The Evolution of IT Expectations

During my morning scan if trade newsletters, a blog post in TechRepublic addressing the changing view of IT departments caught my eye:

Today, most of these employees are on at least their third or fourth new PC at home. A lot of them have smartphones. Some of them even carry their own personal laptops or tablets. Millions of them have personal email through Gmail or Yahoo Mail and love the seamless online ordering at Amazon.com. A few of the really advanced ones are even managing their personal files across multiple devices with cloud services like Dropbox.

So when IT tries to deploy them outdated computers, or enforces limits on the size of email attachments, or makes web applications that are nearly impossible to use, or doesn’t allow employees to check the corporate calendar from their personal smartphones, then these employees no longer see the IT department as an enabler. They view it as a roadblock to progress.

I would take this observation a bit further. Recently, while sitting in my parent’s house, I saw 4 smart phones, 2 iPads, a laptop, and a desktop all in use with a group of about 10 people. The users ranged in age from teens to senior citizens and while the kids seemed to be most comfortable, even the senior citizens were discussing updating their Facebook statuses.

We have all seen or experienced the IT roadblock at one time or another. You have likely said or heard any or all of these:

  • “Why can’t I use my iPhone to view my labs?”
  • “What do you mean our email system does not support Android?”
  • “Windows XP! Are you kidding me!?!?”

The answers from IT departments are always the same.

  • “There are security risks.”
  • “We have budget constraints and limited resources.”
  • Or my favorite, “We don’t know how to support those.”

The bottom line is, we must find a way to embrace the new technologies. The user of today is one who spends significant portions of their day viewing and sending content on mobile devices, monitoring the activities of their friends, and generally commenting on their experiences. These are the users who can spread the word of good service just as quickly as bad. By embracing new technologies, healthcare organizations can improve the patient experience and start to alter the way people view healthcare delivery.

Today’s healthcare consumer is not the same as yesterday’s and it is time for us to realize change has happened before our eyes.

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