How Co-Managed IT Services Improve Your Patients’ Experience

Maximizing patient experience is one of the top priorities of healthcare businesses. In fact, it’s so important that many providers are choosing to outsource many of their technology demands to a managed service provider in an effort to boost positive patient experiences. By using co-managed IT services, medical businesses can ensure they have the right resources in place to offer great experiences for their patients. 

In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of co-managed IT services for healthcare businesses. We will also explore how co-managed IT services can help improve communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals, as well as protect patient data from cybersecurity threats

Cybersecurity and Patient Privacy

One of the biggest concerns for healthcare providers is patient privacy. With managed IT services for healthcare, medical businesses can be sure that their patient’s data is protected from cyber threats such as phishing schemes and ransomware attacks.

However, you don’t only want your patient data to be secure, but it’s important that it’s accessible as well so that you can easily look at records. Partnering with a managed service provider allows you access to a secure way to store patient data that is HIPAA compliant. 

As a healthcare provider, you also need to be compliant with healthcare regulations such as the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Managed IT services for healthcare can help you meet these compliance standards and ensure that your systems stay up-to-date and secure.

Better Communication and Collaboration

Another way that managed IT services can improve patient care is by improving communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals. When everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to provide better care for patients. 

With managed IT services, you can have a secure messaging system that allows you to easily communicate with other healthcare professionals such as nurses, doctors, or suppliers. You can also share patient records and files so that everyone has access to the most up-to-date information.

In addition, managed IT services can help you set up video conferencing so that you can easily consult with other healthcare professionals or provide patient education. This is especially useful for rural areas where patients may not have easy access to a hospital or clinic.

How Managed IT Services Can Improve the Patient Experience 

Managed services providers have full teams dedicated to specific services like security, communications, data storage, or network management. Without the aid of professional IT, you’re putting your business at risk by missing details that could compromise security or patient privacy. 

Additionally, managed services providers can help your healthcare practice with HIPAA compliance so that you’re ready for an audit. Essentially, having professionals on your team gives you true expertise in each area and allows your organization’s staff to focus on providing excellent care for your patients. 

Choose ISG for Your Medical Practice

Ultimately, managed IT or co-managed IT services for healthcare can help improve patient care by providing a better experience. When patients have a positive experience with your medical business, they’re more likely to come back and recommend you to others.

If you’re looking to improve patient care, managed IT services are a great solution. By partnering with an IT company, you can be sure that your patient’s data is secure, your website is fast, and you’re compliant with healthcare regulations.

Reach out to an IT professional from ISG Technology today to learn more about how improved technology can take your business to the next level.

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What does health care need from communications solutions?

Health care is an incredibly fast-paced industry. Even a few seconds’ hesitation can result in a patient’s death, so medical professionals are almost always strapped for time. Although this is simply the nature of the job, a solid way to improve efficiency is by implementing a robust communications solution.

A doctor needs a hefty amount of information to treat a patient, and other health care workers simply need to be able to talk to each other in order to complete their daily tasks. However, this sector has some very specific needs that can’t be solved by just any system.

So, what should health care administrators be looking for in a communications solution?

Security and compliance are the first concerns

“Health care is a huge target for hackers.”

Health care is a huge target for hackers, and for good reason. Those working in this industry need a lot of information about the patients they are treating, ranging from financial data to descriptions of potentially embarrassing diseases that could be used to blackmail the person.

The storing and transferring of these records through digital means has increased the attack surface, which is why lawmakers enacted the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA is designed to protect the privacy rights of patients and ensure anyone involved in the medical process, whether they be doctors or insurance agents, take proper steps to increase security.

While keeping patient data out of the hands of hackers is a noble goal in itself, medical facilities also have a selfish reason to avoid a breach. According to a study from IBM, the average cost of a hacked medical record totaled $355. This is well above the overall average of $158, showing just how expensive a breach can be for those working in health care.

This is why it’s so important to invest in a secure and compliant communications system. Hackers know how much medical information is worth, and they’re eager to intercept messages containing this data. What’s more, overall security in health care is extremely lacking. A study from HIMSS Analytics and Symantec found that 80 percent of health care institutions put 6 percent or less of their IT budgets toward security.

While this issue needs to be addressed in its own right, allocating some of this spend toward a better communications infrastructure could be a huge step forward.

Uptime is vital

Another major aspect of health care communications that must be addressed is the importance of uptime. Medical workers need to be able to trade information on a regular basis throughout the day, and losing this ability could be incredibly dangerous.

A great example of this is the ransomware attack that befell the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in California. This hospital was hit by a piece of malware that basically encrypts all the data stored on a network, which means staff members couldn’t access any patient information. After realizing the extent of the attack, hospital workers attempted to work around the issue by using fax machines and written notes, according to Digital Trends contributor Trevor Mogg.

While the hospital did end up getting its systems back online after paying a ransom to the hacker, this situation very clearly shows the fragility of a health care organization’s communications system. A single attack was able to send the facility back to the 1980s, causing an enormous headache for administrators.

Of course, hacking isn’t the only way that a communications infrastructure can go offline. Everything from lightning strikes to simple human error can easily have the same effect, and health care officials need to set up a system that can deal with these kinds of threats.

Your organization needs scalability

Stepping outside the realm of scary possibilities, medical facilities also have to plan for inevitable growth. A business is only doing well if it’s getting bigger, but this means that local systems need to increase as well.

Such an ability to grow is called scalability, and it’s incredibly important in all things IT. However, it’s perhaps most relevant in health care communications. As these organizations increase in size, they must hire new people and take on more patients than ever. When this happens, older solutions will start to show their age and won’t be able to handle the increased load. Therefore, a communications infrastructure needs a high level of scalability.

Your organization might need to scale up in the future. Is your current solution’s scalability enough?

What about continued support?

When it comes to any IT solution, administrators need two things: training and continuous support. Although modern technology is becoming much easier to work as IT literacy increases, the only way to get everything out of a system is to be taught exactly how to use it. On top of that, employees need to know that they have an experienced professional they can call if they run into any issues that they can’t solve themselves.

This is why it’s so important to work with an experienced vendor like ISG Technology. We have a history of creating communications solutions for health care organizations, and we know what this industry needs. Our security procedures will help your facility stay HIPAA compliant and your systems online. On top of that, we can help you scale your communications system to meet your specific needs, and we offer training and round-the-clock support.

Communicating is incredibly important in health care, and administrators shouldn’t wait until their current solution fails in order to find another. Contact ISG Technology today to see how we can help your employees collaborate better.

What can Office 365 bring to health care?

Microsoft has constantly been at the front of enterprise IT innovation, and for good reason. The company has a large suite of services that can help companies achieve their full efficiency potential, with perhaps the most important of these being Office 365. The Office collection of productivity tools has been a mainstay in the business world for decades, and the latest iteration is no different.

That said, certain industries like health care are hesitant to make a move on newer technologies. Medical facilities often have a very specific way of doing things, and changing up the regular routine can seem to be extremely disruptive. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Office 365 has a host of benefits for those working within this sector that simply cannot be ignored.

Incredible security

“When it comes to health care IT, the most important factor to consider is security.”

Of course, when it comes to health care IT, the most important factor to consider is security. Medical records carry a host of personally identifiable information, and if that data is compromised, it could lead to stolen identities or worse. In fact, this is such a huge issue that the federal government passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

HIPAA is regulatory legislation that governs how medical facilities can handle patient information. It’s basically designed to harshly penalize any actions that could lead to a breach. What’s more, a violation doesn’t have to be malicious or negligent. HIPAA Journal reported that a hospital can violate a rule completely by accident and still be liable for payments of up to $50,000 per incident.

With so much on the line, it’s no wonder that so many health care administrators are hesitant to change their current IT routine. What’s more, this fear of change has even generated the rumor that Office 365 cannot meet the security needs of a modern medical organization. Of course, this simply isn’t true.

Office 365 actually has more stringent standards than many other tools on the market, and we firmly stand behind the statement that you couldn’t build a more secure environment. Hospitals looking to improve security measures can seriously benefit from an Office 365 deployment.

Lower upfront costs

Outside of security, many medical facilities also have to deal with the constraint of tight budgets for the IT department. Running something like a hospital is incredibly expensive. Between the salaries for highly-trained professionals and the ever-increasing reliance on costly equipment, health care institutions just don’t have a lot of wiggle room when it comes to the technology solutions they use.

This is yet another area where Office 365 can help out. This suite of tools doesn’t require any pricey upfront costs, instead relying on a reasonable monthly fee. This allows organizations to make the switch to Office 365 without having to allocate a huge amount of money toward the venture right from the start.

Less maintenance work for IT departments

Another problem most health care organizations have to deal with is an overworked staff. Just about every department in a hospital is overrun with important tasks, but IT is very often one of the most strained departments in any medical facility. In fact, the 2014 HIMSS Workforce Survey found that 84 percent of these institutions had hired an IT worker in the past year, showing that there is an almost constant demand for experienced technology professionals.

Those in IT are often stressed. IT workers are very often overworked.

Clearly, hospital IT departments have a very full schedule, and performing general maintenance on productivity tools is just another fire to put out. This is where working with an outside partner to develop an Office 365 solution comes into play. ISG Technology professionals can manage these issues for your organization, freeing up employees to work on internal projects.

However, it’s important to note here that such a deployment isn’t a threat to anybody’s job. ISG Technology doesn’t want to downsize your IT department, we want to help it crawl out from under the mountain of maintenance problems they have to deal with. Our IT experts are trained to make your life easier, so contact us today and find out what an Office 365 solution from ISG Technology can do for your business.

What can health care get out of data mining?

Data is being created and stored at a rate unparalleled by any other time in human history. As such, the analysis of this information in order to discover trends has never been as important as it is now. This is especially true within health care, an industry that quite literally deals with life-or-death situations on a daily basis. Mining the data created by both patients and medical professionals has major implications for the field.

With that said, what can health care facilities get out of data mining, and what challenges stand in the way of this trend?

Efficiency while still being effective

As with most other industries, the main benefits of proper data mining are increases in both efficiency and client satisfaction. Knowing how consumers act and what they do can help employees better service them, while also decreasing time spent in areas that aren’t as productive. In health care, a good example of this is the mining of Medicaid data by the Wyoming Department of Health.

Officials from this agency decided that they were spending too much money on certain payments, and worked with Xerox to properly analyze the information they had been collecting for some time. This mining proved fruitful in many areas, but the most important one was emergency room visits. The analysis revealed that there was a sizeable portion of Medicaid patients that were going to the ER more than 10 times per year, according to Healthcare IT News contributor Erin McCann.

ER doctors are very busy and don't have time to deal with repeat visitors. Having too many people in the ER is a waste of time and resources.

Two or three trips to the ER is just a bad year, but more than 10 visits means that something has gone wrong. This prompted Wyoming Medicaid employees to call these patients, verifying their status and taking steps to increase their level of personal care at home. The state also instituted a 24/7 nurse hotline to allow Medicaid patients to call in for medical help rather than going to the hospital. This enabled Wyoming to lower the costs of Medicaid ER visits by more than 20 percent, showing just how effective proper health care data mining can be.

The human element is the main disadvantage

“One of the biggest snags data mining has run into is human error.”

As it always is with technological innovations, one of the biggest snags data mining has run into is human error. Something as simple as accidentally including an extra data set due to sleep deprivation can have a major impact on the usefulness of the analysis. In fact, this problem is so apparent that an entire scientific paper sponsored by the Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society was written on the subject.

The report – which was co-authored by Cheng-Jhe Lin, Changxu Wu and Wanpracha A. Chaovalitwongse – stated that researchers wishing to do away with human error must take a two-pronged approach. First, officials must take a top-down approach for implementing behavior modeling. These administrators must show employees what is expected of them if they ever hope to properly mine data. After this, analysts must take a bottom-up approach in order to determine who is making the most errors, as well as how many mistakes each person will most likely make in the future.

Data mining may have some hurdles to overcome in terms of human error, but this certainly won’t stop the process from continuing to work its way into health care. The medical industry is all about efficiency, and proper analysis of big data sets can help doctors and nurses improve patient care. What’s more, as the Wyoming Medicaid example shows, data mining can also help administrators determine where resources and time are being wasted, therefore giving them the ability to make changes to improve overall productivity.

How ISG handles HIPAA compliance

Health care data is heavily monitored in the U.S. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act has very strict regulatory standards about how this kind of information can be handled. One wrong decision could result in some hefty fines, even if the person or organization didn’t know they were making a mistake. The American Medical Association has stated that even accidentally violating HIPAA could cost a medical facility up to $50,000 per violation.

Clearly, making a mistake when handling medical records isn’t an option, which is why ISG Technology works with health care providers to ensure they don’t stumble. But what exactly can ISG do for you?

“Accidentally violating HIPAA could cost a medical facility up to $50,000 per violation.”

Issues with security aren’t always apparent

The main advantage of partnering with ISG is that we can help you get ready for an actual HIPAA compliance audit by zeroing in on problems you might not even notice.

One of the main issues our engineers run into when assessing a hospital’s network is the fact that security credentials often aren’t taken as seriously as they should be. Basically, employees who only need to view certain kinds of data are often able to access information they shouldn’t be able to see. In an average hospital network, only about two or three employees should be given admin privileges. However, ISG experts often come into an assessment and find that 100 workers in a 700-user system will have domain admin accounts.

This is a problem because it creates a huge number of entry points for a hacker who can socially engineer her way into accessing one of these accounts. According to past experience recounted by security firm Social-Engineer, more than two-thirds of employees will provide a stranger with their information such as their birthday, Social Security number or their personal employee ID. A hacker could easily call into this hospital and use this information to trick a staff member into giving them login credentials to an admin account, thereby allowing the criminal free reign over a network.

Hackers use social engineering to get data. Sometimes, accessing private information is as easy as asking for it.

ISG can help you fix these problems and pass an audit

HIPAA audits are extremely comprehensive, and getting a perfect score is next to impossible. In fact, as the above example shows, health care facilities often have numerous issues that they don’t even know about, which can decrease an organization’s standing if an auditor were to discover these problems.

ISG can help these facilities decrease the number of red flags to a manageable and reasonable number, thereby increasing the chances of passing an inspection. Health care data is extremely private, and ensuring its safety should be a top priority.

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The True Value of Cisco Communications Solutions

Industry: Healthcare

Formed in 1989, Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Company (KaMMCO) is the state’s largest liability insurer, serving physicians, hospitals, and other health care professionals. Headquartered in Topeka, Kansas, the member-directed company has three branch offices throughout the state and approximately 80 employees.


Formed by Kansas physicians, KaMMCO is a trusted insurance provider for approximately 3,700 health care professionals and facilities throughout Kansas and in the greater Kansas City area. However, its aging Nortel communication platform fell short of the company’s reputation, needs, and goals. Employees had to dial 800 numbers to connect with coworkers in any of the company’s four locations and they couldn’t transfer calls, which threatened to impact internal and client satisfaction.

In October 2006, as KaMMCO planned for a major addition to its headquarters, the company decided to upgrade its existing Nortel system to a more advanced Nortel VoIP solution that would allow direct interoffice calling. So when a company executive suggested to Andy Grittman, KaMMCO CIO and vice president of MIS, he meet with Salina, Kansas-headquartered ISG Technology, Inc., to explore a Cisco solution — he was hesitant.

In December 2006, Grittman somewhat reluctantly met with the 143-employee Cisco Premier Certified Partner with eight additional locations in Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. “As a happy Nortel client, I was less than thrilled with the prospect of a Cisco telephone system,” explains Grittman. “But in the course of a two-hour meeting with ISG, I opened my mind to the possibility. And over the next several weeks, ISG demonstrated that Cisco was far more than just a telephone system. It’s a foundation that KaMMCO could build on to meet future needs. We signed the contract January 31, 2007.”


ISG began the five-month implementation in March 2007, installing a robust Cisco network infrastructure including Cisco Catalyst switches and Cisco Integrated Services Routers.

ISG also installed Cisco Unified Communications, a single system that provides powerful new ways to collaborate. To that, ISG added Cisco Unified Communications Manager, an IP telephony call processing system; Cisco Unity, a voice and unified messaging platform; and Cisco Unified MeetingPlace Express, an integrated voice-, video-, and Web-conferencing solution.

To enhance internal and client communication, ISG implemented a Cisco Digital Media System. The comprehensive suite of digital signage, enterprise TV, and desktop video applications allows KaMMCO to quickly and easily connect and collaborate.

ISG secured the infrastructure with Cisco Adaptive Security Appliances (ASAs) that stop attacks before they impact business continuity.


“The Cisco solution has made us a stronger organization across the board.”

Andy Grittman, KaMMCO CIO and vice president of MIS

“The Cisco solution has made us a stronger organization across the board,” says Grittman. “With four-digit dialing and video conferencing, we communicate instantly and more effectively between branches, which has increased productivity by about 20 percent and cut travel by as much as 90 percent.

“We’re also now able to deliver more services to our insureds without raising premiums, which better positions us nationally and globally as a vested partner in health-services delivery versus just another insurance company.

“One of my prerequisites for a new phone system was to be heavily involved in the implementation. While other technology providers might cringe at this, ISG embraced my desire for knowledge and made me an active participant during configuration and installation.

“We now have a reliable, scalable communication foundation to which we can cost-effectively add new technologies as we grow, and we’ll continue to partner with ISG and Cisco along that road.”