December 29, 2020
Track IT Software for Better Healthcare Outcomes
The ability to track IT software and assets contributes to operational efficiency and, potentially, better patient outcomes. Common varieties of software used within the healthcare industry include medical database software, appointment scheduling, imaging and visualization, Electronic Health Record (EHR) software, medical billing, appointment scheduling, medical equipment management, medical research, and e-prescribing software. Hospitals, clinics and other healthcare institutions must keep an eye on license compliance to avoid stressful and very costly software audits or other penalties.
The potential pitfalls of software use
Software audits are an all-hands-on-deck affair, requiring IT staff and other personnel to put aside their daily responsibilities to locate required documents and other information. According to HealthcareBusinessToday.com (“Software License Compliance: Is Your Healthcare Organization at Risk?”; Sept. 26, 2016), larger healthcare organizations increasingly have begun sharing access to their EMR systems with small, unaffiliated clinics. Unfortunately, some of them have done so without realizing that they may be violating the terms of their licenses. By sharing access to the software with these clinics, those large organizations are no longer using the software on a strictly internal basis; they’re giving external users access to their IT environment. In turn, they may put themselves at risk of an audit. Some software vendors also have been known to update their licensing terms on occasion, which can leave healthcare organizations vulnerable to audits and penalties.
Simplifying a complex task
Avoiding these negative scenarios is possible with a means to track IT software – preferably through automation versus a manual system, which can be prone to errors. An automated tool to track IT software enables healthcare organizations to store license terms and vendor information in one centralized, easy-to-access location. Tracking license terms and staying on top of updates is easier when all data lives in a single location. Hospitals may wish to use the tracking tool to monitor how software is being used, where it’s being used, and by whom. They can analyze data, create custom reports and better prepare for future needs based on real-time facts, not guesswork.
A pressing need
A 2019 industry forecast by Meticulous Research estimates that the healthcare IT market will grow at 13.8 percent CAGR, or Compound Annual Growth Rate, between 2019 and 2027, and reach a value of $11 billion. Given that the forecast was published before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, that CAGR could be even higher thanks to the healthcare apps that are becoming more popular, says Michal Dyzma in a post for Netguru.com (“13 Types of Healthcare Software,” May 6, 2020).
Within every healthcare institution, the need to track IT software is pressing – and growing more important with each passing year. Before the global coronavirus pandemic began, the healthcare industry increasingly was moving toward greater acceptance of digital communication between doctors and patients instead of office visits. When COVID-19 sent many people into remote situations, healthcare practitioners and patients who may previously have been skeptical about telehealth began to embrace it. In a video produced by McKinsey entitled “Healthcare goes digital,” Penny Dash, a senior partner in McKinsey’s London office, reports that since the pandemic began, some countries have shifted as much as 70 percent to 80 percent of primary care consultations to either an online or telephone format. She urges healthcare institutions not to revert to on-site visits when we have either a cure or a vaccine for the virus. “That would be such a lost opportunity and a wasted opportunity and, of course, would also detract from what is going to be needed,” she says, “which is more efficient services to deal with the backlog. So keep hold of the digital technologies and the remote working.”
Asset Panda makes it easy to track IT software with an intuitive and completely customizable mobile platform. Our healthcare clients are entitled to an unlimited number of users and need no additional hardware to use the tool -- only the smartphones they already carry.