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Un-complicating Healthcare IT

Hospital IT Leadership: Unlocking Your IT Director’s True Potential

Feb 18, 2016 12:51:25 PM Posted by Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

For hospital IT directors, IT leadership should be the focus.A good healthcare IT director needs great tech chops and great management skills. But, asking one person to do all of that without help dilutes the value they could bring to your community hospital. When IT directors try to do it all themselves, they often get stuck in a break-fix mentality, which limits their leadership potential and results in unfinished projects and wasted resources.

Fortunately, there’s no need for your IT director to juggle everything. Instead, start by recognizing their strengths, and then put resources in place that help them provide effective IT leadership.

Supporting Effective IT Leadership

An effective director serves as a generalist with a broad perspective: someone who sees smoke on the horizon and saves the day by knowing what kinds of resources to dispatch. Effective IT starts with a realistic picture of what the C-suite should expect from IT leadership – and what IT directors should expect from themselves. Instead of seeing the director’s primary role as support and installation, look for ways to shift the focus to project management and planning.

A good solution for many community hospitals is to create an IT steering team that helps support the IT director and align technology projects with business goals. This steering team sets the annual IT plan and resolves competing priorities as well as any issues that may arise.

The smaller your organization, the more you may also need to utilize outside experts and resources. In healthcare, however, it seems to play out the opposite way: Larger organizations tend to be more comfortable outsourcing IT services, while smaller organizations try to make do with their in-house resources.

Outsourced IT services are a great way to supplement in-house skills, both with management and technology. Partnering with an external team frees up your director to focus on IT leadership instead of constantly putting out fires.

How A Critical Access Hospital Uses Outsourced IT Services

Consider the example of Box Butte General Hospital, a 25-bed critical access hospital located in Alliance, Nebraska. BBGH started an expansion project that would require replacing the entire network. Rather than relying on in-house staff to handle every element of the project, BBGH’s IT director, Mandy Greve, worked with ICE Technologies to execute the project.

Working with ICE allowed Greve to stay focused on her broader responsibilities and on delivering IT leadership for the hospital. ICE provided supplemental technical expertise in conducting a wireless site survey, designing a new network, installing switches and fiber, moving to new VDI servers and more.

By leveraging outsourced IT services, Box Butte General Hospital was able to minimize downtime during the building project and improve outcomes. With ICE’s experts as partners, the in-house IT director was better positioned to make good IT choices for the hospital.

These upgrades – wireless site upgrade, firewall upgrade, implementation of ICE’s Healthcare Grade Network™ and more – have also greatly improved the clinical users’ experience. Logging in and finding a patient used to take 30-40 seconds, but now it takes only 5-10 seconds. Documents that wouldn’t load before are now easy to retrieve and use. Their EMR system is running faster and has room to grow. And, Greve is able to effectively manage it all.

Ready to make your IT department more effective and more economical? Schedule a consultation with our Community Hospital IT expert today.

Can’t Get Your Executive Leadership  And IT On The Same Page?

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.