In the healthcare space, much attention is often paid to the implementation of revolutionary new technology, from Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to analytics and cybersecurity solutions. Certainly, this is understandable given the importance of these functions to healthcare data management, and the rapidly evolving capabilities of these systems to empower greater efficiency. However, with such a focus on the IT side of the house, it can be easy for organizations to neglect the importance of building out the right teams to support the technology and achieve the goals of the business.
At HealthTECH Resources, Inc., we spend an enormous amount of time consulting with the nation’s leading providers to help them fill talent gaps, plan against goals, and develop training and processes for end users. I should note that every organization is unique in the specific needs and resources required for success, but there are some shared characteristics we find in providers that tend to perform well.
- Plan early, plan often: It goes without saying that organizations should be planning for how to achieve goals, not just prior to the launch of a new initiative but throughout the life of a project and beyond. Of course, having comprehensive plans in place can sometimes feel like a utopian pipe dream, but it is more of a possibility that you may imagine. Often, we see organizations start with the idea that they need something “new” and “shiny.” “We need a new EHR system,” or “we need a more robust analytics tool.” These may very well be and often are, true statements for a healthcare provider, but decisions shouldn’t start with a statement about technology. Start with the desired outcome and then work backward to determine the steps required to get there. “We need more transparency in our patient records,” or “we need to better understand where there are inefficiencies in our processes.” See the difference? From there, you can understand the steps required to get to the desired end-state and build appropriate plans inclusive of both technology and talent.
- Balance headcount with specialized outsourcing: Another key to building a successful technology team is recognizing where to maintain in-house resources and where to outsource for specialized talent. In many cases, it is not economical or practical to employ all of the various types of skill-sets required for a particular project or initiative. On the flip side, some organizations may try to handle everything in-house and run into inefficiencies or challenges due to a skills gap that could be filled with consultative talent. Maintaining the proper balance is key to success and is something we help providers with frequently.
- Consistently iterate as conditions change: Again, this may seem like an obvious statement, but it is something that is more easily said than done. The reality is that conditions in your organization will change, regulations will be passed, new technology will be released, and some or all of these things may happen while you are in the middle of an implementation or other projects. It’s important to be agile, both in development and in mindset, and be willing to course-correct depending on your goals and on the directional changes to the business.
These are simply a few common traits we observe in the successful businesses that we work with, as mentioned, the specific talent you may require and the team structure that will work best for you is dependent on a myriad of factors. Please reach out if you could use help in sourcing specialized talent, developing training programs, or planning otherwise for success. And if there are other characteristics that have helped you to build a successful team, we’d also love to hear about them.