Some organizations learn the hard way that technology doesn’t last forever. For healthcare organizations, outdated technology isn’t just an expensive inconvenience – it can be a matter of life or death.
To prevent catastrophic security or patient care problems related to obsolete technology, it’s important to understand the stages of the healthcare technology lifecycle – and the best approach for technology lifecycle management for healthcare organizations.
Understanding the Healthcare Technology Lifecycle
Healthcare technology has changed rapidly as a result of the explosion in demand for remote care that started in 2020. Telehealth services are becoming the norm, with Forrester predicting over 1 billion virtual visits to occur in 20211. This trend has pushed healthcare organizations to renew their focus on digital transformation initiatives – making it evident that some of the technology used before the pandemic no longer meets current needs.
Couple that with IoT (internet of things) and mobile technology multiplying the number of devices that need to be tracked and maintained, and healthcare organizations are finding themselves scrambling to update or replace outdated technology.
The first step toward mitigating the risks associated with unmanaged or obsolete technology is to understand the stages of the healthcare technology lifecycle:
1. Assess Your Technology Needs and Identify Solutions or Devices
Before adopting new technology, smart healthcare organizations evaluate their current and future needs. IT investments that account for potential change will help your organization stay agile and future-proof.
The acquisition stage executes the objectives laid out in the assessment phase. This is when you procure new technology assets, ideally based on data from stage one.
3. Implementation and Management
Once you’ve procured new technology, the next step is to deploy and integrate the solution or device into your IT environment. It’s important to track technology elements to identify the purpose of each as well as who has ownership.
This is where some healthcare organizations go wrong in the technology lifecycle. Once your solution has been implemented, it doesn’t necessarily keep itself running over time. It’s helpful to have comprehensive support for optimized performance, which is usually best handled by a third party. Support includes everything from proactive monitoring of incidents to phone support to configuration management to evaluating the extension of product warranties and conducting periodic reviews of system performance metrics.
All technologies eventually reach end-of-life. An important part of the healthcare technology lifecycle is to set aside funds for future investments. Setting refresh objectives is important to ensure your technology is up to industry standards, meets compliance regulations, and supports your organization’s current and future patient care initiatives.
6. Asset Disposal
Where does technology go when it eventually dies? Part of the technology lifecycle is its eventual end – including proper disposal of your technology assets. This is an often overlooked stage that could easily be managed by a third party.
The Importance of Technology Lifecycle Management in Healthcare
Healthcare organizations deal with sensitive patient health information, IoT devices that directly affect patient care, and telehealth-related cloud solutions every day – all of which require technology lifecycle management. Without it, you may fail to identify potential risks before they become serious problems.
Technology lifecycle management benefits healthcare organizations in a number of ways:
Some healthcare organizations were left scrambling to provide adequate telemedicine services at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those with room in the budget were able to quickly adapt; but for others, the transition has not been so smooth. Technology lifecycle management enables healthcare organizations to understand, plan for, and control usage and costs throughout the lifecycle of your technology investments, so that you can avoid the hidden costs of aging or end-of-life hardware and software.
Enhanced Patient Care
Healthcare organizations exist to serve patients, making technology investments especially critical in this industry. The introduction of new healthcare technologies often creates inefficiency, which can be dangerous when you’re dealing with the health and safety of patients. Technology lifecycle management can help offload stress from overburdened medical and non-medical staff, keep systems running around the clock, and improve patient care.
Why Healthcare Technology Lifecycle Management Is Best Handled by the Pros
Healthcare organizations often lack a deep bench of IT expertise. Even with a fully-staffed IT department, internal experts are dedicated to day-to-day operations and ensuring the security and efficacy of technologies that directly impact patients. This leaves little time to dedicate toward technology lifecycle management, despite its obvious importance.
Outsourcing technology lifecycle management to a third party is an intelligent approach for healthcare organizations seeking to make better decisions on technology investments. A third party will take a proactive approach to managing your healthcare IT environment and help you reduce costs through procurement partnerships. They’ll also handle all the details of your healthcare technology, from warranty expirations and subscription renewals to disposal of your retired equipment at the end of its lifecycle.
For years, PAG’s experts have helped healthcare organizations like yours save on costs and invest in technologies that ultimately enhance the patient experience. We have deep experience in technology lifecycle management and can help you make smart healthcare technology decisions that will keep you agile enough to adapt to even the most unexpected changes. PAG provides guidance on new technology procurement, audit services that help minimize costs and create room in the budget for key technology investments, and full support for technology lifecycle management. Contact us today to get started.