven KPIs in healthcare is becoming obsolete. The focus, instead, should be on business-centric KPIs that can help elevate performance and cut costs at the same time. That’s precisely what partnering with an MSP can enable healthcare providers to do.

Below given are few more reasons why healthcare providers must employ managed services solutions:

Ensuring successful cloud migration

With healthcare organizations shifting from legacy systems to electronic health records and software applications, cloud infrastructure can make operations more cost-effective and streamlined. MSPs assist healthcare providers in seamlessly embracing this shift with a successful migration to the cloud and ensuring that essential security and compliance features are part of the system. Managed services are a cost-effective and efficient alternative for a strategic and secure shift to cloud infrastructure.

Improvement in system uptime and application reliability

In terms of optimizing uptime and application reliability, an MSP can fight a two-fronted battle for healthcare organizations: managing application integration, security and speed requirements, and meeting expectations for network availability. This is ensured through elaborate business continuity plans with robust security, operations, and risk-mitigation features in place. 

Addressing compliance requirements

Cyberattacks have grown significantly across the healthcare industry, and IT systems are more vulnerable today.  MSPs help ensure that healthcare organizations’ tech deployments and services are duly assessed, monitored, and evolved per the latest security and HIPPA-compliant protocols. For this, these service providers leverage round-the-clock support, specialized engineers, and industry-specific know-how, in addition to capabilities to pivot to secondary resources in the face of a crisis, thus enabling the smooth delivery of high-quality patient care.

Improvement in customer experience

In recent times, customer experience in healthcare has gone from being a non-existent entity to one of the top priorities. Managed services can help healthcare providers on this front by curating personalized experiences through patient-facing apps that offer access to medical information, treatment options, and more. These can also prove pivotal in breaking down data silos to help derive astute insights to augment this personalized patient care experience. Besides, managed services also enable you to deliver on data transparency, security, and confidentiality expectations.

Application managed services for healthcare organizations

Here is a list of application managed services that healthcare organizations can opt for, either individual managed services or an end-to-end service offering specified by SLA:

Application maintenance and support 

It encompasses a full range of application support and maintenance services for healthcare applications and digital health products. This helps organizations ensure that their applications are highly reliable, accessible, and relevant to business needs. Some of the services include bug fixes and routine maintenance, small enhancements/change requests, full 24/7 support, and SLA-driven delivery to resolve application issues with faster response time. 

Cloud Infrastructure

The in-depth cloud infrastructure management option helps customers maintain a flexible and scalable cloud ecosystem tailored to their needs and business objectives. Some of the services include:

  • Backup and Disaster Recovery-MSPs store critical medical data and business information and facilitate rapid recovery, safeguarding them from natural disasters and outages. This also allows organizations to bring resilience to their functioning and assure growth. 
  • Patch management and version upgrade- Timely and consistent version upgrade and patch management activities to enhance applications with new features and fix security issues. Organizations can focus on other management processes while MSPs keep applications healthy and up-to-date.
  • Compliance and security management- Utilize modern security capabilities and best practices to protect data from unauthorized access and breach. At BTC, We ensure HIPAA and SOC2 compliance in all our projects.
  • Monitoring and notification- Proactively monitor the performance of applications and enable alerts during security incidents to ensure system security.
  • Provisioning and orchestration-  Automated and easy deployment of cloud infrastructure with consistent provisioning of resources to eliminate time-consuming manual processes. 
  • Application performance management- Monitor the overall performance of applications and facilitate testing to detect issues such as slowdowns, load. This helps organizations to ensure their applications meet established expectations and remain stable and scalable. 

Quality Assurance & Testing 

MSPs provide quality assurance and testing services to help healthcare organizations deliver relevant and quality healthcare applications and digital health products to patients. With solid expertise in testing, MSPs can help fix defects and introduce features and integrations to enhance applications. This includes integration and regression testing, testing automation, and security and compliance testing. Organizations also benefit from the end-to-end test automation, meeting the increased pace of release cycles and shorter go-to-market timeframes.

Release management

Effective release management enables organizations to fully utilize resources and development pipelines, and deliver high-impact features in DevOps implementation. MSPs create and enhance continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipelines for improved agility. Release management also empowers developers to meet requirements and make code changes frequently. By building automation wherever relevant, organizations can ensure security and save time for strategic initiatives instead of day-to-day maintenance tasks.

Application Value Management

These services bring dual benefits of improved efficiency and better outcomes. Through MSP’s application value management services, organizations can identify opportunities and generate new ideas for effective healthcare applications and products. This support is further enhanced by assuring continuous quality and performance improvements along with automation.

Managed service offerings for optimizing operations

Whether it is investing in new patient-facing applications or securing sensitive data, MSPs have service offerings that can mitigate unsystematic risks, optimize costs and deliver faster returns on investments.

BTC’s managed service offerings have helped healthcare organizations of varying sizes and structures achieve these goals. 

For instance, SafeDose used BTC’s Managed Services to maintain and support their web-based and mobile-enabled clinical support applications, along with maintenance of associated AWS cloud infrastructure. These applications have several external integrations, including G-Suite, EHR, and CRM systems.

Likewise, the HeroesHealth mobile app built by BTC for UNC Health on the Google Cloud has proved instrumental in creating a singular platform for recording the stress and mental health issues of frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing them with relevant support and care resources instantly. BTC built this application and continues to maintain and support these applications and Google Cloud platform infrastructure.

We offer well-rounded managed services, which include support and maintenance of healthcare mobile, web, and cloud applications, digital health products, and digital health platforms. These services are supported by a full technology stack on mobile, web, cloud (GCP and AWS), IoT, EHR, interoperability, CMS, rules engine products, data analytics, AI, ML, and integration with enterprise applications and SaaS solutions.

These capabilities equip us to support any and all cloud and application management needs, ranging from application maintenance and support to application value management, quality assurance and testing, release management, and environment management.

Check out our managed services for healthcare applications and cloud infrastructure.

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