Should Our Practice Hire an IT Person to Assist With our HIT Transition?

Vendors will provide you with a list of implementation activities for which you are responsible to complete on time. During the next 24 months as more physicians participate in reimbursement incentives, it will be critical for you to stay on schedule, or even ahead of schedule and keep your go-live date in the queue.

The rule of thumb is based on the principle of threes. If there are three or fewer physicians in your practice, you should hire a part time consultant to coach an internal person through the implementation process. After your implementation, the consultant can hand off the day-to-day IT management to an internal person who also should participate in the vendor’s user groups, blogs or chats. Contract with a local IT group to assist with hardware updates, wired and wireless service and backup support.

Practices with four to nine physicians typically hire an IT consultant for a period of 18 months to help navigate the implementation process. This consultant is the physician advocate and holds the vendor accountable to contract terms, as well as to train an internal person to take over as part-time internal IT management. Practices with three or more specialties (OB-GYN, Cardiology, and Urology, for example) fit into this category.

Practices with ten or more physicians—or with more than one location—should hire a full-time IT person. We recommend you hire this person on a consulting basis first, and then bring them on full time if, after six months, you still want to work with this consultant.

When an event causes your server or the Internet to go down, your IT person or consultant will prove his or her worth times three. A good IT person will have a clinical or practice management background and understands clinical workflow in multiple specialties.

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