A Healthcare Minute: Developing an Enterprise Strategy [Video]

2018-02-14
 


Editor’s Note: The following article was recently published on ITN website and is reprinted here with permission.

CHALLENGE

Many of the multiple and disparate information technologies that now handle patient data in consolidated health systems were initially implemented to serve distinctly different purposes. IHNs/IDNs “stuck” with these systems need a strategy that allows for an integrated but heterogeneous IT landscape, one that promotes patient welfare as it improves short- and long-term clinical performance.   This can be a tall order.  

Recognizing the continuing trend toward consolidation, a thoughtful IT strategy should be considered even if hospitals or other facilities have not been directly impacted by a merger or acquisition.  Healthcare providers might consider choices in IT systems that will minimize disruption if and when they are acquired; make them more attractive as prospective acquisitions; or provide options in a future where joint ventures, affiliations, and collaborations are alternatives to traditional M&A.

Developing a strategy that pulls the several (or many) different IT tools together depends on dealing with the shortcomings of interoperability. Critically important is reducing complexity and inefficiency.  Not doing so runs the risk of becoming overwhelmed by the integration and management of myriad systems. This risk is particularly high if IT tools are not well-suited to the tasks that must be performed.   

The simplification that comes from integration and consolidation of IT systems can save money by making processes more efficient and IT systems easier to maintain. It is a transformative process.

SOLUTION

Coming up with an IT strategy — whether that involves a single-stack solution or the integration of multiple systems — requires input from all stakeholders.  Problems are not always obvious. But they must be found before an effective strategy can be developed.

When developing a strategy, the means for measuring problems — and success in overcoming them — must be determined. The strategy is to draw a roadmap that identifies the tools that must be applied; where they should be applied; and when. When coming up with an enterprise imaging strategy, it is important to connect the imaging goals of the enterprise with those of the stakeholders in the enterprise.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in cardiology, which must deal with problems such as “dual charting,” which occurs when an inpatient undergoes tests in the outpatient arena.

In a healthcare system comprised of many departments spread over several campuses and dependent on multiple disparate information technologies, processes must be developed for handling differences that come from the use of these systems.  One critical example is the handling of patient identifiers.  When strategizing, ask whether the new approach will have the means to retain all the patient identifiers or must all those records be updated? Keep in mind that the need to manage multiple patient identifications will increase as patients become more mobile and travel between different care settings, a possibility made increasingly likely as medicine moves away from fee-based value-based practice.

Contact Change Healthcare today or if you’re at HIMSS, drop by the Change Healthcare Booth 4202 to learn more about our enterprise imaging solutions.

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