Why IT Is Vital to Chicago Hospitals and Healthcare

By Kelcie Bechely on July 18, 2017 in Healthcare, IT Hiring


There’s a reason healthcare facilities in Chicago and across the country are frantically seeking tech talent. Hospitals are heavily reliant on properly working technology, and each week news reports surface that both inspire and terrify healthcare CIOs and doctors. IT has proven it has the power to drive innovation in the healthcare industry, but at the same time this increasing reliance on technology poses a danger that requires the skills of top tech talent to balance appropriately.

Hospital Safety Relies on Technology

Safety is one of the most important focuses of hospital operations, and it ensures that the marriage of healthcare and technology is here to stay. Within tools such as MRI machines, medical lasers, and ventilators, there are computer programs keeping them operating correctly. Should a system go down in the middle of a critical procedure such as a heart bypass, it could be disastrous. Not only does this pose a risk to a patient’s life, but it’s a massive liability to a hospital. Lawsuits, insurance problems, and the loss of the public’s trust in an institution’s capabilities could cripple even the best healthcare providers.

Recently, ransomware attacks have interrupted services at businesses, schools, public infrastructure, and even hospitals. The WannaCry virus hit over 300,000 machines, and was due to an exploit found in outdated software. While a local business may be able to justify running an outdated operating system if they don’t house much sensitive information, a hospital does not have this luxury. Not only are hospital records some of the most private, but staying vulnerable to ransomware that can seize medical devices is not an acceptable risk to take.

Big Data Boosts Healthcare Efficiency

Healthcare that utilizes the power of big data analytics translates into a higher level of service at every interaction point for a patient. Improved, more accurate medical record keeping means a patient’s history, allergies, medication, insurance information, and doctor’s notes can all talk to each other and result in better health diagnoses and plans that are tailored to the individual. When a patient enters an emergency room, all this information can be made available to an ER physician within seconds, allowing them to make an accurately informed analysis while reducing readmissions for the same ailment.

Hospitals have at least one commonality with hotels: empty beds are costly. Unfortunately, 76 hospitals across Illinois are filling less than 50% of their beds, and it’s not just old facilities feeling the pain. The right IT talent can analyze a hospital’s mountain of big data and assist in making operations more efficient and productive. In fact, the most advanced hospitals in the world have already been able to use big data to predict their admission rates. Such valuable information could help hospitals more appropriately plan staff and resources around possible empty beds. With such potential for cost savings, it’s no wonder that Data Scientist is one of the most in-demand jobs in Chicago right now.

For an in-depth look at tech hiring in Chicago, click here for your 2017 IT & Creative Salary Guide.

AI Is Revolutionizing the Industry

Artificial Intelligence is a gamechanger for many industries, including healthcare. Spending on AI in healthcare is expected to increase tenfold to over $6 billion by 2021, a sure sign the technology is here to stay. The reason for this rapid growth is due to the striking potential of AI. Since it can learn and make informed decisions, AI has the potential to make cancer diagnoses, save doctors time while increasing accuracy, and even improve payment integrity. Nowhere is this more transparent than in Chicago. GE is aggressively investing in medical AI, and maintains its health care division in the area. The #3 healthcare AI company in the country is a Chicago-based startup. Additionally, there are AI in healthcare conferences creating buzz and taking place in the heart of the city.

While all this activity and the promise of innovation is thrilling for the healthcare industry, it is amplifying the pre-existing talent shortage in IT. A candidate with an AI skill set is in a tech niche, and increasing demand for their talent is making them harder to find. As more and more healthcare providers and hospitals look to harness the revolutionary power of AI, the competition for talent that can introduce this technology into an organization and monitor it will heat up further.

Why IT Is Vital to Chicago Hospitals and Healthcare

Technology holds great potential to increase the safety, efficiency, and innovation of a healthcare organization, but only when the best tech talent is on board. In addition to new hospitals being erected in neighboring areas such as Crystal Lake and New Lenox, Chicagoland CIOs will have to compete with organizations in nearly every other industry when seeking IT staff. With the added concern of growing cyberthreats, it’s never been more important to find a quick and effective healthcare IT staffing solution.

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