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How Healthcare IT Teams Bring Value and Security to Providers

Organizations need to understand how healthcare IT teams can best assist with daily operations, properly aligning with security and end-user needs.

Healthcare IT teams have increasingly important roles in organizations' privacy and security needs

Source: Thinkstock

By Bill Kleyman

- Over the recent years, some of the most successful healthcare organizations are those that thoroughly involve their IT teams with overall business goals. IT professionals are no longer a silo operation, put in place to put out fires or deal with challenging users.

Technology, today and moving forward, has become a fundamental part of the healthcare organization. In fact, technology is helping create better levels of productivity, improved patient services, and optimized healthcare delivery options.

Still, throughout this evolution, we’ve also seen a change with the IT teams that are helping drive healthcare forward.

These teams are suddenly helping make business decisions, are interacting with care delivery services, and are working much more closely with the end user. And, those IT teams that best understand the healthcare organization’s goals are the ones with the greatest amount of success stories.

Consider this, Gartner estimates by 2020, 100 percent of IT roles will require an intermediate level of proficiency in business acumen.

READ MORE: How Evolving Healthcare Cybersecurity Threats Affect Providers

“Developing strong business acumen in IT is a prerequisite to effectively shift IT focus from optimizing IT operational efficiency to driving business effectiveness, value creation and growth,” said Lily Mok, research vice president at Gartner. “At the heart of an effective IT communication strategy is the ability to clearly link the vision, strategy and action plans of IT to the business to drive desired behaviors in the workforce that contribute to improved IT performance and business outcomes.”

And, it’s not just business acumen that’s required today. It has to be coupled with a thorough understanding of the business and security requirements.

IDC’s infographic, titled “Crossing the IT Security Skills Gap,” describes the growing risks and need for skilled and qualified cyber security experts, with:

  • 75 percent of firms experiencing some type of security event
  • 33 percent impacted by cybercrime
  • 63 percent of organizations are not prepared to respond

With this in mind, how do modern IT teams best align with their healthcare organizations? How do they recognize both business and security requirements as they change with market demands?

If you’re a part of an IT team within the healthcare world, consider the following when aligning with healthcare, security, and your end-users.

Understanding how healthcare IT teams creates direct value to the business

READ MORE: Prioritizing Data Privacy, Security in the Healthcare C-Suite

IT teams don’t only deliver secure healthcare workloads and resources to their business and the respective users. They help keep a healthcare organization healthy, agile, resilient, and most of all – competitive. What happens if your critical healthcare systems go down? What’s the cost associated for an hour of downtime? What happens if the outage is a result of a security breach? Healthcare IT confidence means seeing the value around IT and how it impacts the business. In some instances, this means seeing where automated security processes help remove manual tasks. This could revolve around infrastructure updates, application rollouts, and even end-user control, like on-boarding and off-boarding healthcare users. Remember, when value around IT is realized, healthcare organizations experience greater levels of resiliency, control and even optimization.

Aligning healthcare business leaders with IT initiatives to help build IT confidence

Do your healthcare leaders know just how important your IT teams are? Do they know that you’re responsible for managing some of the most critical systems in the organization? Aligning with healthcare business leaders means creating champions and translating the power of IT into IT confidence. Show them how these tools help the overall business. Show them how they can access their most critical resources more effectively. Most of all – include them in the healthcare IT planning process so they can see where their part of the business fits in with the IT process. Many times, some of the most successful application and new initiative rollouts are because of direct business leadership involvement.

Healthcare IT is more than a “help-less desk”

Healthcare IT isn’t here to just do password resets any longer. In fact, that process should be automated and have self-services. Modern IT teams work to offload small tasks so that they can focus on helping the healthcare business grow and stay secure. To build IT confidence, IT teams must show that they’re so much more than tier-1 support. Applications and data are the life of healthcare organizations, and IT teams ensure optimal user experience and business integration. If your IT teams are stuck putting out fires consistently, are they really bringing value to the healthcare business? Are they providing input to help the company grow? Things like automation and process control aren’t here to take anyone’s jobs. Rather, new systems allow for IT teams to offload smaller tasks and focus on services, end-users, security, and the overall business.

At the core of the entire conversation is this: Healthcare IT teams must understand the language of business. Today’s modern healthcare organizations heavily rely on IT and the services that technology provides. With so many healthcare initiatives now moving to the cloud and beyond, modern IT teams must understand the language of business that drives their organization.

When IT members work closely with their business and end-user counterparts, they intimately begin to understand the minute nuances around the daily life of their ecosystem. Basically, they can see holes in how users leverage apps and services and fix not only productivity issues, but security issues as well.

READ MORE: How to Build a Strong Healthcare Information Security Team

I’ve been a part of many healthcare leadership meetings. More often I’m seeing a member or two of the IT team right there helping out.

It’s important that if you’re the chosen champion to sit in those meetings that you speak up and share the field experiences within the organization. Discuss ways to secure the business, optimize end-user performance, and how to better service patients. All of this helps bind IT and healthcare closer together to increase value in the overall business. 


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