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Un-complicating Healthcare IT

Create A Community Hospital IT Plan That Delivers Real Value

Jul 30, 2015 9:49:00 AM Posted by Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

Create A Community Hospital IT Plan That Delivers Real ValueYour community hospital’s IT shouldn’t be a painful necessity driven by compliance deadlines or shortsighted project implementation. It should be a strategic, proactive lever that elevates your patient experience, enables clinicians to do their jobs better, and helps you achieve your financial and operational goals.

Most people think “good hospital IT” is simply a question of technology. But here’s a powerful secret: technology only matters if every piece of the IT environment — technology, people and process — is aligned toward a common objective.

For you, that’s patient value.

Nail patient value, and clinician value and business success follow. Here’s three ways to align your IT plan to patient value and get started on the road to IT success.

Create A Lean Environment

Embrace lean healthcare. Remember, your technology is a means to an end goal: delivering the best patient care possible. Lean healthcare emphasizes planning and improving all aspects of your hospital to drive patient value at all points. A lean approach moves the IT conversation away from “how do we install this technology” toward “how does this increase value for our patients?” If executed correctly, your clinicians and IT team will strive for a common goal instead of struggling to reconcile individual needs.

Create An IT Steering Team

Bring together key stakeholders to assess your IT effectiveness and create a proactive plan for improvement.

Shoot for a cross-functional representation of your organization: about eight people or less, including C-Suite members and key department heads. This is your IT planning and governance team, responsible for guiding your IT through an operational and financial lens, reviewing key effectiveness metrics and considering how improvements help you meet your objectives faster, easier and safer.

  • Your community hospital’s IT steering team meets monthly, not just surrounding a specific project or implementation, and has a concrete agenda to follow.
  • Your steering team creates a resource plan, allocating human, budgetary and technical resources intelligently to ensure your hospital’s technology yields actual ROI instead of shiny new machines with little value.  
  • Your steering team focuses primarily on patient value and business success. If compliance projects and software installs guide your strategy, you’ve lost the race before the gates even open.
  • Your community hospital’s IT steering team is not responsible for project execution and updates. That’s the domain of your super users, who handle the day-to-day.

Embrace Change Management Discipline

As a leader, you already know that to see success, you must be able to adapt to unforeseen events. However, your entire organization must be disciplined about how it goes about making changes.

Many facilities fail when, facing an unforeseen challenge, they abandon their plans entirely and revert to reactionary measures. Shortsighted adjustments detonate the resource plan and hamstring the organization’s ability to improve in the long term. Goals are missed, patient care suffers and financial problems are severely exacerbated.

There will be times when you have to change the plan. That’s OK. Your steering team should look at every proposed change, prioritizing it against your annual plan’s business goals and resource requirements before arriving at an informed, thought-out decision. The relevant metrics you’ve been routinely pulling should help the team quite a bit.

Remember, these steps are necessary, but they don’t signal the finish line. Once you align your hospital’s IT plan to patient value and your business goals, you need to measure rigorously to ensure your plan is unfolding on track and delivering ROI.

Learn how to measure your IT effectiveness across several key disciplines by reading our whitepaper, Measuring IT Effectiveness: Your Community Hospital’s First Step To Operational Excellence.


Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

Phil Stravers, Partner and EVP of Strategy & Market Development at ICE Technologies, Inc. has been in consulting and management roles within the information technology industry for over 25 years and has spent more than 20 years helping hospitals and clinics “make IT work better”. Phil has had the opportunity to act as an Interim CIO for numerous hospitals which gives him a unique perspective on their challenges and associated solutions. Phil really enjoys sharing lessons learned and frequently presents at various hospital associations, HIMSS events and healthcare board rooms all over the country. In addition to his passion for improving Health IT, he loves baseball (die hard Cubs fan) and has spent more than 15 years coaching young baseball players. Phil lives in Pella, IA and often shares concepts learned from his background in coaching along with the Dutch farm culture and work ethic that his home town is known for.