Who Makes Your IT Purchases?
In our ongoing discussion on the importance of updating technology, we recognize the significance of this topic for all small businesses. In this week’s blog, we focus on the potential pitfalls of resisting change and neglecting the crucial decision-making aspects associated with technology upgrades. Although we use medical offices as an example, the insights apply to various industries.
Once you are convinced of the need to upgrade your technology, the next step is making informed decisions. What hardware and software should you invest in? When is the ideal time to make these changes, and what budget should you allocate? Will you hire new staff or collaborate with a vendor? Among these critical questions, one stands out: who will be the ultimate decision maker?
The Importance of a Decision Maker
Many medical practices operate differently from traditional businesses. Often structured as partnerships, medical practices involve multiple doctors who collectively make significant decisions. While office managers handle day-to-day operations, they may lack the authority to make substantial purchase decisions or negotiate contracts. Even when a single person holds the top position, decision-making may remain challenging.
Qualifications for Decision Making
Doctors possess the expertise required for their medical profession, but their knowledge does not necessarily extend to understanding the complexities of office technology. Their focus is on patient care, not server clients, cloud system automation, or WANs. It is essential to recognize that technology education is not typically part of their medical school curriculum.
However, physicians should not be solely responsible for IT decisions. Budgeting is a crucial aspect of any IT decision, and understanding the specific needs, including future requirements, of the office is vital before allocating resources.
Moreover, healthcare systems face strict government regulations regarding patient privacy, such as HIPAA compliance. While various software programs can streamline office operations, it is essential to consider compliance requirements before implementation. Unfortunately, not all software programs or operating systems explicitly state their HIPAA compliance status, necessitating informed individuals who can determine the compliance level to make the correct decision.
Staying Ahead of Technological Advancements
Technology is advancing rapidly, and failing to keep up can lead to falling behind competitors. New solutions for storage, operating systems, and security emerge almost daily. Upgrading systems may also become necessary as needs evolve or grow.
In a medical environment, this process becomes more complex due to HIPAA compliance requirements. Practices may choose to avoid upgrades altogether to prevent compliance issues, compromising efficiency. The lack of guidance and specialized knowledge often leads to a piecemeal replacement approach, costing more in the long run. It also complicates future migrations as various pieces of equipment run different operating systems or lack uniformity.
This situation can result in security breaches, reduced employee morale, and downtime, ultimately impacting efficiency. Resolving such issues becomes more challenging when decision-making is decentralized.
The Benefits of a Streamlined Approach
Establishing a formal IT decision-making process with a designated person or group overseeing IT matters is the most effective approach. While input from various departments is valuable, having a qualified individual responsible for making decisions ensures consistency.
Given the demanding nature of medical facilities, many choose to engage external vendors, like us, to provide IT services. Our experience demonstrates that when a single point of contact meets with us to assess office needs and current status, we can swiftly develop an optimal solution. By aligning the solution with budgetary considerations and ensuring all office requirements are met, we eliminate the typical hassle associated with maintaining such systems.
If you are responsible for IT decision-making, contact us to explore how we can assist you. You will witness the positive impact a few IT changes can have on your office environment. But don’t worry — we’ll let you take all the credit!”