8 Key Roles to Consider when Building Your IT Team

Matt RileyCloud Computing, Cybersecurity & Compliance, Healthcare IT, Performance & Availability, Predictable IT Costs

When your patient has a complex health condition like diabetes, cancer or chronic pain, your clinical team likely assembles a team of providers that, together, manage the patient’s care to optimize the outcome. Each member of the team has a designated specialty and contributes unique skills to the patient’s overall care.

Likewise, the technology within your practice requires a multi-disciplinary team of technology professionals to maximize the health and performance of your system. You’ll need generalists in some areas and specialists in others.

Over nearly two decades in healthcare IT, we’ve seen many different IT team structures, from dysfunctional IT teams to well-coordinated IT teams that brought their practice to new levels of growth and success.

Assuming you want the latter for your practice, here are the IT roles to consider when assembling your IT team:

  1. Support Analyst
    Like a general practitioner, your Support Analyst will field the everyday aches and pains of your users. Depending on the size of your practice, you may employ one or many Support Analysts.
  2. Networking Specialist
    The length of time your providers have to wait between clicks will largely depend on how your efficiently network is configured. Hire someone who specializes in configuring networks that can optimize performance for practices like yours.
  3. System Operations Specialist
    The System Operations Specialist will ensure servers are operating at their peak performance by identifying necessary patches, monitoring system performance and troubleshooting user issues that arise.
  4. Storage Specialist
    With the implementation of electronic health records and the evolution of applications that consume unprecedented amounts of data, data storage has become a growing concern and a growing cost. Storage specialists will be able to implement initiatives, like tiered storage or storage virtualization, that help keep storage costs under control while optimizing performance.
  5. Application Specialist
    Application Specialists will become your product champions and go-to resources for the intricacies of your most vital applications. Each specialist’s unique skills will allow you to design each application in a streamlined way to maximize performance of each application.
  6. Chief Security Officer (CSO) or Security Officer
    Under HIPAA’s Security Rule, “a covered entity must designate a security official who is responsible for developing and implementing its security policies and procedures.” The Security Officer should also keep abreast of cybersecurity threats and trends, best practices and prevention techniques.
  7. Chief Information Officer (CIO)
    The CIO will align the IT strategies with the overall business goals. This role will also be a liaison to the executive team and be an advocate for IT initiatives and advancement.
  8. Clinical IT Specialist
    The person in this role has a unique skillset. They understand the power and importance of technology, but also how it will impact and improve clinical operations, like reporting and reimbursement, patient satisfaction and provider adoption of technology.

Assembling the right IT team for your practice can take your practice to new levels of growth and success. Conversely, not having the right team in place can slow growth and hold the practice back.

Not all practices can hire the team they need to catapult the practice forward, whether due to recruiting challenges brought on by a limited talent pool, retention challenges in a highly competitive market or capex challenges of hiring that many full-time staff. In fact, most practices will not need full-time iterations of any of these, but need part-time assistance on all of these. These practices often partner with an outsourced healthcare IT team like Netgain to gain instant access to the expertise and resources they need to achieve their goals at a much more flexible and predictable monthly cost.