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For Healthcare Providers: Staying Agile with IT in Accelerating Times

With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the practice of working remotely and implementing applications that limit in-person interaction is the new norm.

Hospitals and health systems are at the forefront of this global crisis, and many are struggling with managing the IT infrastructural challenges created by the sudden massive demand for remote technology.

Many health providers have made the decision to replace traditional office visits and other in-person services with telemedicine to limit the spread of the virus. While these shifts have created immediate solutions for business operations, are the organizations really prepared for bandwidth and other IT challenges coming in the long run? We’re all entering an “uncharted new territory” filled with uncertainties because of the pandemic, and it’s important leadership teams view this as the early stages of technologically ramping up so they don’t make the mistake of misunderstanding their IT needs and priorities.

As we’re seeing first-hand, conditions in a market or sector can turn on a dime, and your decision-making must be able to do the same thing. Management teams should use an agile methodology when entering an IT situation that is rapidly changing, like the current landscape, as this approach is sensitive and highly adaptive at every step of the project process, producing effective solutions that evolve as the situation does. The agile approach includes continuous iterations, reflections and multiple deliveries, allowing companies to quickly adapt to ever-changing business needs while providing an innovative framework.

As health organizations continue to be challenged to provide continuity of care and the same high quality of service while keeping clinicians safe and healthy, we anticipate IT issues arising in numerous areas, including:

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  • Bandwidth: As more employees try to log on to the office network from the outside, and as more patients turn to remote options to screen for the virus, will you be ready to handle this surge in users?
  • Security: Do you have FMA or other security measures in place? Having your employees work remotely without a secure infrastructure or the necessary governance can increase your risk of cyber attacks.
  • Cybersecurity: With a surge in the number of external users, the risk of phishing emails and other issues related to privacy and security surges, too. What measures have you taken to ensure that your employees and your patients are both protected?
  • Infrastructure Capacity: Do you have enough licenses to support your remote workers? Can your hardware support the additional load? Do you have a robust virtual desktop environment?
  • Support: Do you have the governance and capabilities to support all your remote workers, helping them diagnose problems, test their network, and remotely manage their devices?
  • Projects: Are all projects on hold as your staff deals with supporting your remote employees? Are you now rushing to purchase laptops and upgrade hardware? Don’t let these tasks get you off track of your long-term goals and projects.

The agile mindset can help and empower healthcare providers to succeed not only during today’s uncertain times, but also as needs continue to evolve post-pandemic. Though everything is in flux, the effort to still be proactive in response to IT should always remain a top consideration.

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