There have been some great technological innovations in healthcare over the past few years with the main purpose of improving patient care. Today, it seems as if healthcare organizations are shelling out the big bucks on technology that appears to “work” but the main purpose of adding patient or clinical value is lost.
In a rush to stay compliant with recent Meaningful Use updates and other requirements, healthcare providers are fast-tracking technology implementation which, by doing so, can cause workflow complications, care interruptions and financial burdens later on.
Having your IT efforts align with a broader business plan and implementing technological efforts with an understanding of how it will effect day-to-day operations is a sure way to reduce IT complications and achieve key business goals. In the face of a new year, it’s time to start aligning your healthcare organization’s technology to attain real value.
Valuable IT helps your healthcare organization achieve quality patient care as well as your operational and business goals. Want to increase the time your clinicians and providers have with patients? Your technology should help. Want to improve your hospital’s revenue cycle while reducing bill collection time? Your technology should help … and so on.
However, this can be more easily said than done. Where do you even start to get value from IT? Below are two simple steps to help get you on the right track.
1. Conduct a Health IT Operational Assessment
Really look at the day-to-day operations of your organization while thinking of these simple questions:
- Does IT support our goals?
- Is our workflow solid?
- Is our IT staff focused on the right things?
While you assess, remember that your healthcare organization and healthcare IT environment is made up of people, processes and technology. Look at your operations holistically and try to identify if there are any end-user “cheats” or “workarounds” that could cause data and workflow issues. Through this assessment you can see how big of a role that technology plays in your day-to-day operations and the issues it could cause if done incorrectly. Stalls within technology and workflow can cause wasted time as well as provider frustration.
2. Form an IT Steering Committee
After doing an operational assessment, creating an IT Steering Committee is the next step. An IT Steering Committee’s main concern is making strategic decisions concerning the future of IT at your organization. The committee also prioritizes and oversees any IT projects for your healthcare organization.
Your committee should be a mix of people from different departments, so don’t just pick IT experts. Be sure to include at least one C-suite executive, a few key department heads and a physician or two who are willing and able to work toward IT improvement. To keep things manageable, we recommend having a committee no bigger larger than eight people.
Every month, your IT Steering Committee should meet to discuss and review your organization’s IT plan’s performance as well as make any adjustments that are needed for the organization’s technology strategy. It’s also important for all stakeholders to attend meetings consistently in order to ensure long-term success.
Understanding value, conducting an operational assessment and forming an IT Steering Committee are just the beginning steps toward gaining strong value from your IT efforts. Next, is to create a strategic IT plan, set up an IT budget and associated Resource Plan and start to embrace effective change management.
It is important to remember that real change takes time and effort. Start by aligning your technology toward value this year to bring real change for your healthcare organization.