HIMSS16 – billed as the largest and most important healthcare IT conference in the United States occurred last week in Las Vegas. The message was loud and clear – something is different; the government mandate is over. Strategy is the new, new.
For years the HIT world has encouraged alignment of enterprise strategy and the IT plan. Alignment suggests two distinctly different things creating a linkage or connection. Healthcare enterprise strategy decisions such as which markets do we enter, who do we acquire, which service lines do we emphasize, and what capital investments do we make are explored at executive and board levels. Operations and financial decisions to support our hospitals and physician practices are made within organizational silos. Sometimes IT is at the table, but more often than not information systems professionals are called in after the fact to “implement” selected systems and tools. Sophisticated IT organizations have created IT Strategic Plans, IT Governance structures, IT Road Maps, and IT Champions/Customer Relationship Managers. Our challenge – separate, sometimes aligned but rarely one.
Uncertainty is the new normal. Strategies that take years to implement, vendor partners who are all vying for the same space and the challenges of mergers and acquisitions are driving us from 1.0 healthcare – where business as usual no longer is sustainable. We are at a cross roads. Those of us in transition must “pivot” our viewpoint from 1.0 volume based thinking to 2.0 and beyond.
We need fresh, new perspectives regarding the relationship between enterprise direction and the digital strategies required for the future. New harmonized strategies will:
- Vary by geographic market and depend on community progress toward clinical integration
- Necessitate partnerships, alliances and consolidations – no one can fund the investment alone and no one vendor will have all the solutions
- Require governance models that address horizontal, vertical and virtual decisions making and integrate change across multiple systems of care
- Move from an applications focus which emphasizes feature, functionality to a platform focus, producing highly configurable systems which will drive standardization and enable business strategies simultaneously
- Redesign our organization structures, leadership competencies and operating models in IT, Informatics, Analytics and Quality
- Acknowledge our work to create systems of documentation was foundational but not the end goal; systems of insight and behavioral change are the next stages in the evolution
- Result in convergence of people, process, information, change and technology to rationalize costs, manage risks, realize value and activate patients to become involved in their care