The professionals that serve your company’s IT needs can often seem like a mystery. You come to work and unless you’re having an issue with your computer, the network, or a printer, you might even forget they exist. But, the truth is, you wouldn’t be able to do your job without your IT team toiling behind the scenes, long after you’ve left the office, to give you a seamless user experience. They are much more than the “people who do computer stuff.” Here are some things your IT professionals do on a daily basis to help you get to know their role better:
The installation and maintenance of your company’s computer network is a basic responsibility of the ever-versatile IT professional. Nobody really realizes that there is a guy or gal behind the scenes keeping everything up and running until they can’t get on the internet. Network security also falls under the purview of your IT team and they’ll be there to help you when you inevitably receive a dreaded phishing email.
This is where you’d really miss your IT professionals if you didn’t have them. They are the ones you call when you just can’t figure out what’s wrong with your computer. They keep things running smoothly by making sure regular software updates are installed, repairing hardware issues, and training employees on how to use new tech or programs. They also man the IT desk to assist employees with all of their IT questions and problems.
Company Website Hosting
Your IT professionals sometimes create and maintain your company’s website. If they don’t actually do that, they are usually hosting it on a server. The webmaster, who can be found within the IT department, makes sure the plugins are updated, the site is secure and loading as fast as possible. A website is often the first stop for new customers, so a good first impression can be the difference between gaining or losing their business.
Another thing IT professionals within your organization are responsible for is programming. They are responsible for “fixing” programs, maintaining them and getting old programs to play nice with the new ones. They even develop new programs on occasion. These programs can be basic or complex and cover things such as human resource functions, inventory tracking, or records management.
At the end of the day, a good team of IT professionals is invaluable and can literally keep you in business. But, on top of that, they make sure all of the behind the scenes tech work is taken care of so you don’t even have to think about it. This means you can spend your time focusing on whats important, proving the highest level of care to your residents.
Choosing how to manage IT for your senior care facility can seem like a daunting task. You want the best possible IT solution so you can focus your time and energy on your residents. In most cases, you will have to choose between hiring a general IT practitioner, hiring a number of specialists, or hiring a remotely-managed IT service provider.
What is a General IT Practitioner?
A general IT practitioner is someone who is proficient in many areas of information technology but specializes in none. A general practitioner can typically provide desktop support, manage databases, webpages, and phone servers. If you were going to hire one person to manage IT for your business, you’d probably go with a general practitioner.
When a General IT Practitioner Isn’t Enough
Just like you could choose a general practitioner for your medical care, you can also choose a general practitioner for your IT needs. While it might be a good idea to start out with a general practitioner, as soon as you are diagnosed with a heart condition, for example, you’re going to need to be referred to a specialist or even a team of specialists. People bring their kids to see a pediatrician because they specialize in the care of infants and children. You should think about IT solutions for your business the same way.
A general IT practitioner is great for the basics. But senior care has many industry-specific tech requirements your general IT practitioner probably won’t be familiar with. But, that doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a bunch of IT specialists to meet all of you needs. That would get really expensive, really fast.
A More Sensible Solution for Senior Living
Wouldn’t it make more sense to opt for a remotely-managed IT solution that has all the specialists you’d ever need available to you any time day or night for a reasonable rate? We think so. At IHS, we understand the intricacies of this industry and have a great team in place to take the burden of managing IT off of your and your employee’s shoulders so you can focus on your main priority—your residents!
We rely on technology for just about everything these days, including keeping our businesses up and running. But, what do you do when your tech breaks? Unless you are an IT genius yourself, you hire someone. Every business has the need for IT services. What that looks like for each business across a wide range of industries looks very different. However, what it really boils down to is should you hire a generalist or a specialist? If you’re operating in the senior care industry, we have the answer for you!
What’s the Difference?
An IT service provider that’s classified as a generalist understands a wide range of IT-related topics, but has little depth in any one area. Tech specialists on the other hand, such as Integrated Health Systems, maintain a deep understanding and focus in a specialized area such as Senior Living Solutions. Both generalists and specialists have an important role to in the world of IT, but you will need to determine which one is the right fit for your business.
Don’t Use a Jack of All Trades…
…master of none. Many startups and young businesses opt to hire a generalist for their IT needs. While hiring an IT generalist may cost you less in the short-term it could end up costing you later on down the road. When you’re faced with an IT issue and your generalist isn’t able to remedy the problem right away, you’re going to be looking at some downtime. Can your business afford to have downtime? What will be the impact to your customers?
Specialists in Senior Care
The senior care industry is unique. Seniors require specialized care, so it makes sense to use an IT solution that is tailored to the needs of the senior care industry. It’s a thriving industry and any business owner in senior care knows that they need an IT service provider that’s going to be able to grow and scale with them. With a specialized service provider like Integrated Health Systems, you’re getting a team of highly trained specialists that are familiar with your business’s specific needs.
Hiring the right IT service provider can allow you to focus on your real priorities. With IHS’s PULSE, a remote IT Help Desk Solution for Senior Living, you can hand over the management of your technology and spend more time focusing on what’s really important—caring for your residents. Some of the benefits of using a specialist like IHS as your IT service provider and being able to focus on your residents include:
- Lower costs
- Access to a team of IT experts
- Increased efficiency
- Improved focus
- 24/7/365 availability
From system maintenance and security, computing devices, internet circuits, WLAN, and LAN equipment, operating system updates, to Microsoft Windows patches, antivirus, malware, and security updates a senior living facility IT guy’s to-do list is never-ending. But, what do you do when your IT workload has truly exceeded your IT staff of one? Being in this situation is actually a good one—it means your business is growing. But, with growth comes growing pains. Finding a solution that scales with your business will be the key to your success. There are a few options to consider when growing your IT team.
#1 Hire Another Full-Time Team Member
Bringing another full-time IT person onboard may be the right choice if they will be able to help maintain the current workload. You’ll need to consider what needs your organization has and weigh them against what your budget can afford. You’ll also need to decide whether to hire an IT generalist or an IT specialist depending on your business’s needs. This means that you will have to have a general understanding of your IT needs and how to differentiate between the candidate who has talent and the candidate who has experience and how those differences will impact your decision.
#2 Hire Freelancers
If you have a few specialized tasks you need intermittent help with, you might consider hiring a freelancer. Freelancers are independent contractors or consultants that you only pay when you need a specific task or job completed. Freelancers can be hired for long or short-term projects. This can dramatically reduce costs compared to bringing on another full-time employee because even though you may have to pay an IT freelancer a higher hourly rate, you don’t have to worry about overhead costs such as employee benefits, training, and overtime expenses.
#3 Managed IT Services
The third option is to go with a remotely-managed IT service that specializes in senior care. In a way, you get the best of both worlds. You get the commitment and reliability of a full-time employee and the flexibility and breadth of skills and experience of the freelancer. If you choose to go with a managed IT service, you will have access to a robust IT support team whenever you need it at a reasonable cost. You won’t have to spend time worrying about patient privacy or if your firewalls are up-to-date. Rather you can spend that time focusing on providing the best care to your senior residents if you know your tech is being tended to.
If you’ve already established that one IT guy might not be enough to meet the needs of your senior living facility, the next move would be to determine whether you should insource or outsource your IT functions. While most organizations agree on the significance of new technologies not all of them are sure whether it’s better to develop organizations in-house or to outsource them to experts in the field.
Insourcing is typically the solution when a company has complex needs that require specialized support. Insourcing requires a significant financial investment. In addition to incurring the cost of a full-time IT staff, all IT products must be purchased and owned by the company.
In some cases, these costs are justified. Businesses that are highly specialized or operating in a niche market, businesses that operate under strict confidentiality and don’t want proprietary information accessible, as well as businesses who have developed their own IT programs and processes. In this case, they are the experts on their own products so it makes sense to keep IT in-house.
According to a Deloitte study, 74% of companies outsource IT services to better serve their businesses. There’s a good reason so many businesses choose to outsource—it allows the organization to focus on the primary function and mission of its business.
There are many advantages to outsourcing IT for your business including:
- Access to a Team of IT Experts- When developing an in-house IT team, you’re limited by your payroll. You can only afford to hire so many IT folks and you definitely wouldn’t be able to hire experts for every system you employ. By outsourcing, you gain access to a curated team of people who are highly trained and specialize in just what you need help with.
- Lower Costs- For the amount of experience and skill you get by outsourcing, you would have to pay a fortune to employ the same quality and quantity of IT support in-house.
- Increased Availability- in contrast to an in-house IT team who probably only work 9-5, with many outsourced IT solutions, including Integrated Health Systems, IT support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. When you’re running a senior living facility where your team is working around the clock, you need an IT support team that will do the same.
- Competitive Edge- outsourcing allows smaller companies to provide services that would otherwise be out of their budget which makes them more competitive in their respective market.
The National Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Conference is taking place February 19-23 in Orlando, Florida. During this time, leaders from all over the world gather to network, collaborate, and learn what’s ahead for the healthcare industry.
Deven McGraw is the Deputy Director for Health Information Privacy, with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is the enforcement mechanism for ensuring compliance to HIPAA, as well as other areas. During one of the HIMSS’ sessions, one of the key points Mr. McGraw discussed was an update on the Phase 2 compliance audits that took place during 2016. The goal of these HIPAA audits was to support improved compliancy. By default, these were not intended to be punitive in nature, but it was shared that if the violations found were so severe, it did push OCR to open a full compliance review. The audits were initiated by a notification sent by OCR to the Covered Entity (CE) informing them of the audit and providing instructions on what needed to be provided to OCR for review. It was indicated that, in many cases, incorrect documents were received or they weren’t sent at all.
In summary, OCR learned from these audits that much work is still needed in the compliance space. The list below is what OCR most commonly found to be out of compliance:
- No Security Risk Assessment (SRA) completed
- Unable to Account for Business Associate Agreements (BAAs)
- Missing or out-of-date policies and procedures
- Lack of transmission security
- Insider threats (not de-activating an account following termination)
- Improper disposal of content (paper and electronic)
- Lack of, or no back-up of contingency plans
Based on these findings, it was announced today that further efforts will continue from OCR to continue these audits.
Now is the time to ask the following of your organization:
Have you completed a 3rd party Security Risk Assessment?
Do you have a compliancy officer?
Has your staff been trained?
As these efforts continue with more auditing resources, keep in mind your organization could be contacted for a desk audit. What other risks would this expose for your organization?
Contact IHS today to schedule your Security Risk Assessment and Staff Compliancy Training.
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Overland Park, Kansas (October 14, 2016) – Integrated Health Systems, the leader in Senior Living IT support solutions, announced the appointment of Greg Block as Chief Financial Officer.
Mr. Block joins Integrated Health Systems from Sprint Corporation where he served for seven years as Treasurer for the global telecommunications giant, a $35 billion organization. Mr. Block brings more than 30 years of experience to Integrated Health Systems. He performed a variety of executive finance roles during his 25 years at Sprint including treasury, operations finance, budgeting and forecasting, and investor and lender relations. He was responsible for Sprint’s financing plans which included several international borrowing agreements. He was also closely involved in several merger and acquisition transactions including Tokyo-based SoftBank’s investment in Sprint.
Kevin Staley, Founder and CEO commented, “Greg is a seasoned financial executive with a strong background in technology and significant financial experience. I believe that Greg is particularly equipped to work with our leadership staff to help manage the current growth we are experiencing and with the extreme future growth we are expecting, so that we maintain our quality reputation within Senior Living.”
Mr. Block commented, “I’m very excited to join Integrated Health Systems. They are a rapidly growing organization. Kevin and his experienced team are well-positioned to take advantage of growth in the senior living industry. Their national presence provides an excellent foundation for future expansion.”
Mr. Staley continued, “Greg has already shown his value and ability as an organizational leader with his key role in developing our new MobileForever solution, a joint offering with mobility leader Sprint.”
Integrated Health Systems named Official Conference Sponsor for the PCC SUMMIT 2016
April 27, 2016
Integrated Health Systems was named the Official Conference Sponsor for PointClickCare SUMMIT 2016. This is the 6th year that Integrated Health Systems IHS is honored to assume the role of Official Conference Sponsor. We are committed to continuously building and enhancing the opportunities that a PCC/IHS partnership brings to the senior living and post-acute communities. We are dedicated to providing advanced solutions to support the growing technology needs of our important aging population. It is a pleasure to work with PCC, and we are excited to bring some of the results of that partnership to our current and future client base.
If you’ve attended the Summit in the past, please join us again to learn about a variety of new opportunities to support your facility’s needs. If you’ve never participated in the Summit, we cordially invite you to make a point to be there this year. We look forward to seeing you in November!
A new initiative permits states to request the 90 percent enhanced matching funds to connect a broader variety of Medicaid providers to a health information exchange.
Driving loyalty is very different from driving repeat sales. There are always reasons people will do business with you that have nothing to do with you — timing, price, convenience, lesser of evils and force of habit are just a few. These things can help influence an initial sale and they can influence repeat business, but they do not influence loyalty. Just because someone buys from you over and over does not make them loyal.
Loyalty exists when an existing customer chooses to do business with you even when a cheaper, more convenient or even higher quality option is on offer from another company. Someone’s decision to ignore a sale or promotion of another seems like irrational behavior. And that’s because it is. The part of the brain that controls decision-making and behavior exists in the same part of the brain that controls feelings and emotions. The part of the brain that controls rational thought does not, in fact, control behavior. Someone’s decision to stick with one company in the face of overwhelming rational proof of a better offer has more to do with the buyer than the seller. Loyalty is, in fact, not rational at all but a highly emotional state.
Lets look at Apple, for example. Well known for having a fiercely loyal customer base, the base model Macintosh laptop, the MacBook, starts at $1099. A Dell laptop with equivalent performance specs is $649. The Apple is 40% more expensive! And if you’re willing to have a slightly smaller hard drive than the Mac, the cost for the Dell is only $499 – less than half the price! Everyone knows that Apples have less software available for them and fewer peripheral choices. And as a recent Mac convert, I can report that my decked out MacBook is slower than my old mid-level Dell. The decision to buy an Apple the first time is clearly far from rational. But the decision to remain loyal is a deeply personal and emotional decision. Owning a Dell says nothing about who I believe I am. But owning a Mac accurately reflects my self-identity.
This means loyalty is more a factor of a company’s ability to express a clear and honest sense of why they exist and what they believe about the world than simply the quality of what they do or make. The clearer that belief, the more attractive the company is to those with similar beliefs.
Apple is a company not built around a product — it’s build around a belief — the desire to challenge the status quo. It is no accident that creative-types are drawn to the machines. Apple’s ability to attract such a loyal customer base has less to do with their products and their “rational” benefits, and more to do with what the company stands for. Like a flag a loyal soldier follows into battle, Apple and their products stand as a symbol for a cause worth making sacrifices — like paying a higher price.
My favorite example of loyalty is Harley-Davidson. There are people who tattoo Harley’s logo on their bodies. Some who do don’t even own their product. The decision to do such a thing — clearly irrational — has nothing to do with the quality of Harley bikes or their value as a company. Someone’s decision to display that logo on their body is a symbol of a belief. They identify as independents in a world of conformity. Members of the rugged open-road.
Because loyalty is emotional and not rational, you don’t actually need to have the best product or service – it needs to be good, but it doesn’t have to be the best. Loyalty starts with clarity – your own clarity of what you believe – why you do what you do. This has nothing to do with money, this is about why your company was founded in the first place. Why does it exists? What do you stand for? If others believe what you believe, they will put up with all kinds of better offers to do business with you.
A company’s challenge is to never veer from saying and doing the things they actually believe. The discipline to do so is called authenticity, and there aren’t too many companies left who can claim to be truly authentic. Fickle customers are not the reason there is such little loyalty these days. It’s hard for someone to be loyal when no one knows what you believe.
The Integrated Health Systems team creates extreme loyalty due to the focus around ‘what we believe’ as the leading Senior Living IT provider. As we continue to grow, our client-partners, vendor-partners and industry associates will notice further focus on how we deliver satisfaction. It will be noticeable…..the focus we instill in and hold accountable to…ourselves, our teammates, our vendor-partners, and our client-partners..‘WHAT WE BELIEVE WE ARE TO THEM AND HOW WE DELIVER’……
…..we ARE ‘CLIENT SATISFACTION’!