The next iteration of health IT teams won’t think outside the box — they’ll ignore the box

Hospital and health system IT teams were stretched thin during the pandemic to rapidly scale virtual care and remote work during the pandemic.

They were tasked with ensuring efficiency and security in telehealth and remote collaboration to respond to COVID-19 while also keeping the in-hospital systems functioning and fast-tracking innovations that would lead to better clinical analytics, data insights and patient outcomes. The pandemic forever changed what is perceived as possible for health IT teams. What will the next generation of leaders and teams look like?

Orange, Calif.-based CHOC Children’s Chief Technology Officer Adam Gold shares his insights.

Adam Gold: The next five years will bring challenges to health IT never seen before. The recent pandemic has significantly raised the bar in terms of an organization’s expectations of its IT department. We have shown that we can deliver valuable solutions in record time; shown our clinicians that we are here to support them; and most importantly, shown our patients that our efforts are all centered on them and their well-being. Over the next five years, we will see IT departments start to develop ‘remote first’ solutions that will be focused on enabling clinical care from just about anywhere.

I’m not talking about developing solutions that start at the facility and eventually become a remote option; I foresee solutions being developed by health IT that start as remote solutions and evolve from there. We will also begin to see a change in thinking around what remote care could really look like. We have already proven during these challenging times that we can deliver just about anything using remote teams and new technologies. Now, it’s going to be about how we leverage this new agility and bring a better experience to our clinicians and patients. This prediction falls outside of what traditional telehealth is to us today.

The future will be more about a true delivery model for remote care that is agile enough to adapt to the next pandemic, social uprising or whatever else the future has in store for us. The new teams that will be formed will be focused not on thinking outside the box, but on ignoring the box all together. This prediction may not seem bold now, but imagine an IT department empowered to ‘ignore the box’ and develop solutions that far exceed what the normal development process would have produced. The situation that we have been thrusted in has empowered us to work that way, and I don’t see that changing.

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