IT outsourcing could benefit rural hospitals, researchers find

Oct 23, 2008

Patients expect the most up-to-date equipment and technology at hospitals, regardless of the institution's size or budget. Providing that technology, however, can be difficult for small, rural hospitals that often lack the budget and staffing to make it possible.

A case study conducted by researchers in Penn State's College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) shows that smaller hospitals may be able to benefit by sharing an IT infrastructure with larger hospitals in the same geographic area.

Madhu Reddy, assistant professor of IST, Sandeep Purao, associate professor of IST, and Mary Kelly, a graduate student, conducted interviews with administrators at a regional hospital and three small, rural hospitals in central Pennsylvania. The three smaller hospitals relied on the regional hospital to manage such things as software, laboratory information and technical support.

The researchers found that the smaller hospitals saw financial savings from the partnership and also benefitted from the shared IT staff and its experience. The group reported their results of the study in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

"The most prominent financial benefit for the rural hospitals was the ability to afford a comprehensive IT infrastructure at a relatively low price," Reddy said. "For instance, the rural hospitals only pay a percentage of the hardware dedicated to their needs … if the regional hospital buys a new hard drive, the rural hospitals will only be charged for the percentage of the hard drive they use."

The regional hospital did not profit from sharing its services, but the smaller hospitals did take on costs involved with the partnership and helped pay for the additional staffing required to make the relationship possible.

One of the challenges to this outsourcing system, the researchers found, was a perception among the small hospitals that their customer service requests were sometimes not a high priority for the regional hospital's IT staff.

"They believed a traditional vendor would want to meet their needs in order to retain their business, but that was not always the case in the partnership," Reddy said. "However, as the partnership evolved over time, they were able to overcome this challenge."

Reddy said he hopes to continue this research by organizing a larger case study examining rural/regional hospital IT relationships throughout Pennsylvania to determine whether this type of relationship can have long-term benefits for rural hospitals across the state and the country.

Source: Penn State

Explore further: Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google Glass: Paramedics' next tool

Aug 01, 2014

While Google Glass' potential as a consumer device remains to be seen, Lauren Rubinson-Morris is excited about its possibilities in her workplace.

The powerful potential of microgrids for livable cities

Jul 08, 2014

A majority of the world's population now lives in cities, which consume 75 percent of the world's resources and emit most of its greenhouse gases. The United Nations estimates that by 2050, an additional ...

A spark of new energy in Africa

Jun 25, 2014

Grace Wu and Ranjit Deshmukh grow vegetables in their garden, bicycle to school each day, and are rarely seen in clothes more formal than blue jeans and t-shirts. Though they seem to live a quiet life, these ...

Climate change refugees are our responsibility

Feb 18, 2014

Australia needs to plan for an influx of climate change refugees from neighbouring countries that face ever increasing risks from cyclones, rising sea levels and more severe droughts, according to a researcher ...

A smartphone that's a sight for sore eyes in Kenya

Sep 04, 2013

Simon Kamau, 26, has been in almost constant pain since he was a playful three-year-old and accidentally pierced his eye with a sharp object, but smartphone technology now offers hope.

Recommended for you

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

14 hours ago

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

14 hours ago

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

Why conspiracy theorists won't give up on MH17 and MH370

Aug 20, 2014

A huge criminal investigation is underway in the Netherlands, following the downing of flight MH17. Ten Dutch prosecutors and 200 policemen are involved in collecting evidence to present at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The inv ...

Here's how you find out who shot down MH17

Aug 20, 2014

More than a month has passed since Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed with the loss of all 298 lives on board. But despite the disturbances at the crash site near the small town of Grabovo, near Donetsk ...

Assange talks of leaving embassy, sowing confusion

Aug 18, 2014

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sowed confusion Monday with an announcement that appeared to indicate he was leaving his embassy bolt hole, but his spokesman later clarified that that would not happen unless ...

User comments : 0