Since the arrival of the pandemic, health care organizations have faced a cultural shift. In the past, health leaders were naturally risk-averse and, inevitably, created systems that created a wide range of administrative roadblocks to change.
But over the past two years, many organizations have cut back on a variety of rules and requirements to help accelerate the changes needed to tackle the pandemic. This represents a great opportunity for innovation.
In 2022, we may now be able to benefit from this historic shift away from rigid workflows and risk avoidance. If we can seize this moment, we may be able to make it a unique transforming year for healthcare.
Here are some priorities for technology and leadership focus for CIOs in 2022.
Develop the perfect platform
Currently, health systems have robust analysis tools at hand to extract data from their electronic health records, but they can do much more. This is now a good time for CIOs to look at ways to create a perfect platform that digs into a much more comprehensive range of data.
CIOs can begin to develop solutions – or co-develop – solutions that sit on top of their essential systems, rather than accessing only the clinical data held in their EHR. By bringing these different types of data together and analyzing them, you can generate new and valuable insights.
This platform can include offering deeper dives into population health management, accurate cost of patient care, CMS and social data, supply chain optimization (especially when we are experiencing supply chain problems on a global scale) and, most importantly, insight to bring more efficiency into your daily hospital operations.
Virtual Care 3.0, also known as Hospital-at-Home
It is an opportunity for CIOs to shine and lead the way in developing a set of tools that can deliver care anywhere and anytime. Here are some portfolio solutions to consider:
- Virtual care. Expand the organization’s current telemedicine solution or establish a new one to find out how to easily bring the platform to a patient’s home. I have seen intrusive patients’ homes made with partnerships with broadband service providers or cable TV operators.
- Map route optimization. Delivery of care at home necessitates the clinician to visit the patient’s home. Use solutions like Google Maps, Apple Maps or a third party to ensure your clinicians are traveling with optimal routes based on the schedule.
- Portable items and remote patient monitoring. RPM and easy-to-use monitoring portable items are easy to use and deploy. The technology is simple, but the establishment of a full-time command center operations that many patients can monitor simultaneously is essential.
Stop being a control freak
The centralized IT department is no longer relevant in today’s environment. Explore a decentralized model in which top management delegates day-to-day operations and decision-making power to sector (department) experts, with technology specialists as part of the team.
The fundamental idea behind a disseminated approach is to give authority and responsibility to those who know best – those who are closer to stakeholders. Join the IT team with operations now.
Promote a civic developer culture by adopting low-code or no-code solutions. Low code offers the potential to facilitate solution development using a graphical user interface, instead of the traditional approach of relying on hand-coded programming, which requires little to no coding to build applications and processes.
Traditional CIOs have to deal with their fears of giving up control and realize that they cannot regulate and control access, especially to data. Management will be challenging and new, but we can not stick to the same process that existed five years ago while expecting it to work in today’s environment.
Much of the work can be done from anywhere. Of course, in healthcare, some work – such as surgical procedures – must be performed in a clinical setting.
Think about your technology stack and whether it is robust enough for work-from-anywhere with security measures in place. The employee’s home is now an extension of the network environment, and the solutions should be simple to use when employees are off the organization’s campus.
In addition, focus on upgrading your leaders to manage a remote workforce. Work is no longer a physical place you go to, so having leaders trained to deal with the remote staff will be essential.
David Chou serves as the CIO for a public academic health system. He has held executive roles at the Cleveland Clinic, Children’s Mercy Hospital, University of Mississippi Medical Center, AHMC Healthcare and Prime Healthcare.