The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the healthcare community with many unexpected challenges. Organizations entered into 2020 with thorough budgets and project plans, and teams that were structured to execute those plans. 

Then, a worldwide crisis changed everything.

First of all, it’s OK to not have planned for a potentially once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. However,  you should be concerned if you’re lacking a recovery plan which sets out to improve current processes or to adjust to a new set of priorities. 

An effective recovery plan for any healthcare team must meet the following criteria:

  • Allow for continued excellence in patient care and outcomes
  • Re-evaluate departmental priorities to address the changing healthcare landscape 
  • Ensure that all departments are prepared for the new priorities in the second half of 2020
  • Establish a mantra of improvement, innovation, and excellence

In healthcare IT, you can assume that every organization has had their 2020 plans torn up. Now, teams are scrambling to continue to address the needs of managing pandemic priorities while planning for what’s ahead. While technology is at the forefront of these solutions, you must focus on your most valuable resource – your IT team. Getting there requires thoughtful planning, an understanding of the current state of your team, and where you hope to be.

The Effects of COVID-19 on HIT Teams

During the pandemic, organizations were forced to make difficult decisions and, in some cases, implement drastic changes to their IT staff. Many organizations had to lower their headcount by either laying off team members or furloughing staff for a period of time. According to a June 2020 report in Becker’s, nearly 300 organizations had furloughed staff as a result of pandemic concerns. The question now is when, if ever, will these professionals be able to return to “business as usual?” 

Shifting Priorities

Naturally, organizations may be anxious to bring members of their teams back to work as soon as possible. However, leaders must ensure that the team is equipped to handle the new priorities that have been identified during this time of change. Many organizations have established an aggressive training initiative to get their team refocused in order to address new initiatives, but what happens when your current team does not match the needs of your shifting priorities?  Organizations can always expand their headcount by hiring new members to the team, but that may not be feasible due to a freeze in capital expenditures. The next logical course of action is to bring on temporary staff with consulting expertise to augment the team.

The Right Team for the Job

Organizations need to be cautious of slipping back into what’s comfortable and simply adding back the consultants they cut loose in the beginning stages of their pandemic response. While this may bring the team back to size, their skill sets may not align well with the expertise that is now required. The good news is that the labor pool of available healthcare IT consultants is at an all-time high. This means that the likelihood of finding great talent that matches the evolving needs of the organization is extremely high.  

Remote Possibilities

Additionally, the pool of available, experienced talent has grown even more due to the willingness of organizations to embrace a remote workforce. The realities of working during a pandemic have shown that remote workers can truly be as productive as in-office talent. In fact, there are some organizations that have expressed that their team is actually more productive working remotely than in the traditional office setting.

Your Healthcare IT plans and priorities may have changed due to COVID-19, but one thing hasn’t changed – the importance of optimal staffing and hiring. Learn how Medix Technology’s expertise can help you build the right team for your recovery plans by contacting our team today!

About the Author:
Tony Catalano is Medix Technology’s Managing Partner. He is an industry innovator, leading companies into unexplored territory toward revenue-generating opportunities and cost-saving automation. Tony is adept at leading business-wide functional and IT transformation programs.