1 Course Content Why offer the ongoing HIT Support Contract? Elements of a good HIT contract Detail for contract elements Optional services and support Review Quiz, Final Exam Resource Directory Access Why offer the HIT Support Contract? As mentioned in a prior lesson, a good HIT professional will recommend a long-term technology support and maintenance contract. Integrity should underlie all work recommended and executed for the medical community. They are, after all in the business of helping people. To assist them in accomplishing that aim is unique. It is not identical to working in business offices or retail environments. Working in healthcare IT requires a more focused understanding of the specifics of medical contracts and the needs of distinctly non-technical clients. Generally these contracts are outlined for at least one year following a new IT infrastructure build and/or new EMR deployment. The EMR vendor will NOT support computer hardware, nor provide for maintenance of the hardware which is required for optimal operation of the EMR. That fact, coupled with the reality that most physician practices are not staffed with IT skilled employees - will help you explain to the practice the benefit of this ongoing tech support option. As an added bonus it will also supply a steady annuity cash flow for your IT business. Approach each new practice with the intent to make their technology experience less painful. It is the job of every good HIT professional to help facilitate more efficient workflow, while limiting the inherent frustrations.
2 What are the key elements of a good HIT support contract? 1. Daily remote monitoring of server and backup status 2. Monthly remote maintenance for all registered equipment 3. Database inventory of all IT for client site (hardware and software) with supporting - service tags, serial numbers, content and aging data, monthly reporting. 4. Unlimited phone/remote login for technical troubleshooting and guidance - secure remote login software Installed on all contracted workstations 5. Fixed number of hours (suggest 3 per month) of onsite hours 1) Daily remote monitoring of server and backup status If a server is involved in the IT infrastructure for a practice, configure a summary network report via the server software (applicable to Microsoft Server and SBS installations) and set it to deliver to your administrator login mail daily. Review and respond to any immediate server issues before reporting status and resolution to the practice contact. Security, System Updates, Local Backup and customized alerts can warn the technician of impending or necessary alterations. This level of monitoring and reporting will allow the practice to feel confident that issues are addressed immediately and efficiently to avoid any unnecessary downtime.
3 Do the same with any online or remote backup solutions. Where possible configure and utilize an online HIPAA compliant backup solution which may be easily reviewed and monitored remotely. Reports may be generated and added to the daily remote monitoring report. (see optional services regarding adding online backup to your list of support services. 2) Monthly remote or local maintenance for all registered equipment All maintenance appointments should include the following services per workstation (most may be accomplished with single tools or batch files deployed remotely). In some cases you can preconfigure these tools to run on a schedule and inform the client to leave workstations powered on that date overnight. In that case you simply verify completion of allocated scans/tools and report successful completion with detail regarding each monthly to client. update virus/spyware definitions and run/verify scans on drive(s) clean internet/os cache folders update operating system critical patches and reboot/test update network & component drivers as needed verify daily system backup and security settings on all units, clear expired backup logs
4 3) Create/maintain a database inventory of all IT for client site Create a system as outlined above to inventory and track all technology you will be supporting on client site. This provides a value add to the practice and allows you quick access to any serial numbers or tags associated for support. This may be accomplished via relational database system and should generate monthly reports to identify system aging, warranty expiration and service contract timelines. If you do not have a system to support tracking of this information an online subscription tool is available through EMRapproved marketing toolkit for a nominal per-user cost. Consult your channel manager for more information. This is 24/7 online access to all information via secure internet login and relational links to a database of all major hardware vendor service and support contact # s. For more information on available and paid subscription tools visit our tools directory link at end of HITU lesson.
5 4) Unlimited phone/remote login technical troubleshooting and live-chat A best practice is to provide/offer phone and remote login troubleshooting and technical support on contract. As a rule most practices will utilize this contract component more in the initial months immediately following the initial implementation of EMR or new IT Infrastructure and much less over time. Paid and free remote access tools exist at the workstation level although to maintain security levels at regulatory levels; EMRapproved recommends subscription based remote login with guaranteed security features which require owner approval and password protection to access. Recommended and approved security level tools may be found in the EMRA resource directory. * If you do not have the staff or resources to provide remote technical support at this level; you may subcontract this portion or offer to provide it on a per call basis as a value-add feature. See resources and partnership outsourcing services available via EMRapproved. 5) Fixed number of hours (average 3 per month) of onsite support Include a fixed number of monthly onsite hours in your base contract price. These hours will expire at the end of each month. Some clients will use all hours per month; others will not. This helps to balance the workload for you and your staff while providing the practice a sense of prepaid security. Price your contract to accommodate these hours. The added services listed above will more than justify the annual; quarterly or monthly cost associated with retainer prepayment of these hours. What are the some additional/optional elements of an HIT support contract? 1. Online Backup Management 2. Remote Host Services 3. Software Training and Project Assistance 4. Disaster Recovery 5. Healthcare Specific Optional Services
6 Optional HIT Support and Maintenance Items: Online Backup: You may assist with the deployment and management of online data backup. This is especially critical for practices utilizing a client/server and local data solution for their EMR. Several of our recommended online backup service options can be supervised within a single management portal and simply identified on a per client basis. If you do not yet have a preferred online backup solution with this capability consult the EMRapproved resource list. Remote Host Service: If you maintain a robust server in your office workspace and have good redundancy capabilities; you may offer remote host for EMR software; live backup of all data (protection against cloud or client/server downtime) and other backup alternatives. HIPAA compliancy and robust power and security measures are required to offer any contract remote host services. Software Training: If you have Microsoft certified or EMR certified staff in your group; you may want to offer access to software training as part of your support contract. This may also be offered as a discounted service for additional hours by request. Project Assistance: Skilled technical and training staff may be made available to assist practices with project related to better IT efficiency. Disaster Recovery Planning: Create disaster recovery plans for each practice with a multi-tiered approach. Offering outlines for short-term outages as well as catastrophic delay of operations. A basic DR Plan outline should include: Policy Statement and Objectives (TIER 1 = short term outage; TIER 2 catastrophic delay) Plan Overview Key Personnel/External Contact Info and Notification Support Calling Tree Cyclical Confirmation and Verification of Local/Remote Server or Solution for Tier 1 & 2 Emergency Alert Steps for Tier 1 & 2 Paper Workflow System Exercising for Tier 1 & 2 Damage Assessment Form; Vendor contact for replacement Disaster Recovery Event Recording Form Monitoring Business Recovery Task Progress Form Returning Recovered Business Operations to Business Unit Steps (outline leadership)
7 Healthcare Specific Optional Services: The practice may engage you to become familiar with and assist with the post implementation functionality of their EMR system. They know that you are more technically proficient than their internal group and in the interest of maintaining their own focus on healthcare. You can offer to keep up with the learning required to support their staff and to create an ongoing local lifeline to manage that vendor relationship. There is NO downside to this suggestion or arrangement unless you do not have staff to accommodate. If you can insert yourself as the go-to team for the practice in relationship with the EMR vendor, you may earn valuable training with specific products and in-turn capture greater revenue by creating a skillset in the following categories: Meaningful Use Qualification EMR Template Customization Basic EMR Software Training (for future staff additions after vendor launch training) EMR troubleshooting, problem routing and trouble ticket management Meaningful Use Qualification: If a practice you are working with qualifies for HITECH funds (help them asses that here: then you may be able to assist them post go-live with HITECH Meaningful Use qualification. Tapping into the tools and resources available through the EMR vendors themselves can be very helpful in facilitating this task and can be a valuable addition to your ongoing service contract. EMR Template Customization: EMR s have a wide variety of opportunities to customize for a unique approach to a specific practice s needs. Like templates you find or build for your business, medical groups utilize this function within the EMR to create a more streamlined solution. Basic EMR Software Training: If you can offer your services to the practice before they go-live with their solution, you may be able to insert yourself into their initial training sessions onsite. As you are likely more technically proficient than a medical staff person, your understanding of the technical aspects of that software can be invaluable. Convince the practice to let you attend those early trainings by the vendor and you may be able to help them train future staff!
8 EMR Troubleshooting and Trouble Ticket Management: Doctors, Nurses and Medical Assistants are not technicians. They will welcome any suggestion of service that involves calling just one number for routing of technical issues. When the EMR is running slow or misbehaving, they do not know if it is the router, the reporting tool or their caffeine supply. If they know they can call YOU to sort it out and submit the trouble ticket with the vendor, track and follow-up as the resolution is revealed, they will pay for that level of convenience! Learn Learn Learn: It is always worthwhile to expand your knowledge base in this market or the skillset of your team. If you can access additional training through relationships with clients, local area REC groups, hospital relationships or community college programs in the area you should take every opportunity. The industry is morphing rapidly and those individuals and groups with up-to-date information will quickly become a sought after resource in the medical communities they service. Continue to access the Resource Directory provided through this program; the links you found useful within the lessons (bookmark them!) and take advantage of the free online tools available through EMRapproved.com. If you want to expand your service list to capture more revenue, investigate the subsidized service programs through partnerships identified in this program and build relationships with complimentary service providers in your area. To understand more about any of these tools, resources or expanded services, you may call the support line at EMRapproved.com (800) extension #33. The support line team is available 10am-6pm Mon-Fri CST to guide and assist you as you move into this new HIT arena. This HIT111 course completes the Basic HIT University Contextual Lesson Series. If you have not yet reviewed the video courses involved to-date, you may do so by tapping the button below (new courses may be added periodically):
9 Review Quiz, Final Exam and Resource Directory The REVIEW QUIZ for each course will help you to prepare for the final exam. Use your participant login code to take each review quiz. You are welcome to take each quiz multiple times to help you prepare. It is recommended that you take each quiz once at the end of the lesson and all of them again just prior to taking the final exam. Click button below to take the quiz for this lesson. The RESOURCE DIRECTORY for the HITU University Program includes links to HIT Samples, Templates and Contracts which may be reviewed and/or modified for your HIT business. It also includes a directory of helpful online links and resources to help with client counseling and additional self-education in the EMR/HIT market. Finally, a link to the HITU Marketing Toolkit is provided to assist with your medical community marketing and outreach efforts. If you have any questions regarding this selection of resources, you may contact our program team at (800) ext #33. Educational Content Copyright 2011
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