Digitisation has elevated how healthcare services and patient experiences are delivered, but not without significant cost. Today's healthcare IT teams face greater infrastructure complexity than ever, thanks to the rapid inclusion of digital tools and solutions. Managing this complexity effectively requires additional on-site IT expertise, but it's often a costly option for many budget-constrained healthcare providers.
Compounding these challenges is the rising demand for digital healthcare services and the exponential growth of healthcare data volumes (at a CAGR of 36%), both of which require the support of robust and scalable IT infrastructure. How can healthcare IT sustainably meet these growth pains? The solution may lie in greater infrastructure visibility and the usage of managed IT services to leverage that visibility for optimisation and consolidation opportunities within the healthcare tech stack.
Diagnosing IT complexity with visibility solutions
It's no secret that healthcare IT teams are burdened with the technical debt of all unplanned digital transformations throughout the pandemic. They also need more resources to unravel the layered complexity of their IT infrastructure, which consists of modern CRMs, ERPs, connected IoT devices, and a large majority of older applications built atop legacy systems. The disparate nature of this sprawl is a thorn in IT's side – and a looming risk for health operations.
What's worse is that this complex sprawl of tools and applications obscures technical deficiencies or gaps that are one bad day away from snowballing into an outage that puts both business operations and patient lives on the line. This lack of visibility is also a cybersecurity and non-compliance risk, adding pressure to healthcare IT and security teams.
"We regularly work with clients to consolidate anywhere from 3-7 tools into a single pane of glass, which results in enhanced visibility, fosters collaboration amongst teams as well as consolidates vendors", said Dylan Chidgey, Managing Director and Founder of Intrepid Solutions.
"This results in tangible cost savings, efficiencies within operational teams, and a reduction in third-party risk to ultimately take pressure off often under-resourced IT departments within Healthcare organisations."
To make things more interesting, the increasing emphasis on the digital patient journey has resulted in the need to generate, process, and store greater volumes of patient data. And when data moves across the organisations and to external parties like insurers and other hospitals, they trigger security and compliance implications. This necessitates the deployment of secure cloud storage and data management applications – putting more into the hands of overburdened IT teams.
The obvious cure to this complexity is greater visibility – one that a full-stack, end-to-end observability solution can resolve. Only then can healthcare IT teams understand the 'true state' of their IT infrastructure and take proactive steps to manage instability or technical glitches before they impact service delivery and the patient experience.
Leveraging the right partners to scale
For healthcare, not just any observability solution will do. "Healthcare IT is complex. It is one of the few industries that still runs a lot of legacy infrastructure, and many solutions are customized. This requires an observability solution that works with legacy tech but also understands modern and open protocols," said Sascha Giese, Global Technology Evangelist, Observability, at SolarWinds.
"The right observability solution should also include data security measures and event logs that are audit-ready and comply with HIPAA and PII regulations, allowing healthcare providers to ensure patient confidentiality with confidence, and without the need for additional security vendors."
Some may ask if adding another solution that healthcare IT teams must manage is prudent.
"For many healthcare IT teams, when it comes to visibility, there is none," Giese adds. "End users are often the first to notice when an application doesn't respond any longer, by which point it already impacts the patient experience. For IT teams, it means they are busy with firefighting under extreme pressure. There's just no time to be proactive and work on optimizing things instead of fixing what's broken."
The benefits arguably outweigh the added load, but for truly stretched teams, there's also the option of using a service provider to handle implementing and managing a chosen observability solution.
Providers like Intrepid Solutions recognise the need for healthcare organisations to leverage a specialist to deliver and manage rollouts of Observability, Enterprise Monitoring & ITSM solutions to accelerate the time to value and provide healthcare-specific insights to optimize the solution to a very unique industry.
Solutions support on the front-line
NSW Ambulance leverages InformCAD as a life-critical system, which logs patients' phone calls and dispatches ambulances to those patients quickly. The organisation deployed SolarWinds solutions to monitor this critical infrastructure, and Intrepid Solutions was pivotal in delivering a robust platform within tight deadlines.
"In our hour of need, Intrepid Solutions Australia answered the call for an urgent business requirement, delivering beyond expectations and ahead of time," said Mick Carthey, Enterprise Monitoring Manager, eHealth NSW. "They've since been adopted as a strategic partner across multiple SolarWinds platforms, providing valuable insight and expertise supporting our ITOM strategy."
"Overall, the combination of Intrepid Solutions' specialist capability and SolarWinds powerful monitoring and management platform leads to a more efficient, secure, and reliable healthcare IT environment," said Chidgey. "These tangible business outcomes positively impact patient care, operational efficiency, and the overall success of healthcare organisations."
When it comes to healthcare, time is of the essence more so than any other organisation, so any kind of complexity needs to be reduced or avoided. By working with a simple, powerful, secure full-stack observability solution such as the SolarWinds® Hybrid Cloud Observability, technology teams in the healthcare field can focus on what is essential: delivering stable, reliable, and seamless patient services.