How Healthcare IT Teams Cut Costs During the Pandemic
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, IT spending has dramatically increased, pressuring leaders to adapt by using novel techniques to maintain continuous care despite having limited resources, staff, and funding. According to the American Hospital Association, over the course of four months after the start of the pandemic, U.S. nonfederal hospitals lost approximately $161.4 billion in revenue. Meanwhile, COVID-19 hospitalizations cost these same hospitals $36.6 billion during that time.
In order to respond to these challenges, IT teams “need to be agile to meet providers’ needs so they can continue to see patients and deliver care in the current environment,” stated Andrea Daugherty, director of Enterprise IT security and resiliency for the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School and UT Health Austin in a recent CDW Healthcare webinar. Leaders must implement proactive initiatives such as analyzing software and hardware management lifecycles, assessing existing infrastructure, and managing services to ensure that all operations run efficiently. Employees’ massive transition to remote work is expected to continue into the future, reducing available commercial space. As a result, it is imperative that CIOs utilize their arsenal of cost-reduction measures in order to identify which cuts need to be made and when.
It is equally crucial for executives to determine which IT services can be scaled back. According to case studies from T2 Tech, firms can save up to 30 percent of IT spending by increasing the flexibility of their cost base, thus enabling companies to define new workflows using automation and virtual care.
Meanwhile, leaders must adapt both current and future plans into vastly different landscapes. “The CIO needs to balance cost-reduction efforts with the need to invest in a changed business operations model for the new normal after the crisis,” the report notes.
How to Rein in Costs Now During Disruption
In a recent presentation for CDW’s Tech Talk series, Darren Pulsipher emphasized the need to reinforce business stability and IT cost control not only during disruptive events but also in their aftermath. To cut costs, he said, organizations must reconsider the sources of their spending, with particular emphasis on temporary solutions that may have been prematurely instituted during the initial shift to remote work.
“If you don’t, then they become the de facto way of doing things,” noted Pulsipher, Intel’s chief solution architect for the public sector. “And they may not be the most cost-beneficial way of doing it.”
Although IT costs can certainly be lowered by establishing more permanent solutions, Pulsipher noted the importance of evaluating a wide range of IT pathways. According to him, another potentially viable solution would involve revisiting abandoned resources that might impact the organization’s bottom line.
“Whether they’re zombie virtual machines that have been sitting out there or storage of copies made in the cloud, you’re paying for that every month,” he stated. “So, you’ve got to watch out for things.”
In order to reduce unnecessary spending for healthcare IT teams in the long run, it is crucial that IT teams identify and ameliorate outdated or redundant, particularly in the public cloud.