IT as a Strategic Partner in Clinical Outcomes
Over the past 18 months, there have been numerous articles by the big consulting firms touting the importance of IT partnering with business units to play a more strategic role in the organization. With technology becoming integral to everyday business processes and to creating a differentiating user experience, common sense tells us this is true.
But what about healthcare? Can IT actually impact clinical outcomes? We believe it can, and it was nice to see this article from Health Data Management talk about the changing roles of healthcare CIOs and CMIOs.
I have spent my life working with brilliant, creative and driven IT professionals. The best of them have helped me to think bigger and see what is possible, not avoid what is hard or uncomfortable. So, when I enthusiastically dove headfirst into healthcare, I was surprised to run into passive IT organizations. They looked to their EHR vendors to tell them what their strategic IT “roadmap” would be for the coming year. No other industry would let a vendor dictate their strategy.
So why is healthcare different, particularly when the health and financial costs associated with this approach are staggering?
Historically, health IT (outside of the OR, ER and imaging) was about billing. Then came the EHR. Adoption has been difficult and all consuming. We got tunnel vision. We were overwhelmed with compliance and penalty avoidance and lost clear sight of how our customers (patients and providers) want to engage with us.
More recently many health systems jumped on the mobile band wagon, but sustained use is limited and clinical impact is rarely measured. For most organization, it was a reactive tactic vs. a strategic initiative. So now, IT finds itself resetting its strategic course. Which means it’s a great time to partner with the rest of the organization to improve the user experience, health outcomes and financial health.
It’s time to strategically transform care delivery systems. Systems that improve health outcomes, profits and sustainability. Be it virtual care or virtual reality. Remote monitoring or remote access. Connecting doctors, connecting patients, connecting information. CIOs and CMIOs are in the unique position to help clinicians explore the myriad ways to simplify connections between people, and between people and content. They can also guide EHR vendors towards more open, modular solutions that can adapt to their strategies, and not the other way around.
IT is filled with creative people and strategic thinkers. They are also in the unique position to help envision and deploy care delivery systems that make it easy for patients to comply with their care plans and collaborate with doctors and peers in support of improved health outcomes. Outcomes that can directly impact your organization’s bottom line.
Help your teams leverage the hundreds of innovative new m-health and e-health products and services that can make interacting in their health more effective and pleasurable. Weave in solutions that can help analyze, diagnose, remotely monitor, and engage patients in their care. Strategies that can simplify collaboration and virtually extend care teams. Give patients access to the “right” care and information, just when they need it – making it easier and more convenient to reach a doctor, nurse or mental health professional.
It’s time to view compliance and privacy as opportunities and not barriers. The offer new ways to connect people and share information within a rich digital health ecosystem. We are only limited by our imagination and willingness to do what is right for all of our stakeholders – the patient, the provider and the payer.