Do you consider managing information technology at your health system to be a burdensome distraction from your clinical priorities?

More hospitals and health systems outsource a significant portion of their IT functions to save time and money, and improve productivity. A survey by Dallas-based, RnR Market Research projected that healthcare IT outsourcing will increase by 7.6 percent a year, reaching $50.4 billion by 2018, up from $35 billion in 2013.

Reasons for growth are countless, ranging from the desire to reduce equipment and personnel costs, to the advantage of having easier access to expertise in an increasingly demanding and complex regulatory environment. When another organization assumes responsibility for managing and securing the IT infrastructure, health systems can focus on their core mission - providing top-quality patient care.

Realizing these benefits, Adventist HealthCare in Gaithersburg, Md., currently outsources roughly half of its IT functions, depending on organizations like General Dynamics Health Solutions, to provide a number of services, including desktop and telecommunications support, asset management, engineering and consulting, and equipment purchasing for more than 6,000 users and 5,000 workstations at two major hospitals and nearly 10 additional health facilities.

With the continued implementation of new healthcare technologies, it remains imperative for Adventist's IT leadership to focus on the growth and development of their overall health system. Outsourcing the management of day-to-day facility operations and equipment purchasing provides Adventist with the opportunity to concentrate on strategic IT and business priorities.

However, IT leaders aren't the only ones who benefit from IT outsourcing, C-level management is better placed to manage business risk and unforeseen issues such as cybersecurity, data management and disaster recovery. These areas are critical to ensuring the health system is resilient and that continuity of care is provided during a crisis.

Experienced IT experts trained in regulatory compliance, health data management and analysis, electronic prescribing, Medicare call management and the safeguarding of protected information are critical to a health system's ongoing success. However, IT professionals with these skillsets are extremely difficult for hospitals to attract, develop and retain. Partners with IT expertise help organizations fill these vital positions, and quickly integrate them within the existing team.

Outsourced IT functions, such as those used at Adventist, provide health organizations with the security, flexibility and resources to ensure continuous, quality care while driving strategic improvements throughout their healthcare system. “The General Dynamics Health Solutions team has made a positive impact to Adventist HealthCare IT operations, providing efficiencies, financial savings and a more resilient operation,” says Chris Ghion, vice president and chief information officer at Adventist HealthCare. “In the last year, we've significantly improved our field services, evolved our data transmissions platform and enriched our engineering service tower.”