I’ve spent over 30 years in healthcare leadership roles and have served as CIO for several hospitals and health systems. One of the largest challenges I’ve faced is ensuring technology improves point-of-care environments without burdening clinical workflows.

Solutions that would revolutionize many care environments are already available, but they are often underutilized. To maximize investments and improve care, technologists need to gain buy-in for initiatives and fully integrate the proper tools into environments. By focusing more on how technology impacts clinical workflows, IT can better contribute to more efficient healthcare.

From a leadership point of view, the ROI of a solution determines its real value, and impactful results can require going beyond compulsory requisites of a job. If a team meets all the formal requirements to close out a contract, it doesn’t mean they conducted an adequate point-of-care environment review. Similarly, potential benefits must be properly leveraged. The purported capabilities of a new system may sound great in a presentation, but capabilities don’t translate into results if you haven’t filled the gaps in the way care is delivered.

Healthcare systems may invest in cutting-edge solutions, but these solutions won’t provide value if clinicians work around them. When engaging in healthcare technology, I encourage IT teams and project managers to complete a physical walk-through of the hospital and truly observe the patient care environment. When the teams interact with clinicians and patient networks, they can better gauge end-user needs and contribute to the greater organizational ecosystem.

Technologists are now seeing an exciting transition in healthcare IT. I entered the field in 1981, near the beginning of the information age. When I started in healthcare, PCs weren’t used anywhere in the hospital, and departmental teams had very little computing power to do things on their own. Now, we’ve got the cloud, free general domain options and a new generation of clinicians that have grown up with ever-present technology.

As the industry undergoes a paradigm shift, IT involvement and understanding of the point-of-care environment will be more crucial than ever. If technologists can get more involved in the greater value stream, we’ll see IT make a more dramatic impact at the bedside.

As an active member of the HIT community, I’ve been closely involved with HIMSS for over 20 years. I’ve served as an education session reviewer and mentor and will be a session ambassador at the HIMSS17 conference. More recently, I started working at T2 Tech Group. As a company, we plan to make technology valuable by bringing our skills and experience to directly benefit patient care. To continue this dialog about healthcare technology advancement at the upcoming HIMSS conference, please reach out to meet me and my team for dinner or coffee in Orlando.