Transforming Patient Care With IT Infrastructure Modernization

Leaders in healthcare IT are building a culture of innovation with collaboration between administrators, caregivers, and IT departments, experts say.

When asked to grade their organization’s current IT modernization efforts, 80 percent of healthcare IT decision-makers gave their organization an “A” or “B,” according to recent research. Leaders also said legacy infrastructure cannot scale fast enough to support or secure the data-intensive modern applications today’s clinicians need to improve patient outcomes. The majority feel technical debt holds them back.

Jim Bilsky, vice president of enterprise IT operations at Baptist Health, said on a recent webinar that overcoming technical debt is a challenge that requires the support and engagement of senior leadership as well as strategic partners.

“For us, it was building out a lifecycle plan … bringing visibility and transparency to what’s in the environment, the cost of maintaining that, and then bringing [a] common sense approach to how we spend the capital dollars that were provided to bring those varying infrastructure components to a current state, and just working through that with our senior leadership team,” he said.

Steve Lazer, global healthcare and life sciences CTO at Dell Technologies, stressed that finding ways to optimize delivery of care can ease the resource challenges healthcare systems face, with appropriate, measured, and careful risks. Transformative organizations are taking a step-by-step approach to bring in new capabilities.

“Overcoming that legacy thinking is something of a challenge. [We’re] looking at new ways to go in and deliver capabilities. As we all know, healthcare is struggling at the moment – they’re struggling from a resource perspective, whether that be staffing or financial perspective,” he said.

Panelists discussed one of the most significant challenges in healthcare IT – their industry is a prime target for cyberattacks. MeriTalk’s research found that 86 percent of healthcare IT leaders say outdated IT leaves their organization vulnerable to potential cyber threats.

As organizations deploy new tools to engage with more patients, such as edge computing applications, artificial intelligence, and eventually quantum computing, IT leaders are using layered security solutions to keep up with bad actors.

“We definitely use a lot of layers, not relying on one technology, to hopefully catch everything, so [we] have some complementary and overlapping technologies at every layer from the endpoint to the edge to help,” Bilsky said.

The panelists said modernization efforts can deliver improved collaboration between providers, increase access to virtual care, and enhance organizational efficiency.

“Looking at those technologies, they are becoming very, very advanced. They offer many, many different opportunities from a healthcare and life sciences perspective, especially as we start to look at the capabilities that we can bring out to the field and start to look at those virtual care capabilities, look at the remote-patient monitoring capabilities, hospital at home capabilities.” Lazer said.

For more insight, view the webinar on demand.