As the end of the calendar year approaches, it is common practice to reflect on the year that was. Usually, it’s a fairly straightforward process—we assess the year favorably or unfavorably relative to others and attempt to presume how it will compare to the year ahead. But, as we close out the second year of operating amid COVID-19, many of our employees continue to work remotely and health systems are working to adapt to labor challenges, fluctuating COVID admissions, and acceleration in the digitization of healthcare.

Ultimately, any analysis must be conducted in the context of these circumstances, which in some cases, make the results more impressive, and in others, the norm. Similarly, our outlook of what’s to come must assume a set of circumstances that none of us can really precisely predict.

Like most industries, we have been challenged by labor market dynamics and continue to grapple with the benefits and risks of returning to the office.

Generally, though, we took these challenges in stride, turned them into opportunities for growth and improvement, and were able to count 2021 as a positive year for HCTec. We acquired Talon Healthy IT Services, which has helped us grow our leadership capabilities, client base, service capabilities and geographic footprint in managed IT services. We increased the size of our client base in a meaningful way and served as a valuable resource for multiple health systems in their COVID vaccine administration campaigns. HCTec also worked with major hospitals and healthcare systems across the country on high-profile EHR implementations, go-lives, and other projects. And we worked around the clock to deliver daily critical support and maintenance critical to the success of daily operations of our clients.

We also continued to invest in our team as we rolled out a formal internal leadership development program to more clearly define and train on the skills and behaviors that define what it means to be a “leader” at HCTec.

I am very optimistic that 2022 is going to be an even stronger year for HCTec because of the ways in which the pandemic has impacted healthcare. Hospital systems and healthcare providers will inevitably lean even more heavily on staffing and managed services partners, particularly in non-clinical functions like IT, in the months ahead. Much of this is due to new labor dynamics that are making it hard for clients to staff their IT organizations, making our staffing and managed services offerings even more attractive. Many hospital systems have a large backlog of IT projects, particularly EHR-related projects, and are in need of experienced and vetted candidates. However, supply is being further reduced because of hospital vaccine and reinstituted travel requirements with many consultants deciding against getting vaccinated and others preferring not to travel. This environment has created a market in which the demand is far outpacing the supply of available talent. With our expertise and proven staffing systems, HCTec will continue to take on these challenges to set our clients up for success.

Additionally, with the acceleration of digital healthcare tools such as telehealth and remote patient monitoring, there is a greater need for application and end-user support like the capabilities we currently offer.

Of course, we all have been reminded that predicting the future is a fool’s game, but we are moving forward with our operations with the mindset that COVID will remain a constant factor in our future. This past year has proven that these challenging circumstances can be an opportunity for growth and improvement, so we will capitalize on and be ready to seize them.

Our team is more seasoned and capable of higher and stronger levels of execution than what we have seen in prior years, and we will continue to make investments in leadership and team member growth. We will continue to improve operations to drive consistent high-quality service to make “raving fans” of our clients. We will look for opportunities to enhance and expand our service portfolio and the flexibility of our delivery models. We are ready and willing to meet the nuanced requirements of our clients.

We look forward to sharing our capabilities with more potential clients, serving our existing clients in new capacities, and maintaining our high level of execution for all in the months ahead. Thank you to our clients and team members who have helped us get to this point. I am excited to see what we can achieve in 2022. Happy New Year and best wishes to all.