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Southwest gave us an example of dangerous tech debt. Tech debt that can cause cascading issues in your operation. Plus I take a look at four stories in the WSJ on bringing people back to the office. Trend?


Today in health it back to the office and dangerous. Tech debt. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system. And creator of this week health, a set of channels dedicated to keeping health it staff current. And engaged.

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Alright. I was perusing the wall street journal this morning. And , my gosh, came across so many stories. That I just wanted to touch on. Cause I think they have implications to healthcare and healthcare. It, the first is the Southwest airlines. What. What should we call it debacle over the holidays? I had at least two people.

Who were in my house for new year's Eve . And they, , had to drive here from far away places because of, , Southwest airlines, , meltdown. , and there's a couple things that happened and we could go into some of those details. , it's probably a good story about disaster recovery and disaster planning.

And, , processes and procedures and those kinds of things. But one of the things that came to light was that their software is, you know, over a decade old. And I know that many of you health system. A CIO is. And technologists who are listening to this are saying, Hey RC, our software is over 10 years old.

Ah, that's true. And that's why I titled this episode, dangerous tech that cause there is a case to be made that. The, , you know, the software, if it's just running and there's nothing happening in the background, you're going to be fine. And you can keep that thing going. , but, , the minute it gets stressed with something that's a little bit out of the ordinary, it's not dynamic software. It was written in the, you know, in the two thousands or even the late nineties or in some cases in healthcare, the eighties, some of the algorithms and some of the, , underlying.

Technology that we have M and a in Southwest case, they had a, , scheduling platform for their employees. And that's just one of the many things that went wrong. The software stopped working in the middle of this whole thing. And collapsed. And I guess I share this story to say, , this is a case study. This is something that you can use if you're going in and making the case to your CFO.

And other leaders that, , there is dangerous tech debt, there's tech debt, there's normal tech debt, and then there's dangerous tech debt. And you need to identify that before it becomes a. A situation like Southwest airlines head. , all right. I want to go to working from home. Because it's interesting. The economy is going to shift and already has started to shift and is shifting. And we now have, more companies.

Moving workers back into the office. And this isn't just Elon Musk, who is the favorite? Jada today of. Any anyone on social media, this is a, some other companies who are doing this as well. Vanguard group, , pay comm software. , you have, , different companies that they highlight in here that are maybe not bringing them back full time, but they're essentially saying, look, we're three days in the office a week and it's these days it's Monday, Wednesday, Friday, , because they don't want people just showing up Willy nilly.

They want people to actually interact with each other. And that's what they're trying to get past. They actually go a little further with one of the organizations and they have a conversation with them. Early on in the process, they actually brought their 40 person company back into the office and, , almost a third of their.

, employees quit. And they had other options and they took to those options. , and they just went out and kept plugging away and hired people that, , were interested in a hundred percent in the office. And, , they were able to fill their staff with doing that. And now what they're finding, and we're finding this in the tech world as well.

You know, Elon Musk did this At Twitter. And, , I saw an article. Not too long ago where other tech companies are looking at doing the same thing. , bringing their workers back into the office for whatever those reasons are. But anyway, they, they went out and they hired, they replaced people with a hundred percent in the office people. And now there is a trend in their industry of people doing this.

You know, I share this, this specific one. To say the economy's changing and that changes the job market. There's an expectation. There's another article in here. Robust job and wage growth showed signs of cooling in late.

2022. All right. The labor market proved to be resilient stabilizer in 2022. For the U S economy facing the highest inflation of four decades. But with our federal reserve, having raised interest rates at the fastest pace since the early 1980s.

To fight inflation. However, the economy has slowed and effects of that are filtering into hiring and wages. The unemployment rate was 3.7 in November. According to the labor department, just above. Half century lows match earlier in 2022 fed officials forecast the rate to rise to 4.6 in the fourth quarter of 2023.

In projections released in December. So they, they expect. The the changes to the interest rates to finally filter through. And the pace of hiring has definitely cooled off in the second half. Several large employers laid off workers and there's planned job cuts. , including, , , Goldman Sachs, some, a banking companies.

, Metta, Amazon were, , big, , organizations that are doing cuts and significant cuts at that. It's not small cuts. , so anyway, So the market's shifting something to keep an eye on. , companies are starting to bring workers back in a hundred percent or very specific days. Another thing to keep an eye on.

, if I were a leader in a healthcare organization, the, , retention. Is really interesting. It's , I think organizations are finally understanding that losing workers and replacing those workers is not a foregone conclusion in this economy. But in the case, and I know it sounds like I'm talking out of both sides of my mouth because there's data to support.

A lot of different things here. Right. So there were big raises to retain workers last year. And I know that some organizations. Or even going further with expanding their benefits to make sure that they don't lose workers because they've done the analysis and realized that, , losing people, training new people, identifying and recruiting those people is very.

Hard. So, take care of your good workers. That's the other message that's here. And then finally tech layoffs are happening faster than at any time during the pandemic. Areas that were largely spared during the pandemic 2020. Are now among those with the largest numbers of job cuts. And they, obviously they Highlight Mehta and the. , highlight Amazon and others. But the, , the graphs on this are very interesting. That you have the 153,000 tech layoffs. , in 2020. And that's a significant number. In comparison. 2021 saw 15,000. , tech layoffs. And now you're talking about 15,000 to 152,000.

Healthcare related tech companies laid off an estimated 11,000 employees in 2022. So you have that going on. As well, and we saw a lot of, let's say venture backed or private equity backed, or, , even some self-funded organizations do cuts.

, at the end of the year to make sure that they had runway. So a lot of different things to look at why I started with tech debt. And dangerous tech debt. And closing out with a lot of data on, the employment market, how it's changing the expectations of employees. And how that continues to drive.

You know, the policies that we're setting for our. , in-office work environment.

Then finally closing out with just some information on the layoffs that are happening in the tech sector, which I've talked to some. Organizations which are strategically located and that's not the worst thing in the world for them. They've been able to pick up some really good talent. And bring that into their organization, some talent with some different skill sets coming into healthcare. So I'm not always the worst thing in the world. When you see that there are, , layoffs and some cutbacks sometimes.

That, , helps some other industries like ours, like healthcare.

That's all for today. A little bit all over the board today, but, , yeah, I'm trying some things out trying to figure some things out. Well, we'll get into the swing of things as the year unfolds here. You can really help us out if you know of anyone who might benefit from our channels, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

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