Harnessing the Power and Potential of Information Technology in Healthcare
Information technology is rapidly becoming a vital part of the healthcare industry. With increased regulations, pressures for a broader sharing of healthcare records, and the availability of incentives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the flow of information within healthcare organizations is becoming a major competitive differentiator and a key component in the quality and costs of healthcare.
Healthcare providers are scrambling to upgrade their Medical Records Systems to meet the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines, and the push to have every American’s health records electronically stored by 2014. The HITECH ACT passed by Congress includes broad guidelines for the “meaningful use” of certified electronic health record systems (EHR). While there are many details still to come, the primary goals of these systems are to help reduce medical errors and to provide faster access to comprehensive patient care records and related medical literature - enhancing diagnostic and treatment procedures by medical personnel.
As the requirements for EMR and EHR systems evolve, and the connectivity of healthcare providers through Health Information Exchanges (HIE) increases, technology and data security will have to be modernized to keep pace, be certified, and meet reimbursement guidelines. This will pose various issues for providers, who today have a disparate mix of hardware and software that impedes information sharing at the most basic level. The fundamental question before health providers today is “how much technology do I need and how long will it sufficiently support my organization before we have to make additional changes or additions?”
At a time when dramatic shifts are occurring in the healthcare industry, it is difficult to answer this question in a definitive manner. Often, many external forces affecting the system configuration are beyond your control, and can change your assumption sets quickly. To safeguard against obsolescence in these situations, and to maximize the return on your investments, flexibility is pivotal. Operating leases can be a viable and cost effective means of providing you with that flexibility while also mitigating risk. “How?” you might ask. Reflecting on the changes in the healthcare industry today, the features of an operating lease that should be most attractive include:
- Technology refreshes or changes can occur as often as necessary during the course of the lease.
- Equipment, and other related costs can be added to the lease when needed rather than expending funds on capacity or technology that might become obsolete before it is needed.
- Options at the end of the lease period provide you with significant flexibility on how best to move forward or dispose of equipment.
- Operating leases are the lowest cost alternative, and allow you greater control over your cash flow during an extended period.
CSC has been working with healthcare providers for many years, and our role is becoming even more important during this period of change and uncertainty in the industry. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and answer any questions that you might have. Please contact us for further information.