Type of IT Support You Want for Your EMR

On my favorite EMR forum, EMR Update, Matt Chase from Medtuity suggested the following pattern for how IT is involved in the EMR implementations he’s been involved in. Here’s what he said (emphasis added):

The characteristic pattern on a new server install is the IT guy comes in, puts the infrastructure in place, comes back in a couple of times over the ensuing 2 weeks and then disappears into the ether for a few years. Once a network is setup properly, it needs surprising little tuning. For example, a facility running Medtuity ~7 years is just now replacing their Windows 200/SQL Server 2000 box (a busy place too. They’ve had their IT people out no more than once per year, I’ll bet, over the last 7 years. Another group with 7 facilities does not even have an IT person on their payroll despite a server at each facility. The important point is to set a server up correctly at the outset.

I’ve seen this pattern first hand with the small clinic implementations I’ve been apart of. Although, I’d say that it’s probably more like 1-2 calls per year and the Merry Christmas phone call in December too. The key really is to make sure the server is setup properly at the outset.

However, what Matt doesn’t highlight is the importance of having the right IT people available for those 1-2 calls per year. It happens so rarely that the clinic goes into a partial state of panic. Having an IT person that can assist you quickly and effectively in that moment of panic is very important.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.

2 Comments

  • John,

    A great post. I totally agree that having the right IT skills at hand is crucial.

    This post of course makes some broad statements about the number of times you need IT support. While that may be the case now moving forward the dependency on technology as the back bone of the business will increase.

    As it increases the reliance on the technology becomes much greater and therefore the cost to the practice profitability when systems are down is also vastly increased.

    If you are reviewing your technology needs don’t just look for an organization that provides support on an hourly basis (break / fix). Consider a managed service.

    The whole point of managed service is that your IT doesn’t break; it gets fixed before it breaks… In the age of increased reliance how much will it cost your practice if your IT goes down for a day? Its a question I doubt many people have asked themselves. Its certainly a significant amount in many cases.

    While a managed service not right for every organization, it may be right for yours and is certainly worth considering.

    Gavin

  • Gavin,
    It was definitely a broad stroke. The point of the blog post is to say that it is possible, but not necessarily that it’s the ideal way for everyone.

    The other element of just having IT help fix things that are broken is that you aren’t implementing new technology that could improve productivity. Something else to consider, but can also be accomplished through consulting at specific intervals. Not to mention a good IT partner who informs you of potential changes.

    I’ll save the managed services idea for a future post. Definitely something that is appropriate for many clinics. It’s like promoting wellness care instead of just treating patients problems.

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