Information technology (IT) has always been a crucial factor in healthcare, as it is in all industries. But the COVID-19 pandemic brought it even further into the spotlight. Healthcare providers had to quickly pivot to digital care options when the virus began its rapid spread in 2020. CIOs played a vital role in getting digital options up and running, or in the case of organizations where virtual care was already available, getting it ready for greatly increased volumes.
Based on their experiences with the pandemic, plus their overall experiences with their organizations, three CIOs at large healthcare organizations recently shared their thoughts on IT challenges for 2022 with HealthcareDive:
- B.J. Moore, EVP and CIO at Providence Health
- Kisha Hortman Hawthorne, SVP and CIO at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
- Craig Richardville, Chief Information and Digital Officer at SCL Health
The top three challenges noted by these professionals are:
- Technical debt. One definition of technical debt is “what results when development teams take actions to expedite the delivery of a piece of functionality or a project which later need to be refactored.” Moore, who came to healthcare from Microsoft, says that technical debt, which was already an issue prior to the pandemic, significantly impeded the ability of organizations to expand to meet digital demands. The approach his organization has taken to combat this challenge is simplify, modernize and innovate as they work to consolidate vital systems via Oracle Cloud.
- Cybersecurity. This is a major concern for healthcare CIOs due to the sensitive data involved. Cyber threats have increased greatly in recent years. It requires significant resources to combat. At CHOP, Hawthorne says that its staff is its first line of defense against cyber attacks. Employees are trained to be aware of threats and how to protect themselves and the organization against these threats. Resources are available to staff at all times. They also maintain constant awareness of information from various government agencies related to cyber security.
- Talent acquisition. IT jobs have typically been hard to fill, but in today’s employment environment, it’s even more difficult to find the right people. Richardville finds this the top challenge at his organization. One step they have taken is cross-training employees from other areas. He says the organization’s mission is helping to attract people who are looking to make a bigger impact in society.
What challenges are at the top of your organization’s list for 2022?