by adgrooms on March 11, 2020

Medical and healthcare institutions are always looking to build their staff with the best people for the job. Understandably, you make the most investment into clinical staff because clinical care comprises your core competency. They make the case for patients to trust your institution. But your clinical staff needs strong support staff also, increasingly in your information technology department.

In healthcare, technology is a central piece for many aspects of care delivery. It needs to work flawlessly in support of clinicians and patients. There is an overwhelming number of technology choices to be made and security risks that require prevention. Your clinical ecosystem depends on good advisors and strong IT teams. Budget constraints can make it challenging to attract the best talent, or keep the ones you do hire from gaining experience and going elsewhere. How can you build a high performing team in healthcare on a limited budget?

1. Invest heavily in one proven asset

You need a good leader to anchor your IT team. This is a rare individual who is experienced, technically strong, and proven in the field of IT leadership. Excellent people skills are a must as they will not only need to lead the IT team but be able to communicate well with clinical staff. This person will be challenging to find and retain, but the investment will pay dividends over time in a well run IT department.

2. Invest the rest in young trainees

Once you find your experienced leader, let them set the strategy and training plan, then give them people that can execute. They can take young, malleable talent and shape a team that has a cohesive vision and the proper skills. Less experienced, entry-level IT personnel are less expensive to hire and less likely to bring in a pre-conceived way of doing things.

3. Invest in automation

There is a saying in technology that there are three cardinal virtues: laziness, impatience, and hubris. While this doesn't seem to fit with healthcare, hear us out. * A lazy IT person will automate a task so they can work on more interesting problems. * An inpatient IT person wants the computer to respond quickly and will invest time in removing bottlenecks. * Hubris in an IT person can lead to them ensure problems are prevented. People only call IT when something is wrong or not working correctly. Pride makes them never want to get that call.

These virtues lead to your IT workers to proactively solve problems and automate repetitive tasks. Inadvertently, they are more efficient and can focus efforts on higher-level issues such as security threats. Outsourcing some tasks can help keep your IT team lean and save on the cost of developing in house processes and solutions.

4. Partner with entrepreneurs

You can get excellent value in technology services by partnering with entrepreneurs and small businesses. They have the agility to tackle specific problems quickly. You can also have a hand in developing new software solutions. Beta pricing when you try out new software can help you save money. They are also great at customer service; it's like having IT staff augmentation without having to pay for more employees. We did a post on working with small tech companies if you want to read more.

5. Incentivize with unique perks

Healthcare organizations can offer benefits that employees cannot receive elsewhere. They could provide incentives through care coverage. Insurance is expensive and doesn't cover much for employees, no matter what industry. But healthcare institutions are uniquely capable of offering care at steeply discounted rates for employees. Incentives help attract and keep those support employees that make less in salary. Offer increased benefits over time to improve retention.

As healthcare grows more connected, and technology evolves, you need good talent in your IT department now more than ever. It is challenging to acquire and retain people when there are budget constraints, but there are creative ways to meet your technology needs.