Recently, a study by KLAS, a leading health information technology research company, was published showing that H.I.T. consulting firms are “booming and delivering” thanks in large part to the demand for meaningful use assistance. Hospitals and physician practices cite the need for help with quality measures, reporting, user adoption, software upgrades, and updates as among the top challenges they face with EMR implementations, prompting them to seek external expertise. Of the firms included in the study, most firms performed well and were satisfying healthcare provider expectations. With information like this as well as the many technology demands healthcare facilities face, it is no wonder why many of them are turning to consulting firms to supplement or spearhead their IT projects. There are many benefits of working with consultants; let’s examine some key advantages.
1. Health information technology needs are high and multi-facted– EMR implementations, meaningful use, HIPAA compliance, ICD-10 changes, privacy and security measures, and more are all on the long list of initiatives healthcare IT professionals must deal with today. Any of these tasks alone require a substantial amount of time and expertise to address them effectively, let alone taking them all on at once. When the workload is high and resources are limited, H.I.T. consulting firms can save the day. Outsourcing projects to consulting firms can allow you to complete your H.I.T. projects in a manner that works for your facility and permits you to still work on your own mountain of tasks. You decide which things to contract out and can still be assured that you have competent individuals working on your behalf. This brings us to our next two points…
2. Flexibility– Perhaps you would like to outsource help for the selection of an EMR vendor only, or perhaps you need assistance with your entire IT department. HIT consulting firms allow you the flexibility to select which services you need when you need them. You are able to dictate things including your budgetary restrictions and the amount of staff needed for your projects. Most firms offer short-term, long-term, and permanent placement services, ensuring that every facility can find a solution. If you need assistance in determining what services best meet your needs, consulting firms are able to guide you through the process which can alleviate a great deal of stress. In addition, staffing firms let you decide on whether you would like services to be performed on-site or remotely and what type of schedule you’d like your consultants to utilize (full-time/ part-time).
3. Specialization– With all of the advancements and changes to healthcare technology almost daily, it is near impossible to stay on top of everything at all times. While your IT staff has internal facility responsibilities as well as the obligation to meet industry demands, consulting firms focus exclusively on perfecting HIT services at all times. This one-track focus offers a degree of specialization that healthcare organizations can benefit from. Consulting firms have experts in all areas from different roles (trainers, project managers, builders, etc.), to areas of practice (Epic, NextGen, McKesson, etc.), to meaningful use attestation and reimbursement, to workflow assessments. In addition, using consulting firms can ensure that your workforce has the certifications and education necessary to successfully complete projects.
4. Large candidate pool– Consulting firms are in the “people business.” It is their job to locate qualified professionals to send out on into the field. This constant recruitment means that the companies have access to H.I.T. talent that your facility might not otherwise identify. In addition, consulting firms manage their professionals. They are responsible for verifying their education, credentials and backgrounds before they start working for you, eliminating a costly and timely part of the hiring process.
5. Hiring headaches vanish– If you desire, most HIT consulting firms handle identifying, screening, and placing candidates at your facility. You are still able to give direction on the kinds of candidates you are looking for and the stipulations surrounding the work conditions, but staffing firms can instantly remove the difficult task of finding and interviewing professionals. The talent is simply delivered to you ready to work, which can be a huge advantage.
6. Cost savings– We have mentioned it earlier, but cost savings is a very notable benefit of working with consulting firms. The cost savings spans many areas, including reducing hiring costs, maintaining productivity by allowing your current internal workforce to keep working on important projects, offering remote services, and only paying for the amount of staff you need for the exact time you need it rather than taking on the costs associated with a permanent, full-time employee. When compared to what you would spend to recruit, train, and compensate internal new hires, consulting firms can offer you an abundance of savings.
The list of benefits for working with an HIT consulting firm can go on and on, but the points listed above are among the most prominent advantages. Remember, if you do decide to turn to consultants, it is essential to still put time and research into determining which firm is best for you. You should be comfortable with their previous experience, cost-structure, available candidates, areas of expertise, and overall business model. You should also always be clear about your expectations and project demands. Should you find a company that works, it can be an outstanding achievement. As one CFO from the KLAS study stated regarding EMR implementations, “We were struggling to do the implementation ourselves, and I ultimately bit the bullet and hired [our firm] to come in and help us get our act together. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my professional career.”
HIT Consulting Services and HIT Jobs
Excite Health Partners is pleased to offer HIT consulting services to clients nationwide. Contact us today at 877-803-5804 or visit us online for more information. Are you an H.I.T. consultant looking for a new position? Contact us today at 877-803-5804 or visit us online for more information about available opportunities.