HC Reliability Part 4: IT Maintenance

IT maintenance is like going to the doctorLast time we covered the second of three key component of a reliable enterprise content management (ECM) solution for healthcare: user access. Without easy access to your organization’s content, users have trouble completing tasks and patient care is slowed. But users are not your only concern. You also need an ECM solution that is easy on your information technology (IT) staff.

True reliability also means finding a solution that does not put a burden in your IT staff – and by extension, your budget.

The more difficult the ECM solution you choose is to support and adjust, the more IT staff you need to run it – translating directly into more employees and more expenses. If the resource demand is high enough, the cost of support and staff could outweigh the benefits you realized from the solution in the first place. Choosing an ECM solution that requires minimal staff to support it is crucial. So choosing a solution that easily integrates with other applications and does not require custom coding has a dramatic effect on the initial cost of the system and ongoing upgrades and maintenance costs. But for this to happen, you need to find the other major component of easy IT maintenance – a reliable vendor.

The right vendor knows the ins-and-outs of your industry and its specific needs and can create solutions that those needs while working to meet the future needs of your organization. But true vendor reliability doesn’t end there. They need to be available to your organization as well.

Let’s face it, the implementation and upkeep of any major solution will have some headaches. But the question is – will the vendor be available when I need them to solve my issues? When it comes to IT maintenance, a reliable solution has a vendor who will always be there to talk or walk you through your problems. So for those times when your IT staff runs into problems it can’t solve, you need to evaluate how well your vendor answers questions and offers guidance. If they really know your industry and your solution, they should be able to lend support to lessen the burden on your IT staff as well as assist in building a roadmap for your future.

Healthcare is an industry that is constantly seeing new laws and regulations come into the fold, so an experienced vendor really pays off. Without it you can end up with a solution that requires a disproportionate amount of support and a lot of problems you can’t fix.

Keeping this in mind – along with the importance of user access and system uptime – will greatly improve your chances of choosing the right ECM solution for your healthcare organization. Because when you break it down, these are the three components of a truly reliable solution. And does your organization deserve anything less?

Dan West

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