How do you address healthcare’s demand for talented employees with an IT solution? Leverage the right platform.

December 10, 2013
Don Schuett

Right now many organizations are considering BYOD, UC, and Integrated Cloud based solutions with connectors and a host of other software driven workplace tools. These highly effective elements of an ecosystem are critical to a healthy organization but they do not address or reduce the demand for IT talent.

In the past 15 years the trend was to outsource, near-shore, rebadge or spin-off IT employees to focus on core competencies. The success of those decisions as judged by actual cost savings, efficiency improvement, standing in the community and continued utilization of those models has been mixed at best. Management overhead and change orders have added cost and increased IT cycle times thereby negatively impacting both the bottom line and overall efficiency. As a result many organizations are bringing IT back in-house. So the right platform must address those lessons learned.as well as the infrastructure.

Healthcare needs to take an in-depth look at the retail datacenter model — which delivers Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) with services that address only the routine operational aspects of the solution.

Traditionally, healthcare providers and payers have built their own datacenters, leased wholesale space or looked to their software vendors for hosting as they did in the days of remote mainframe computing. However, these operational models typically force the healthcare organization into less than optimal situations:

· Managing your own datacenter requires you to become physical security experts, facilities engineers, property managers, cable techs and electricians. None of these are core or competitive elements of Healthcare IT. But a failure of any of these disciplines results in major community and HIPAA implications.

· The alternative to managing your own datacenter is to outsource the entire operation. The issues associated with this operational model mirror those listed above associated with outsourcing IT in general.

· Relying on your software vendor to host your critical applications has two major considerations. The first is that you are beholden to the vendor; any change in the environment or need to connect with a complementary application will result in high integration costs, long timelines and limited choice. Secondly, these vendors' datacenters grew out of mainframe computing centers and do not offer the same flexibility, connectivity choices, resilience or vision that today's purpose built cloud centers deliver.

The product delivered by today’s retail datacenter operator is uniquely suited to address key aspects of Healthcare IT’s staffing and operational challenges:

· Physical security, access controls, employee vetting, disaster scenario planning and escalations are core to the retail offering thus eliminating the need for healthcare organizations or be security companies or manage security vendors. They are also valuable partners reducing the burden of developing extensive business continuity plans for JCAHO, FEMA and state entities.

· The standard support provided as part of a retail transaction addresses many of the routine aspects of IT operations; electrical and facilities, receiving and inventory, rack and stack, OS and DB setup, physical and virtual provisioning and network connectivity.

· Space is available in sizes that range from single cabinets for network hubs to large private data halls allowing for JIT and demand driven procurement protecting OPEX.

· Connectivity and multiple geographic locations efficiently and economically address the need for regional diversity as a both a hedge against natural disasters and framework for organizational expansion.

The IaaS model finds the rare middle ground where core IT services are still run by the healthcare organization to drive innovation, customer service and improved clinical care. Routine IT services with no competitive upside but great operational risk are moved to an expert where SLAs are delivered without the costs or risks of outsourcing.

About the author: Don Lisco is leads Healthcare Services and Solutions for Telx, a national provider of interconnection rich datacenters. He holds an MBA in the Management of Global Information Technologies from American University and has been part of the Healthcare IT landscape for over 15 years.

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