As IT systems have grown in importance in the health care sector, hospitals and other care providers are now grappling with the question of how to best leverage these resources. This is a major challenge. Health IT initiatives, from electronic health records (EHRs) to Web portals and beyond, require significant expertise and experience to yield effective results while protecting data and meeting all relevant compliance regulations. Any shortcomings in this area can lead to dissatisfied patients, worse outcomes, data breaches, increased costs and more.

Given all of this, it should come as no surprise that health care providers are increasingly opting to embrace IT outsourcing. As a recent report from TechNavio revealed, the global Health Care IT outsourcing market is on pace to experience tremendous growth in the coming years.

Outsourcing Increasing
The TechNavio report examined the global health care IT outsourcing market for the period stretching from 2015 through 2019. According to this research, this market is set to experience a compound annual growth rate of more than 9 percent during this time.

“The global health care IT outsourcing market will see a 9.2% CAGR from 2015-2019.”

There are many factors driving this trend toward greater IT outsourcing. Among the most notable, as one TechNavio researcher explained to Research and Markets, is the rise of cloud computing technology.

“Cloud adoption in the health care industry is on the rise, owing to the need to minimize the cost of in-house IT infrastructures,” the analyst explained, according to the source.

With the cloud, hospitals can turn to managed services providers to handle the bulk of their IT infrastructure, greatly reducing the burden on these organizations’ own IT staffs.

Further pushing health care providers to embrace outsourced IT solutions, according to the report, is the simple fact that IT requirements are rapidly rising. Outsourced options such as the cloud represent a key means for these organizations to meet the accelerating demands while driving down spending and improving security and performance.

One final issue causing health care organizations to pursue IT outsourcing with increasing frequency is the fact that many leaders in this field believe these strategies can address key concerns throughout the industry. More specifically, the report determined that health care service providers are worried about lost revenue resulting from a lack of innovation, underwhelming customer satisfaction levels and poor management, according to Research and Markets. To address these shortcomings, health care providers need to optimize their IT systems, and outsourcing represents a powerful means of achieving this goal.

Wide-ranging IT
The nature of IT outsourcing in the health care sector is exceedingly wide-ranging. As Future Market Initiatives recently explained, the health care IT outsourcing market can be broken into categories based upon either end users or applications. Taken together, these include:

  • EHRs
  • Pharmacy information
  • E-prescriptions
  • Revenue cycle management
  • Hospital inventory management

And many others. This should be seen as further evidence that health IT’s impact continues to grow and expand, affecting virtually every aspect of health care providers’ operations. No longer can IT be seen as its own isolated corner of the organization. Instead, health care providers must factor in IT when strategizing across the enterprise.

Health care and IT can no longer be separated.
Health care and IT can no longer be separated.

Naturally, this is a complex and difficult task. This makes it difficult for health care decision-makers to make the right choices in terms of how to pursue IT solutions and which third parties to partner with, the source explained.

“Due to the diverse number of applications, the market for health care IT outsourcing is highly fragmented, with a large number of core competencies in each organization,” Future Market Initiatives noted. “This trend is also similar and in tandem with the overall IT market. Realizing an IT solution for a complex healthcare problem requires in-depth understanding of the complete system since it requires healthcare experts to work in tandem with the developers.”

All of this makes it imperative for health care providers to work with firms that can deliver both IT outsourcing and consulting services. Such a partner can help a health care provider first recognize its own IT limitations and goals, then develop a strategy which will best account for these unique elements, and finally actually deliver the outsourced IT services themselves. By working closely with health care experts, an IT service provider can help hospitals achieve their full potential in the realm of health IT.