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Nov 20 2017

Out of the Darkness and Into the Light: Five Keys to Sourcing Technology Leaders in an Ever-Changing Healthcare Industry

According to a recent survey, 61 percent of global execs and 78 percent of U.S. execs are concerned about the speed of technological change in their industry. From cyber threats to balancing relationships between man and machine to changes in the competitive landscape, information technology is yet another unpredictable force executives must contend with.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the healthcare industry, where regulatory and economic reshaping constantly increases the pressure on providers and payors to adapt and evolve while new disruptive technologies continue to accelerate the pace of change. Today’s CEO requires a technology leader who can not only keep the lights on and the bad guys out, but one who can also be a forward-thinking advisor on how technology can support the key strategic initiatives of the organization.

Here are five keys to identifying the right technology partner for today and the future:

1. Identify Key Leadership Requirements

According to a study by the consulting firm PwC, nearly 40% of US jobs may be vulnerable to replacement by robots in the next fifteen years. Job automation isn’t science fiction as much as a fact these days, but it does not mean that the machines will replace every box on the org chart, particularly at the top of the pyramid. HCIT leaders must have a vision for the technologies of the future, while leading and inspiring today’s team members. Creating the roadmap to support the organization’s mission as well as recruiting and developing the talent to execute it are key to future success. Specifically defining the desired outcomes for the role as well as the core competencies and leadership skills needed - all within the context of the cultural requirements of the organization - and objectively evaluating leaders and potential future leaders against these criteria is critical for selecting the best leaders for your team.

2. Look Beyond Healthcare

It is easy to suffer from tunnel vision when looking at industry-specific technological changes, but technology transformation is happening everywhere. So why not look beyond healthcare for inspiration? For instance, what companies provide the best mobile apps? How is user experience refined in other fields? Who provides the best customer service? And who are the leaders in data analytics? Only the CEOs who keep an inquisitive mind about the far-reaching consequences of technology will be able to adapt to its drastic changes and leverage it for the good of their company.

3. Require Impeccable Project Management Skills

Technology transformation is probably harder in healthcare than in any other fields. This is, after all, a world where lives are at a stake, with massive quantities of personal information stored across hundreds of thousands of databases.

While startups may feel more nimble and agile than more established providers and payors, the fact remains that technology transformation needs to be anticipated and planned as carefully as possible. Training and buy-ins are critical, as is hiring the best project managers with track records of achieving goals through precise methodology. In short, implementing transformation technology through exact, seamless and effective methods will not only benefit patients, but also providers, management and key stakeholders.

4. Assign Clear Cyber Security Responsibilities

Cybercrime is becoming more widespread each year, and its damages are projected to cost up to $6 trillion annually by 2021. From ransomware to phishing attacks, your company should not be prepared for an attack if it happens, it should put all the odds in its favor for when it happens. In fact, with more than 159M compromised personal records in 2015 alone, the chances are that you have already been a victim, direct or indirect of a cyberattack.

So how does one prepare to deal with cybercrime damages? By clearly defining both an offense and defense strategy. Whether you hire the services of a third-party company or have someone in-house, you should ensure you have a clear defense strategy. This will free time and workload from your IT leader to focus on the offensive plan.

5. Insist on a Talent Development Plan

Future IT leadership talent will still need to be fostered, developed and inspired, particularly in an industry as human-centered as healthcare. Companies who fail to prioritize succession planning and leadership development end up either experiencing a steady attrition in talent or retaining people with outdated skills. The answer? Having the right roles to survive and growing talent as if your company depended on it. By insisting on a detailed and thoroughly thought-out talent development plan, executives and HR can help shape the company’s future and shift their offer from that of specialists to strategists - visionaries with eyes firmly set on the long road ahead rather than short term fixes.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, it is worth reiterating that health care organizations face tremendous challenges in fulfilling ever increasing expectations. To overcome ongoing changes, address complex processes, and achieve the highest levels of performance, they need to shine a light on the tech industry at large, and ensure their own technological leaders can carry a bright torch long into the future of the company.

By Josh Hollander - President and CEO, Horton International USA

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