From how people work to how businesses serve customers, the pandemic has stimulated discussions around the many elements of life that COVID-19 has changed, unveiling new and potentially better ways to operate as a society. Due to circumstance, perhaps the most discussed realm, though, has been that of healthcare.
Telehealth and patient portal adoption had already been on a steady – albeit slow – rise. But as the risks increased and providers sought to limit unnecessary exposures and interactions during COVID, the entire industry went all in on this technology. Apart from a few barriers, it was predominately a success. This “trial by fire” confirmed that a significant portion of healthcare can, in fact, be effectively administered remotely in the comfort of one’s home.
It comes as no surprise, then, when Becker’s Hospital Review polled nine CIOs from various health systems about how they think the health IT field will change in the next five years, that home health, remote in-home monitoring, and advancements in the functionalities of patient portals were prevalent in their responses. Expectedly, there was also a parallel focus on interoperability, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and data accessibility.
While my predictions align with these prospective insights, I found one notable thing missing – the simultaneous growth and integration of the healthcare IT services sector needed to support these technologies. These highly complex digital advancements require expertise beyond what many health systems currently possess, particularly when it comes to ensuring a reliable and high-quality patient experience.
Some health systems have already taken the initial step in ensuring stable and secure support by partnering with external service providers. During the widespread transition to electronic health records (EHR), many healthcare organizations recognized the value of assistance with implementation, education, and support for these platforms. Others were able to supplement by expanding their internal IT departments or relying on the EHR systems’ internal support teams to succeed. But regardless of the solution, the sophistication and acceleration of future technologies have proven that the need is beyond the scope of any traditional IT department.
The overall complexity of these technologies, coupled with the health system’s requirement to deliver remote care reliably, will push IT departments within healthcare organizations to dramatically increase their focus on more proactive monitoring and support. The inevitable and rapid developments in technological advancement will only continue to add more demand and pressure to a workforce already beyond capacity, and it is never too early to question if your current environment can support it.
And ultimately, for those who find themselves unable to keep up internally, a managed services partnership may be the solution. Proactively sourcing service providers can assist in alleviating the pressure of maintaining a secure and stable environment in a continuously evolving field that demands highly skilled and sought-after individuals.