ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES — American healthcare firms are shifting to outsourcing their information technology professionals instead of laying them off.
Several healthcare firms like Care New England, Novant Health, Franciscan Alliance, and West Reading have opted to send their IT staff to third-party partners.
Franciscan Alliance moved 61 IT workers to R4 Solutions, a California-based managed services provider specializing in healthcare information services. The digital staff will continue to work on projects for Franciscan Alliance.
To aid in its digital transition to Amazon Web Service and Epic, Care New England outsourced nearly 160 employees to tech firm Kyndryl, a spinoff company of IBM.
“I think it’s a trend,” said Care New England Chief Information Officer Tom Gregorio, per Becker’s Healthcare. “You’re finding more and more organizations like mine wanting to focus their attention on clinical practice, their patients and that growth.”
A number of healthcare companies have slashed their digital workforce amid financial malleabilities in the industry. Kaiser Permanente laid off 115 IT positions nationwide. Mass General Brigham, citing the rapid tech evolution within the industry, fired 20 IT positions.
Scott Arnold, Tampa General Hospital’s chief digital and innovation officer, understands the financial bottlenecks healthcare firms face. Still, he believes that reducing its IT staff should not be at the top of the hospital’s to-do list to cut costs.
“With that said, technology is an enabler for lowering expenses through automation, so IT should not necessarily be the first place to cut in a financial pinch if value can be identified and delivered,” Arnold said.
Meanwhile, Joyce Oh, CIO of Moffitt Cancer Center, believes there’s a stigma surrounding digital systems, as management still views it as a “cost center.”
“There is a paradigm shift that still needs to fully manifest in healthcare where technology is viewed as a business driver, an enabler of new capabilities, a new channel for patient acquisition, and a toolbox that can bring about increased efficiencies and economies of scale,” Oh pointed out.