Two years of COVID-19 have changed the functioning of many organizations and their IT departments. The change in priorities, especially when it comes to issues such as the maintenance of remote and hybrid work models, has affected various industries. But one sector – healthcare – had very different experiences and different needs.

As someone who ran IT for a healthcare provider and has since worked on a number of IT projects in healthcare, I was curious to see what changes the IT departments of hospitals and other healthcare facilities had to invest in and whether these changes would continue to exist in the world. after a pandemic.

All in all

The biggest change I’ve heard from hospital IT staff and the doctors, nurses and administrators they support is that the two groups are collaborating more than before COVID. This was not at all what I expected. While many IT departments have unequal relationships with their end users, the strain on relationships in healthcare organizations is particularly acute and volatile.

A major factor in this regard is the implementation of electronic health record (EHR) systems. Most health organizations were encouraged to adopt the EHR in the late 2000s and early 2010s as the federal government began to insist on their use through HITECH Act of 2009 and as provisions of Affordable Care Act in 2010. Most clinical staff initially saw EHR as problematic, as the use of the systems added extra work to their daily routines and required adjustments to their work processes.

And because the federal government has linked hospital funding to EHR mandates, it also requires healthcare organizations to demonstrate (or certify) that the systems are being used in a meaningful way. In addition to the delivery of the product, IT had to ensure that it was used in specific ways. This was even more frustrating because not only did IT deliver something most doctors and nurses didn’t really want, IT staff had to hang around to make sure it was being used for its intended purpose.

The pandemic – and the burnout of health personnel – have given many IT departments the opportunity to show they can help. As one Florida IT director (who asked for his name and hospital not to be mentioned here for privacy reasons) told me, “For the first time, we really had the opportunity to say, ‘What can we do to help?’ gave us the opportunity to do something we usually fail to do. This allowed us to interact without government requirements behind it. The doctors and nurses liked that we were able and we wanted to get involved at any time we could. “

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