Medical Practice It Support is Really Really Scary!

By Bruce Nelson

I don’t often do this, but I wanted to share with you a recent opportunity we lost.  It happens- shockingly we are not always the best fit or the right solution.  However, when we lose because the decision maker is irresponsible and careless with the management of the organization they are hired to protect, it is a story that has to be told.

The opportunity was with a physician practice owned by nine doctors with approximately 40 additional support staff.  Their ultimate goal was to implement additional modules in their EMR systems, which would significantly increase the practitioner’s reliance on the systems.

During the course of discovery, most of the issues identified resulted from a lack of internal IT knowledge and planning.  One of the culprits was determined to be a reliance on the break-fix support method, since it is far more costly to address an issue after its caused downtime.  Everything in the discussion pointed to the need for proactive IT managed services, which would provide the group with actively monitored systems, helpdesk resources, IT planning expertise and backup and disaster recovery solutions.

This is where the story gets interesting (and scary).  We reviewed the issues with the Office Manager, discussed how a managed service solution would control their cost, address the issues and provide them with expertise required to plan out the next phase of the EMR implementation.  At this point we were told in no uncertain terms that was not the model they needed.  What they need was a dedicated resource on our team who could be called at any time and be available to assist with issues as they came up.  Oh, and they would only pay when this happens.

I politely attempted to explain this was the arrangement they currently had, and it was the root cause of the vast majority of their issues.  I again, went through the list of their concerns, and reiterated how a team approach could address those concerns, provided through IT managed services.  At that point they responded “Well you can propose whatever you want but I won’t go that route.  I can hire a computer whiz kid for half the price.” Of course, they held firm and hired (independent consultant) that computer whiz kid.

Imagine this, physicians who have spent their career developing their skills, building their practice and creating lasting relationships with their patients – have now allowed the Office Manager to hire a computer whiz kid.  This individual now has the proverbial keys to the kingdom.  Full access to the network, patient information, financial information.  You name it, he has access to it.  What do you think the chances are the whiz kid has any professional credentials or insurances? Who monitors what he is doing and when he is doing it?  The answer is no one, and this practice now has exposure like they can’t even image.

The rest of the story remains to be told but unfortunately I have a pretty good idea how it ends.