The healthcare profession attracts a lot of people with big hearts. Knowing that what you do makes a big difference in the quality of people’s lives is a big draw. Healthcare IT teams are no exception. Creating the opportunity for more connected patient experiences and enabling ready access to systems for patient information, clinical data, and remote care is pretty mission-critical stuff.
It’s not just the patient care side either. Healthcare IT professionals find themselves getting more involved in the business and revenue side of their organizations as well. Technology is automating important business processes to make them more efficient and convenient for both staff and patients. This strengthens the healthcare organization’s ability to serve their members and patients.
This shift in healthcare IT jobs is one of the key findings coming out of our latest research report: Behind the EHR: Healthcare's hidden heroes of patient experience, a survey of 200+ healthcare IT professionals about the state of healthcare IT.
Respondents make it very clear that healthcare IT today involves a lot more than managing the EHR system. The role has expanded well beyond traditional definitions with respondents being measured against additional metrics associated with operations, finance and revenue cycle management.
The IT leader's role will include many more tasks and a much larger set of skills than it does now. This is especially true within the healthcare system, where technology is being upgraded at a rapid pace.
Some of what we learned from the survey informs how to approach your healthcare IT career for 2023 and beyond.
- Keep both technical and non-technical skills in focus. Being a healthcare IT professional is a lot more complex than it was five years ago, 94% of respondents told us. 88% said they have taken on tasks outside of the traditional IT role. Respondents are thinking more about business outcomes, taking responsibility for enhancing data security, and collaborating with executive staff from across different departments.
- Automate to keep pace. Not surprisingly, IT teams are understaffed. 68% say they’ve had to put off new projects as a result, as well as say no to things they typically would have no problem delivering on. And they are looking for new tools to alleviate the time crunch.
- Get to know your finance team. IT teams are being asked to work more closely with finance. 90% of those we surveyed say that patient collections is a metric they are measured on - with more than half saying they’re measured on it a great deal. 85% expect to be measured on it a lot more in the future – especially in large hospitals.
- AI, analytics skills will be in demand. Identifying and training people with the latest tech skills will be crucial. Almost 9 in 10 of our survey respondents said they constantly think about the role of emerging tech in the healthcare space – for both patient care and operations. Machine learning and AI in particular. 90% of the respondents say those technologies will be important, and 50% said they will be very important. "The IT leadership role will become more involved and connected to the patient experience," said one respondent. "Data engineering and analysis and AI will be the technologies that tie everything together."
- The patient experience remains the No. 1 goal. All healthcare IT leaders say they consider patients and/or patients’ experience when they are making decisions about the technology needed for their organization. That won’t change.
(We’re challenged with) keeping up with (technology) upgrades, while keeping patient satisfaction high and patient well-being high.