The criticality of technology in healthcare

Technology underpins healthcare’s response to COVID-19, driving the ability to help:

  • Securely and quickly mobilize a virtual workforce
  • Enable virtual care, telemedicine and home care solutions
  • Quickly reflect changes in benefits and regulations
  • Accelerate distribution of critical supplies
  • Automate manual call center processes to redirect workforce to focus on strategic initiatives

How healthcare is changing

As a result of COVID-19, the healthcare landscape has changed in four key areas: care, society, work and foundation.


New interwoven digital and physical experiences, with increased expectations, for effective, trusted and reliable care at a distance.

Mandatory physical distancing has increased usage of virtual care, remote diagnostics, telemedicine, and home health solutions, positioning virtual care as part of the new future.


Increased linkage between care and community to rebuild trust.

New external reporting requirements, combined with new sources of information, can add pressure to already complex legacy data environments.


Rising need for an elastic workforce to address new demands.

The shift to working from home or working in new surge locations (e.g. schools), requires equipping the workforce with remote solutions now, with an expectation that there will be a shift to a higher percentage of work taking place virtually even after the crisis. The increase in remote work is driving an unprecedented increase in phishing attacks, in addition to relaxed security controls in the short term, that will have to be unwound in the long term.


Shift to an agile and boundaryless system prepared for evolving needs.

Business continuity and resiliency plans are shining a spotlight on gaps in dynamic, scalable technology and sourcing solutions. The criticality of technology in the COVID-19 response is presenting an opportunity for CIOs to elevate their role as a strategic leader of transformation, but in a world with heavy financial pressures.

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How to respond—now

Healthcare organizations should prioritize six key focus areas:

1. Enable the virtual workforce

Support the virtual worker with remote network, end-user devices, collaboration tools and operational support capabilities

2. Scale for extraordinary circumstances

Accelerate cloud, simplified architecture, automation, and alternative sourcing solutions to meet unanticipated demand; consider potential partnerships

3. Establish elastic security and compliance

Advance security to create elastic solutions and processes that adapt to changes in regulation while expanding the ability to protect information

4. Power care and operations with better insight

Activate the organization to operate with speed and agility, using data and analytics to inform decisions and assess critical impacts to operations

5. Enable new digital and virtual care solutions

Enable virtual care delivery, remote diagnostics, telemedicine and digital home health solutions

6. Elevate the role of technology

Position CIO as a strategic, agile leader that sets the stage for short-term recovery and long-term transformation and financial resiliency

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The now, next and future

For each focus area, healthcare may need a sequence of actions timed to keeping the lights on “now”, recovering and adapting “next” and planning for transformation in the future.

Now—keep the lights on
The immediate focus for technology should be ensuring business continuity, scaling to meet demand, securing of information, and stabilization of core systems, while managing the health and wellness of the IT organization.

Next—recover and adapt
Healthcare should next consider how to recover, and then adapt to changing markets and operations that will likely remain in place once the crisis has been brought under control.

New future—transform capabilities
As companies move out of recovery, healthcare will likely have the opportunity to transform for resiliency, taking advantage of technology innovation to build an even stronger future.

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