Role of the IT Department

Role of the IT Department
How ePHI has changed the role of the IT Department

Written by Sheryl J. Cherico, CEO Tier3MD

Over the years, the role of the IT department has changed considerably.  The IT staff you choose is very important.  Whether it be in-house or outsourced.  Over the years, we have seen many changes in the role of the IT department.  The have become invaluable.T

Years ago when I started in the IT business, we were important.  We had the thankless job of making sure everyone can log in, print and check their email.  We are still important, but now people are taking notice!


With emergence of the Electronic Health Record, practices have gone from LOW tolerance for downtime to NO tolerance to downtime.  IT departments in hospitals and medical practices are working to provide triple redundancy, back up generators and fail over internet connections.   Some are moving to the cloud.   When systems go down, Physicians cannot treat patients.  That creates a whole new role for the IT department.


Then there is the security.  Ever heard of HIPAA?  That has certainly changed the scope of the IT department!  It is imperative that your IT staff understand the HIPAA rules, and how to securely protect your electronic patient information.  Years ago when you only had charts, you simply need to put a keypad on the door.  Now, you have to do employee background checks, document your procedures for accessing ePHI, put policies in place to view medical records, document how you terminate employees, password management, etc.  You even have to have a policy for when you get up from your workstation.


A good IT staff is important to securing your ePHI, and to keep your practice running.  It’s not just the “guy” who comes in when you have a problem.  The IT staff is a vital part of your practice.


Things have certainly changed.  I’m very biased!  Your IT staff is IMPORTANT!