The biggest challenge in IT isn't tech — it's building a culture of collaboration

Compared to the difficulties of attracting and retaining a team of collaborative, forward-thinking people, technology is "the easy part" of IT, according to Charles Podesta, CIO of UC Irvine Medical Center.

During a keynote panel Oct. 8 at the Becker's Hospital Review Health IT + RCM conference in Chicago, Mr. Podesta discussed the top priorities and biggest challenges to health IT. He was joined by fellow panelists Eric Yablonka, CIO of Stanford Health Care and Stanford Medicine, Paul Black, CEO of Allscripts, Bruce Metz, PhD, vice president and CIO of UConn Health, and Stephanie Gravenor, co-founder and CEO of Medecipher Solutions.

It's a straightforward process for CIOs to partner with tech vendors and trusted advisors who can guide a healthcare organization through the process of implementing advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain.

"The real challenge is the people," Mr. Podesta said. "Nothing's really easy in healthcare, but compared to the culture and the people that you need to successfully run an organization, I view technology as the easy part because there are experts you can bring in to help you."

Other challenges described by Mr. Yablonka include the increasing complexity of healthcare and the need to coordinate care across platforms. Additionally, he said, "The people who consume our services are much more sophisticated. They don't just consume them — they demand that we respond to their needs in ways that we perhaps didn't have to 10 or 15 years ago."

Moving forward, according to Dr. Metz, technology will continue to drive change and transform healthcare business models. "There's going to be continued technology development, there's going to be heightened consumer expectations, there's going to be more commoditization of care and there's going to be greater financial demands placed on consumers," he said.

The only constant in all this uncertainty? "Nobody knows where this all goes," Dr. Metz said.

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