(206) 686-4400 ext. 13

(206) 686-4400 ext. 13

Henley Leadership Group Blog

How Covid-19 Has Changed What We Think About IT

Telehealth 600x300

Previously published on ForbesThere’s a lot of well-deserved praise and press right now for the doctors, nurses, techs and other healthcare workers who are doing their jobs under incredibly difficult circumstances. We are all deeply grateful for their skill and dedication under fire. The reports coming out of the front lines of this crisis are both heartbreaking and inspiring.

There’s another group in the healthcare environment that’s also stepping up, and in ways that frequently go unnoticed: the information technology people. Often tucked away in the far reaches of the building, IT workers have had to adapt quickly to a whole new world in healthcare. A big part of their job is now about ensuring that people can connect, collaborate and stay in communication.

The IT folks are also serving in ways they might not ever have imagined before. In some hospitals, they’ve become patient liaisons, helping those whose families cannot come visit them stay connected by providing iPads and other technical tools to allow patients to “see” their loved ones remotely. As way of reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness, this is vital to the patient’s healing and recovery. Who would have thought the IT guy would be offering service and support to patients?

After hearing more and more about this, I became curious. How are the leaders of IT in healthcare doing? What are they paying attention to now?

To find out, I spoke with Jeff Tenant, VP of Healthcare Information Strategy & Services at ROI Healthcare Solutions. Jeff had recently hosted a roundtable with a combination of CIOs and Clinical Leaders in which Skip Rollins from Freeman Health System in Missouri, Linda Stevenson from Fisher Titus in Ohio, James Reed and Joshua Tenant from Conway Regional Health System in Arkansas, and former CMIO Dr. John-Paul Jones from Centra Health in Virginia all shared their perspectives.

Three themes emerged from the roundtable discussion: changing, expanding and preparing. Specifically, changing the role of the IT Leader, expanding the use and engagement of technology in the delivery of healthcare and preparing for the next crisis.