Health system IT leaders work hard to maintain the integrity of their teams’ cultures. By investing in their people and promoting their organizations’ values, they strive to ensure their teams deliver on the mission of their systems: to provide an exceptional experience for both patients and providers.

And then, a new EHR enters the picture.

The adoption of – or upgrade to – a new EHR can cause disruption within an IT department. Suddenly, managing this new platform, on top of the typical day-to-day requests, becomes a burden, causing staff to leave, costs to rise, and providers and patients to become frustrated. It seems impossible to maintain the quality service level intended for the department.

What can be done?

There are several options to consider. Increasing staff within the department is the first consideration, whether that is through permanent hires or contract staffing. There is also the choice of outsourcing to a Managed Services provider. There are benefits and risks for each choice.

A search for a Managed Services provider, will likely result in a long list, as there appear to be so many out there. However, “Managed Services Provider” is a broad term, and there are some who claim this capability but cannot provide the full spectrum of services that fall under this offering. It is not uncommon for a company to market their contract staffing solutions as “managed services,” when it really isn’t. If the proper research is not done, health IT leaders can find themselves in an unsuccessful partnership that isn’t fulfilling their real needs.

So, how do you choose? What do you look for? As you begin to explore options, other questions arise.

To shed some light on this murky space, we are kicking off a series on Managed Services with a look at a few important differentiating factors to help health IT leaders navigate the options. In subsequent posts, we will delve deeper into the foundational pillars of what makes for a successful Managed Services partnership.

A Managed Services provider is only as good as its people.

Questions to ask:

If the provider’s team is not qualified enough or properly trained on – and invested in – the health system’s mission and vision, the output is likely to be subpar, whether it’s in answering a patient call related to a portal issue or supporting a physician who is struggling with the EHR.

At HCTec, we recognize that people are core to our business. We maintain an extensive, curated database of highly qualified and certified HIT talent, and we equip our teams with the training and skills to know and understand each client’s mission, vision and culture so they feel confident and deliver an exceptional product for our clients.

Training is imperative and intrinsic to our process, as we discuss below. And all our staff – whether at the service desk or patient contact center, or providing application support or telehealth assistance – are trained, qualified and eager to help clients reach their goals.

Pay attention to their processes.

Questions to ask:

Some Managed Services providers will simply say, “This is how we work.” Clients sign on and get what they get. We believe clients really prefer an actual partner – someone who can serve as an extension of their team and adhere to their established workflows. At HCTec, we are flexible and customize our Managed Services offerings to meet the specific needs of our clients.

In the very beginning of the onboarding process, we collaborate directly with the client to document all of the critical information and expectations needed to do the work properly. This helps maintain the culture, values and systems each client has worked so hard to develop within their department. It also ensures that if an individual leaves, the onboarding process does not need to happen again. We already have the tools in place to get the new hire up to speed quickly.

Training is also an ongoing process at HCTec. We never view it as complete. We are constantly updating our specialized training plans, and we regularly conduct client-specific training with our teams to ensure they are fulfilling the unique needs of their organization.

Service delivery and reliability are keys to success.

Questions to ask:

Managed Services providers all claim to offer the same services, but how they deliver those services can vary wildly. One provider may offer service desk support but doesn’t deliver an escalation team. If a caller’s issue cannot be resolved, they might get stuck. At HCTec, an escalation team is always included to provide an extra level of service. We also assign a client executive to every account. This person is responsible for managing the relationship and ensuring our team is delivering the highest level of service for the client.

We also don’t nickel and dime our clients. We provide the extras we believe necessary to get the job done right. Application support often requires a lot of man hours, and we don’t want clients to have to pay for every minor update or nuance that arises. Many of our current clients boast that what we deliver is not just a service but rather a long-term partnership.

Reliability is also an important element in providing top-level Managed Services, both in manpower and connectivity. At HCTec, we have built-in redundancy across all service levels to ensure that there is always enough staff trained for our client organizations. If a 10-person team is needed, we ensure that there are 30 individuals trained to service that client. Other providers are likely to only provide those 10, and if anyone is out, the team may simply be understaffed for that day.

Additionally, connectivity issues often pose a problem for companies who have insufficiently invested in their infrastructure or are based in other countries. All our Managed Services staff are located domestically, and we have heavily invested in redundant networks that guarantee we are always up and running, ensuring that any day or time a person calls, that call will be answered.

In conclusion

HCTec’s Managed Services team serves as an extension of our clients’ IT teams, lifting EHR burdens and providing customized Help Desk support to ensure that both patients and providers have a positive experience within their health system. To learn more about our Managed Services capabilities, visit