3 min read

2011 Blogs in Review – The Role that IT Plays

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 @ 05:42 PM

Be nimble with Information Technology, Survive with ITOver the last several months, this blog has covered topics focusing on various aspects of IT and its impact on long term care. In our Thanksgiving Day blog, we observed how important IT has become to all of us – in how we work, how we communicate, how we entertain, how we educate, how we conduct business; IT is everywhere. Although slow in adopting technology, LTC providers have made significant progress in understanding, valuing, and embracing IT as a powerful tool to meet ever-changing challenges. For example, twice we demonstrated this fact as we momentarily digressed from IT-specific topics to alert readers about changes to billing therapy services to Medicare and avoiding workforce-related lawsuits.

These are trying and potentially dangerous times for the economy in general and long term care in particular. The vital role that IT can play in helping LTC providers survive reminds me of the African gazelle. The gazelle can reach a peak speed of 48-50 mph outpacing many of its predators. However, the cheetah can reach 0 to 60 mph in about 3.3 seconds with a top speed of 70 mph. You do the math. Since gazelles are a favorite meal for cheetahs, the difference between life and death is sustainability vs. spurts of brilliance. Cheetahs can only sustain such high speeds in bursts; gazelles on the other hand can maintain their top speed for miles. They can also make sharper turns and initiate quick changes of direction with minimal reduction in speed. Cheetahs cannot. Although slower, gazelles have the advantage if they are alert, sure-footed, and responsive to threats and opportunities.

Likewise, to survive and thrive, to outpace the “cheetah’s” of poor reputation, burdensome and sometimes conflicting regulation, competition, and reduced reimbursement, LTC providers must be on guard, quick to respond, and nimble. However, they also need vision. To blindly charge day-to-day into the fray without a clear understanding of what is going on around them and within their operations, can be suicidal. Data mining and business intelligence can help providers discover, discern, and act on the data they already have. In real time, digital dashboards can reveal business-critical information (Key Performance Indicators – KPIs) displayed in ways that easy to understand.

In 2011, we also discussed how important protection of your IT assets and data is and why disaster plans must include IT. “After the fact” is too late. Also, IT asset management (ITAM) can help providers to track and protect their IT assets, use, and storage.

Just over the horizon loom major changes in health care, ACOs being one of those changes. The significance of ACOs to IT in long term care can be found in the need for interoperability and IT infrastructure. Whether ACO’s pose a threat or an opportunity will depend on the specific market served and the provider’s willingness and ability to respond. Being uninformed and ill prepared is like a deer facing on-coming headlights. The prospect of becoming health care road kill is not appealing.

Question: IT is here to stay, are you on board? In what ways has IT helped your operation?

Topics: IT business intelligence dashboard ACOs disaster recovery IT asset management ITAM Part A Therapy Services
3 min read

ITAM - What it is and why should providers care

By Prime Care Tech Marketing on Tue, Jul 19, 2011 @ 02:59 PM

ITAM covers all IT assetsPersonal productivity devices, such as desktops, laptops, smartphones, and tablet PCs, and the data they generate and retrieve have contributed to a wealth of information and…risks for Long Term Care. If Information Technology (IT) managers are unable to monitor, manage, and protect productivity devices, software distribution, and how information is exchanged and filed, providers run a considerable risk of data loss, non-compliance, and potentially fatally damaging their operations. Implementing sound hardware and data management practices is the responsibility of all providers. IT Asset Management (ITAM) embraces the technology and best practices that can help IT Managers with this critical task.

What is asset management?

ITAM encompasses mostly the hardware components of the IT infrastructure and its interconnected computers - in other words, everything that supports the flow and processing of information. Consider, for example, data and computers. What IT assets do you have? Where are they? Who has access to them and who is using them? What is the lifecycle of each? What are the procedures for safeguarding each? What is the most cost-efficient method for tracking and maintaining them? One way to look at this challenge is to consider that IT is a business within a business. ITAM is the specific method and tools you employ to manage that business. It is 80% systems and 20% tools.


A few years ago, Patricia Adams, Research Director, Gartner Research, identified five drivers toward IT asset management:

  • Software license compliance. Most vendor contracts authorize compliance audits. The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is now offering rewards of up to $200,000 for qualified piracy leads.
  • ITIL (IT Infrastructure Libraries). ITIL outlines an extensive set of management procedures that are intended to support businesses in achieving both quality and value, in a financial sense, in IT operations.
  • Cost control. This includes the cost of IT labor, purchasing, and managing device complexity.
  • Asset security. This involves monitoring and managing asset displacement and network assets.
  • Operational efficiency. With ITAM, most facets of your business run more smoothly.
    Neglecting ITAM can be risky?

In the absence of ITAM, LTC providers are at risk. They may suffer unauthorized access to or the loss or corruption of critical business information and EPHI (electronic protected health information). The impact of such could include liability risks, poor public relations, including diminished shareholder value and goodwill, exposure to and during law suits, and a significant disruption in the conduct of business.

A disruption in business, for instance, will likely involve non-productive time, even downtime resulting from non- or mal-functioning equipment, critical documentation missed or erroneously recorded, missing files, emails not received, and an inability to send MDS or other claims. Providers may also experience loss of continuity in the form of missed deadlines or poor communications. By not managing computing devices, users may download unauthorized applications or updates which can introduce software incompatibilities, even viruses or other malware.

The risks can be costly

Providers also risk increased or unnecessary costs. Malfunctioning IT assets mean upset users; upset users mean increased support calls, which can be costly in terms of needed help desk resources to handle such calls. In the absence of ITAM, providers may have to unnecessarily search out and recover lost data/files. In recovering lost files, providers experience down time and fees associated with archived data retrieval, assuming the data/files can be found. Additionally, lost/misplaced inventory, unnecessary repairs, or necessary repairs not addressed, can also disrupt the day-to-day flow of business.
Other risks include exposure to software licensure and regulatory non-compliance which may result in significant fines/penalties.


An organized and well executed ITAM program is a sound business investment – a practice that should not be ignored.


  • In the absence of ITAM, what other risks do businesses/providers run?
  • What have you implemented to manage your IT assets?

Next Time

In future blogs we’ll discuss ITAM best practices and tools available today through the cloud. Until then, write, if you get a round to IT.

Topics: IT infrastructure computer protection IT asset management ITAM


Posts by Tag

See all