While it’s easy to view hospital IT-related projects as being all about technology, it’s probably more accurate to think of these projects as one part IT, two parts people and processes. In a successful project, all three elements are aligned toward a common objective. In addition to technical know-how, community hospitals need operational standards that support their IT strategy.
A health IT resource plan enhances visibility in ways that make your IT steering team, IT department and other stakeholders more effective, as they collaborate to align strategy and resources with business goals.
Aligning Strategy And Resources
As discussed in a previous blog, creating an IT steering committee is a great way to bring key stakeholders together to assess your IT effectiveness and create operational standards and proactive strategy.
An IT planning and governance team is responsible for guiding a hospital’s IT from operational and financial perspectives. These teams should meet on a monthly basis to review key effectiveness metrics and consider how improvements could help you meet your objectives faster, easier and more safely.
For your hospital’s technology investments to yield a strong ROI, your IT steering team needs a strategic plan with clearly defined goals:
- What is your mission for IT in your organization?
- What are IT’s guiding principles and defined purpose at your hospital?
- What are your top IT objectives for this year? How about the next 3 years?
Every hospital’s IT strategy should address foundational elements, such as infrastructure refresh, security initiatives and the patient experience. But, you also need a framework for addressing longer-term objectives and non-routine projects.
To put your strategy into action and achieve objectives, your steering team needs a way to intelligently allocate the available human, budgetary and technical resources to specific projects. That’s where an IT resource plan comes in.
Using An IT Resource Plan
An IT resource plan is a spreadsheet that shows all of the systems IT manages on a daily basis – from monitoring firewalls and supporting moves to managing printers and phones. The resource plan also details what people and skillsets are needed for these daily, weekly and monthly disciplines – the base layer of required resources.
Typically, the resource plan is created by IT’s director or operations manager. If your hospital has a CIO, the plan might be a collaborative effort between the CIO and IT director. Such a plan enhances visibility in ways that benefit your steering team, IT department, super-user committee and others.
For example, when the steering team decides to advance capital projects and continuous improvement efforts, IT uses the plan to resource these projects above the base layer. Look for the staff skill sets and availability you need to make your plan a success (such as people from IT and subject-matter experts from other departments), and put them on a timeline.
Connecting IT strategy and resources helps you identify constraints and prioritize the addition of new resources and projects before crises unfold. A resource plan shows where you’re going to have pinch points and helps the steering team and IT department collaborate on solutions: deciding when to outsource, where to staff up and how to prioritize projects. It also allows your CFO to assess projects (such as an office move) with a clearer understanding of how they impact IT.
Disciplined Resource Management
Managing hospital IT resources effectively is essential to aligning technology, people and processes toward the common objective of driving patient value. To achieve this alignment, Community hospitals need to build project management disciplines into their IT execution.
An IT resource plan helps your entire organization be more disciplined about how it makes changes, and serves as a type of operational standard: It enables you to assign and utilize technical and human resources strategically to avoid financial and operational complications.
Ready to align your IT strategy and business objectives? Download our free whitepaper, Measuring IT Effectiveness: Your Community Hospital’s First Step To Operational Excellence.