Plenty of changes have occurred over the past few years that affect your role as CIO and how you lead your healthcare company’s IT department: some because of COVID; others because of increasingly more sophisticated hackers; and still others because of rapidly advancing technologies.
No matter what challenges you face and opportunities you encounter, be prepared to make changes. With all these complexities, you have substantially less time to be hands on in all things IT. Instead, you’re constantly moving and meeting, and that places more accountability on your healthcare IT personnel than ever. Therefore, take time to evaluate their skill sets and make sure they align with your 2023 objectives. If not, find the gaps and fill them with competent individuals, either permanent staff or health IT consultants. Make sure they also have the confidence necessary to take the reins of their responsibilities as well as the flexibility to adapt to changing organizational goals and requirements.
Be an effective communicator.
There’s no doubt that you’re interfacing with more people and departments than ever before. It’s important that you can effectively communicate the value your team contributes and how it impacts the organization’s bottom line from project to project. It’s also important that you be a good listener to understand your internal customers’ challenges and needs to ensure you can deliver that value.
Be one with your team.
Communication with your team has never been as important since you’re not as readily available as you possibly once were. Maximize your time with them in scheduled meetings by getting status updates and understanding their needs and concerns. Since you’re likely the one making the purchasing decisions, make sure you can communicate their needs to vendors and executives or empower them to get directly in touch. This is critical to ensuring everyone’s satisfaction and your organization’s success.
Step up your security protocol.
People with ill intent target healthcare organizations because of the data’s value to hackers. As we noted in our post on cyber security: “EMR/EHRs are valuable to cyber attackers because of the Protected Health Information (PHI) it contains and the profit they can make on the dark web or black market. These 18 identifiers provide criminals with more information than any other breached records.” (U.S. Health and Human Services: Electronic Medical Records)
CIOs will therefore need to prioritize the assessment of current cyber security measures. They’ll need to provide resources to ensure that systems keep data confidential; safe from damage and malicious or accidental additions, deletions, and alterations; and yet readily available for patients and professionals who need access.
The goal can be to tailor an information security policy (ISP) to provide best practices to achieve all of the above in your healthcare organization. Factors to consider include past breaches at your facilities (how did hackers get in and how did you address the damage?) and past breaches that didn’t affect you. Determine what protected you. Have your IT team closely monitor current malware, phishing schemes, and so forth, tightening up security appropriately. Also, project what impact predicted security risks might have.
In short, although cyber security is not a new subject for CIOs, it is becoming increasingly more important as cyber attackers go after healthcare data that you’re legally required to protect. Here’s more helpful healthcare IT security information.
Consider technology advancements.
Technologies becoming available to enhance the work that healthcare organizations do or are likely around the corner include these:
- Telehealth: Greatly in demand since the debut of COVID, technologies can be integrated into EHR systems to create an efficient single source of patient information.
- Blockchain: The technology can help to streamline processes for healthcare organizations, which therefore saves money, and provides more advanced analytics.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning: As one example, artificial intelligence (AI) can diagnose diseases more effectively than medical professionals can using radiomics.
As CIO, you can guide your team to maximize your use of these technologies as they unfold.
Embrace interoperability standards.
Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources—FHIR for short—will become the interoperable standard for the electronic exchange of healthcare data. FHIR will allow medical teams to have even faster access to real-time data within a single, secure, interoperable system.
Implementation time is rapid for developers with no restrictions on use. Multiple free tools are available for downloading with templates included from current examples of usage for the development of new applications. Healthcare organizations can use the foundational resources as is or customized for unique usage.
Utilize data analytics efficiently.
Big data in the healthcare industry can be analyzed to glean insights that will guide medical professionals to create processes to reduce medical errors and develop treatment plans that can improve health plans and the patient experience. Better treatments can reduce visits to urgent care and emergency rooms. Experts can also leverage this information to create preventive healthcare plans.
Besides medical-related benefits (which are quite significant), big data and resulting analytics can be strategically used to spot fraud and protect your organization’s financial situation.
Find solutions for IT staffing challenges.
To lead your healthcare organization in these initiatives, you’ll need a solid team of IT talent—and in September 2021, Gartner noted how an IT talent shortage is the most significant barrier to implementing the technologies that you want and need to protect your patients and organization. Sixty-four percent of IT executives listed that as the biggest barrier, a huge uptick since 2020 when only four percent gave that response.
To get the professionals you need to implement technologies that will save you time and money and enhance the patient experience, it can make sense to augment your staff. We invite you to contact our healthcare IT solutions company to discuss the myriad of ways we can help you to accomplish your goals as CIO in 2023.
Choose HealthTECH Resources
As a highly reputable EHR consulting company, we can seamlessly fill in staffing gaps where skill set and bandwidth issues exist. We have more than twenty years of experience and possess deep industry connections within our professional network. To ask questions or to get started, please contact us online or call 602-903-7961.
PRESIDENT/CEO AT HEALTHTECH RESOURCES
Larry has specialized in building strategic healthcare relationships for over 25 years, helping the nation’s top payors and providers solve some of their most pressing business challenges through an intelligent mix of staffing services, training, and consulting.