To say that 2020 was a strange year is a massive understatement. It was a year of confusion, tragedy, uncertainty, unimaginable sadness and despair. Really, impossible to encapsulate in one word, or even a sentence. Those things we knew and accepted as norms are gone or changed significantly. Our understanding of science & technology has also shifted, still trying to grasp what the new norm will be moving forward.
As a technologist, I’ve been grappling with the question: “Is this an opportunity for us to be aggressive to push technology to their known limits, or is this the time to hunker down, be conservative and wait this thing out until a new norm is fully established (whatever that new norm is?).
As a technologist in healthcare, our technology decisions are always based on and dictated by how the patients are served when they come through our doors. It’s really all about the best healthcare service and safety for our patients. There’s nothing new about that. So how do you balance the need of our patients with the opportunities to push for advancement in technology?
Areas that we have seen the most increase: Remote access/work technologies, including virtual care. What kind of impact will this observation have on the following technologies? Will they need to advance more and faster now that we are in this new state?
Collaboration, Remote application access (work from anywhere, anytime), High speed access from everywhere, Cybersecurity/proactive malware monitoring, access management technologies, including Multifactor authentication and virtual environment access (with data secure)
Infrastructure: Convergence technologies to leverage the cloud more – virtual servers, virtual applications, virtual access, enterprise ease of use strategies that will cater to everyone, not just the tech savvy or certain information workers. Making their home office environment analogous to what they have in the office
Support: Technologies to provide seamless support for all users virtually
How do we adapt fast enough to keep up with the changes and also, how do these technologies play a role in these changes? To be honest, I don’t think we need to look too far. The key will be solid and sustaining technology leadership, with active governance and project management office to methodically manage resources and priorities that align best with the organization. If you are missing any one of these, it will be a lot of chaos, rework and could potentially impact patient care.
Another key concept is a much closer collaboration and partnership with the technology providers. For the technology partners, it shouldn’t be just how many boxes can they sell. It should be, “What are the challenges that my client is going through and how can we help mitigate some of those challenges? What do we have that can potentially help? How can we engage them so that we can establish a win/win scenario for both sides?
A lot to think about, I know. It’s not for the faint of heart. But, we can also see this as a new frontier, a new ground that we will be breaking in for 2021. To boldly go where no one has gone before? Nope. Too corny. How about “Continue to do what’s right for our patients, especially now when they are the most vulnerable?” If you continue to think this way and be consistent about it, good things will happen. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind.
Chief Information Officer