The long-term care industry is one of the most highly regulated industries in the United States, and this trend is only expected to grow. As the country continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic and instill lasting protective measures, long-term care facilities have seen an intensifying regulatory environment. On top of heavy regulatory requirements, the lack of federal regulations in place means compliance varies by state, making compliance even more overwhelming. This is especially true for companies with facilities across the country, as they must manage the difficult balancing act of following disparate regulations across state lines.
With long-term care facilities grappling with increased regulation and compliance, administrators must find reliable IT solutions that will keep these regulations in mind. They also need solutions that will keep all resident data secure against attacks. It requires a significant amount of trust in your service desk’s ability to keep you both compliant and secure, so don’t compromise on it.
What should you look for in a service desk to ensure that they provide the support you need to prioritize compliance and security? We sat down with Dan Rosedahl, vice president and general manager of Connected Solutions at Crossfuze, to find out. Here are the top four things this industry leader says you need to look for in an IT service desk for your facility.
1. HIPAA Compliant Solutions
You’re dedicated to maintaining compliance in your own facility, so why wouldn’t you expect the same of any IT support you bring in? “There’s a big difference between having a random solution in place and having a service desk that is focused on security, privacy, and regulation,” says Rosedahl. To make sure the service desk of your choice has compliance in mind, look for a solution that has passed a third-party audit—like the SOC 2 audit—and meets HIPAA requirements.
The last thing you want is to accidentally introduce noncompliant processes to your facility through an external source like a service desk, especially if you otherwise do a great job of meeting state regulations. By finding a service desk that exceeds the obligations required by HIPAA, you can rest assured that you have placed your trust in a reliable company that will safeguard your data and provide compliant support. Ask any service desk you plan to work with to provide their SOC 2 documentation and information protection policies before you start working with them. Any service desk provider should also be added under a business associates agreement.
2. Reliable and Predictable Service All Night Long
Privacy, compliance, and security rely on your end users’ ability to use technology and communicate data safely. To make sure this happens, Rosedahl argues, you need access to a service desk that offers 24/7 availability every day of the year. “By having that availability, you increase the likelihood that employees will follow IT policies and use the services available to them,” he says. “On the other hand, if they don’t have it, users will search for other ways to access support through riskier methods—such as sending emails or relying on non-IT staff to perform tasks.”
The only way to guarantee reliable, consistent, and predictable service is to invest in a service desk that delivers it. That way, when your staff needs to pick up the phone for help with a request in the middle of the night—which is sure to happen eventually—they can access that reliable assistance without putting your company at risk.
3. Repeatability and Consistency
Not only should your service desk follow compliance requirements and offer 24/7/365 support, but they also need to have repeatable and consistent procedures that can be demonstrated through data and pass an audit. That way, you can go to a third-party auditor to confirm your processes are safe to repeat throughout your partnership. They should also have consistent reporting for security, tracking incidents, and searching for HIPAA issues so that they are continuously ensuring that they are compliance-approved and providing the most efficient support possible.
On top of having those procedures in place for themselves, a great service desk can help you instill repeatable and consistent processes at your facility. “Look for a service partner that has consistent procedures, as this will help you define and prove your processes,” says Rosedahl. “Not only will you be able to show third-party auditors that all policies being implemented are reliable, but it can also help drive continuous improvement and implement change without compromising on security or efficiency.”
By consistently following HIPAA-approved policies and being proactive with continuous reporting and improvement, your service desk should ensure that they are always using top-of-the-line service that doesn’t sacrifice safety.
4. Secure Service Delivery
Making sure that your service desk does not breach any of the compliance standards and procedures that you have set for your company is important, which means you also need to find a solution that delivers secure service at every step of the process. While the best service desks will offer a wide range of customizable options for your organization, they must also guarantee that every service is delivered using tools that are secure and enterprise-grade to prevent putting you at additional risk.
According to Rosedahl, “a service desk that prioritizes compliance and safety will be sure to securely deliver service and connect to your systems through a process that meets all HIPAA requirements. For example, they should use encryption tools, employ multifactor authentication, and have logging of all activity to make sure that your information is not leaked through unsafe channels.”
Don’t stop at your own procedures while considering compliance and security: Make sure that your service providers are secure in their processes, too.
With the long-term care industry being one of the most highly regulated industries in the country, it’s essential that you invest in solutions that prioritize your compliance and security needs. That way, you can focus on what you do best: delivering excellent care for your patients. A high-quality service desk will be HIPAA compliant and provide 24/7/365 service, repeatable and consistent processes, and secure service delivery. By investing in a solution like that, you can provide efficient solutions to your staff without sacrificing compliance or putting your organization at risk.
To learn more about how Crossfuze can provide the highest value service desk at your facility, reach out to us at LetsTalk@crossfuze.com.