With the growth of technology and patient expectations, today’s medical institutions are required to be more tech-savvy than they may have been in previous years. It is no wonder that many medical practices are looking to increase the functionality of their operations and networks in order to better serve their patients and streamline workflow.
Fortunately, there are a number of affordable and accessible technology solutions that health professionals like yourself can use to modernise and bolster your practice into an institution whose information technology (IT) networks are as innovative as its medical services.
This article will explore 4 key solutions that you should include in your IT budget to upgrade your technical infrastructure and services, ultimately allowing you to provide your patients with the best possible care.
What is an IT budget?
IT budgets are financial plans that organisations use to identify the costs and resources required to equip themselves with the technology they need to become more competitive. It is important to note that a practice’s budget and plan cannot (and will not) mirror another institution – they are specific to a medical centre’s unique needs. It is a good idea to revise and update IT-focused financial plans regularly, particularly during periods of operational and technological change.
Why should a medical practice create an IT budget?
General practitioners (GPs) across Australia work within a high-stress industry, with 73% of GPs stating they have felt burnt out in the previous 12 months. From pandemics to the common cold, healthcare workers need to stay updated on the latest developments in their field and the medical technology space to stay competitive and provide long-term vital services for their communities.
An IT-centric financial plan can help you stay on top of IT trends while ensuring that your business operates with the best tools on the market. It is about making sure that your finances and resources are not wasted on technology solutions that do not provide you and your patients with value, alleviating some of the pressures that come with the job.
At the same time, as technology is frequently used to support operations, an effective IT budget can keep processes functioning and enhance them when the situation calls for it.
4 technology solutions a medical practice should include in an IT budget
There are plenty of tools and services that you can incorporate into your practice to stay ahead of the curve. However, there are 4 solutions you ought to keep in mind when planning your technology budget.
1. Electronic health records (EHRs)
In the medical field, having the ability to spend time with patients is critical to ensuring that effective care is provided. EHRs provide practices with the capability of digitising records and documents into an easily accessible format that requires little to no paperwork, resulting in a cleaner workspace and faster retrieval of information.
EHRs can even provide you with a catalogue of your patient’s medical history to help you better understand their health. With EHR as a staple of your practice’s operations, you will be able to save money and time as you and your team will be given the means to focus on assisting patients, rather than forcing everyone to contend with potentially time-consuming tasks like paperwork.
2. Mobile applications
Deploying an app that digitises your services makes your practice more accessible to the public. With an app, your practice can leverage the convenience of mobile technology to give your patients more autonomy over specific services, such as scheduling appointments.
Moreover, an app can provide you and your employees with another communication channel to reach your patients, making it easier for you to remain in contact with them.
3. Telehealth systems
Reportedly, the period “[b]etween 13 March 2020… [to] 31 July 2022,” saw over 100 million telehealth services provided to patients. Telehealth systems offer you the means to deliver remote care to your patients, whether it be through phone calls or video calls.
Regardless of how you interact with your patients, telehealth requires robust technology (specifically phones, computers, etc.) that can support high-quality connections for clearer consultations. By factoring telehealth into your IT budget, you can ensure that you will have the tools you need to deliver a quality of care to remote patients that may have been previously reserved for in-office consultations.
4. An IT consultant
An IT consultant with experience in the medical industry can help you create a strategic plan for your IT systems and provide you with advice on hardware and software procurement, as well as any other IT-related services you may need.
A technology consultant can also provide ongoing maintenance and support to ensure that your network is running as intended. Additionally, an IT consultant can help you stay up-to-date with the latest technologies, helping you to routinely optimise your network and make it more competitive. At the same time, consultants typically contain expertise in cyber security – a fundamental field that can be used to protect your patient’s data.
Acquire budgeting tips and best practices from an experienced IT consultant
Technology plays a critical role in the healthcare industry, and it is crucial that medical practices equip themselves with innovative technology solutions. By regularly factoring technology into your budgeting processes, you will have a much easier time upgrading your tools and operations.
The IT consulting services at Muscatech are cost-efficient and versatile solutions that can help any medical practice develop an IT budget that makes the most of its resources. From strategising to business continuity and beyond, contact the Muscatech team today for a group of IT budgeting experts that can help you plan for your practice’s technological and financial future.