When putting together an effective technology strategy, many senior housing communities are turning to healthcare IT consultants, and for good reasons. These professionals not only understand the latest systems, but also bring with them knowledge about best practices, scalability, training, and an understanding of healthcare-specific regulations.
The best way to take advantage of all that insight is to do some prep work in advance, much like you’d do with any professional offering specialized insight. Knowing what you need and what’s available can go a long way toward making a consulting relationship more productive.
Here are three things to keep in mind when you’re selecting a healthcare IT consultant for your senior living organization:
1. Know your current limitations and strengths
Much like fitness aspirations, you need to know your strength level before you begin to incorporate ambitious training into your routine. With healthcare IT, that means making an assessment of every aspect of your organization and how it affects your operations.
That insight will include at least a general summation of your technology capabilities, including network infrastructure, data center hosting and managed services costs, devices connected to the network, and frequently used applications. Be sure to note areas where you’d like improvements — for example, you’d embrace faster network speeds, or more data storage capability. You should also consider what’s working well, like HIPAA compliance or employee engagement.
Healthcare IT consultants can use this information to create a roadmap designed to support the kind of technology you need.
2. Consider your goals
Beyond technology-related tweaks like storage, security, and speed, it’s important for consultants to understand what your larger goals might be, so they can assist with technologies that lead you in that direction. For instance, one of your top aims for the next five years might be resident retention, as opposed to attracting a constant stream of new residents.
Building technology around that goal will become paramount for a healthcare IT consultant, who might suggest implementation of senior living solutions that improve quality of life. Other goals might be controlling technology costs, installing a more scalable infrastructure, keeping on top of regulatory changes, and improving staff training materials.
3. Understand the expertise you need
There are numerous IT consultants available, and most offer a blend of general technology knowledge and business strategy. But for a senior living organization, that’s often not enough — you also need specialized insights into healthcare, senior living technology, fall monitoring, senior independence, care coordination, and all the other issues that you tackle every day.
When searching for a healthcare IT consultant, it’s important to know the background of the individual or company you’re considering — and make sure that there’s experience and knowledge that will help you move forward in all the areas important to your organization.
With these three major areas in mind, you can find a healthcare IT consultant who offers technology advice and much more — such as long-term strategy and comparative analysis figures and insights on your industry. Making the most of a healthcare IT consulting relationship can have a hugely beneficial effect across your senior living operation.