As you look to take your home health agency from a 9 to 5 agency to one that operates 24/7/365, you will want to make sure that you have everything ready to go before you make that commitment. If you drop the ball, your referral sources and patients will get frustrated and look to move to another company that does better with keeping its promises. One of the key areas that you will need to watch is your information technology department. Here are three ways that you can make sure that your IT is up to speed so that your clinicians and patients will have the support that they need:
Move your servers to a colocation facility
A colocation facility, such as Cologix, is the single best way that you can ensure your servers are up all of the time. These facilities have redundant power and Internet connections so that your clinicians can always connect to the patient record regardless of what is happening in your office. This will also help you to avoid the need for a backup power source or additional cooling at your main office. This can save you a lot of money in the long run, both in the cost that you will incur to retrofit your building for these additional features and in the employee- and patient-related costs that you will have if you experience any significant downtime.
Get better servers
Many home health agencies scrimp on their servers because it's something that people don't see every day. As a result, they are neglected and allowed to slow down. Talk with someone from an IT services company and get their recommendation on how you can take your servers to the next level. Look into a system where you have multiple servers attached to a single storage area network (SAN) device so that these machines can back each other up if necessary. Make your existing machines virtualized to allow for flexibility and to let you allocate additional resources as necessary without bringing your server down.
Stagger your IT staff
If you have all your staff available during the day but then expect them to be on call at night for issues as well, you will end up burning through IT staff on a regular basis. They need time to be off work as well, so work to create a schedule that gives them flexibility and time off but that also allows your company to have constant coverage. In case your clinicians run into a problem that they can't solve on their own, they will have support from IT at all hours.
As you do these things, your IT department will be well on its way towards supporting your agency on an around-the-clock basis.