By Timothy R. Zoph
We are moving beyond task-oriented technology implementation, such as obtaining meaningful use incentives, and are beginning to realize the true value of technology in terms of measurable returns in productivity, cost, and patient outcomes.
If the evolution of other service industries is any guide, all evidence suggests that achieving IT success is a collective leadership challenge. In the end, benefits from technology are delivered by enlightened teams of healthcare leaders with the CIO in the intersection as an active contributor to both the strategy and technology.
As healthcare leaders come together to govern, sponsor, and execute value-driven technology, they should consider the following topics.Optimization. In our efforts to rapidly acquire, install, and adopt technology, healthcare organizations now own a lot of technology with unrealized capabilities. Unlocking the potential of these technologies to improve quality or reduce costs demands collaboration between IT, finance, and performance improvement. In an increasingly cost-constrained environment, we must optimize what we have and make disciplined choices.Business analytics. We must harness information so that it intelligently guides care, helps us study what works, and demonstrates value. This is a prerequisite step toward accountable care. Ultimately, it's about delivering actionable, trusted information to empower our frontline staff so that they are mindful of larger issues as they go about the daily work of positively impacting the patient experience and clinical outcomes.Patient-centered solutions. Going forward, patient and consumer expectations will demand that we embrace interactive tools, such as portals and mobile applications, to connect with patients, physicians, and employees. Technology will allow for personalization and portability. Patient satisfaction will no longer be exclusively tied to the space and time of a patient visit to your facilities.Innovation and creativity. With our core technology systems in place, leaders will be faced with new tools that allow organizations to build or adapt technology in creative and innovative ways that are unique to their brand and patient experience. This is a fundamental shift from our historical vendor-driven systems and their acquisition and installation approach. A talented IT team, in collaboration with organizational stakeholders, will be able to take ownership for more of their IT destiny by, for example, redesigning user interfaces or developing new application modules.Governance and standards. As we have discovered, IT is too costly and critical to be evaluated with any less rigor than any other capital investment. Along the way, the systems we acquired were from a departmentally-based and function/feature orientation, leaving organizations with a complex and costly array of systems. In the future, we need to operate from a standards-based technology architecture, trending toward a more simplified and rational base of core systems.
This is an exciting and daunting landscape for healthcare leaders. Although there is good reason to pause and plan for this coming era of change, there is also reason for optimism. Incentives have accelerated technology adoption, and the industry is positioned to begin to maximize the benefits of our investments. One certainty is that how we govern and lead IT, in new collaborative and innovative ways, will be our measure of success. Let's look forward and plan together for the exciting changes ahead. I welcome your thoughts and comments.
Timothy R. Zoph is senior vice president, administration/CIO, Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, Chicago. To contact Zoph about this column, email the Leadership editor and we will forward your email to Zoph.
American Express: Streamlining Supplier Payments and Boosting Revenue
Deloitte: Realizing the Potential of Your CDI Program
Suzanne Whitworth, director at Deloitte & Touche LLP, and LaVerne Romberger, MSN, CCM, CCDS, clinical operations manager-Seton Healthcare, share leading practices for maximizing the potential of clinical documentation programs under value-based care.
RevSpring: Customizing a Technology Platform to Drive Patient Payment
Martin Callahan, Senior Vice President, Healthcare Solutions, RevSpring, describes key industry trends affecting how patients engage with the revenue cycle and ways payment processes are changing as a result.
KPMG: Readying for Healthcare Today and Tomorrow
Dion Sheidy, a partner in KPMG's Healthcare Advisory practice, discusses healthcare's changing landscape and how having the right advisor can help organizations navigate challenges and opportunities.
Huron Healthcare: Readying Your Organization for Transformation
Gordon Mountford, executive vice president, Huron Healthcare, discusses business imperatives for undertaking transformative change.
Xtend Healthcare: A Custom Approach to Optimizing Revenue Cycle Performance
Tom O'Neill, CEO of Xtend Healthcare Advanced Revenue Solutions, discusses key areas where organizations risk revenue leakage and ways they can use outsourcing to better protect cash flow and support accurate payment.
KeyBank: Helping You to Realize Your Strategic Vision in Changing Times
Victoria Terekhova, senior strategist for Enterprise Healthcare at KeyBank, discusses key challenges when developing long-term strategy in a rapidly changing industry, and the role the right banking partner can play in helping healthcare providers navigate the opportunities before them.
SSI: Preparing the Revenue Cycle for Changing Payer Roles
Availity: Connect to the Future of Healthcare Information
Deloitte: Leveraging IT for Value-Based Care Transformation