Is Your Healthcare IT Governance Keeping Up? - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Healthcare // Leadership
Commentary
9/22/2014
09:06 AM
Dick Taylor
Dick Taylor
Commentary
50%
50%

Is Your Healthcare IT Governance Keeping Up?

Some healthcare organizations struggle with ineffective steering committees, budgets that slash critical IT support, and disengaged users. Is yours one of them?

Over the past decade, healthcare information technology has transformed. Health systems small and large are increasingly automated and dependent on information systems. But even as they have embraced IT, a divide has emerged within organizations. Advanced governance allows some front-running organizations to rationalize IT spending, achieve unprecedented automation, and use critical data to drive the organization. But others -- perhaps yours -- struggle with ineffective steering committees, budgets that slash critical IT support, and disengaged and oppositional users.

Which side of this sounds like your organization? Here are some ways to tell.

Budgets
A favorite CIO boss of mine was once asked -- in front of the organization's operational and clinical leaders -- "Which of your projects are you willing to cut?"

Her answer? "These aren't my projects; they belong to all of you. You tell me what organizational initiatives you want to cut, and I'll tell you what IT capital can be cut."

[Early tech adopters gain advantage, a study says. Read Health IT Early Mover Advantage Examined.]

In an organization dependent on advanced IT, IT budget priorities absolutely must come from clinical and financial operations. Clinicians practice medicine. Revenue cycle drops bills. Finance keeps the dollars flowing. These are the people who can muster the political strength to demand increased efficiency, decreased errors, and risk reduction. In fact, they're the only ones who can.

Modern IT governance embraces this by placing key IT decisions in the hands of those clinical and operational partners. If your CMO, your CNO, your director of patient financial services, and your HIM director have the final say about your IT budget, it changes the game. Now they need to understand the value of IT and choose the initiatives that make sense. Your CIO and IT staff must translate IT arcana into language that makes operational sense and generates questions that have operationally focused answers. This isn't wasted time. It's critical engagement work that makes sure scarce organizational dollars wind up in the right place and in the right hands to drive the mission of the health system.

So who owns your IT budget?

Adoption
Adoption of IT is no longer the question. It's not just about using the systems anymore. Now it's about ensuring that everyone uses the systems in a way that actually helps the organization. And it's increasingly obvious that operational leadership -- clinical and financial -- owns this responsibility. Active governance gives clinical operations the venue to demand that systems work, but it also demands that those same executives commit to the use of those systems for the good of the health system.

Who owns adoption in your organization?

Escalation
When trouble strikes, who owns it? Who stands up, acknowledges an IT failure, and explains what's being done about it? The CIO? The CEO? Some nameless and soon-to-be-fired project manager?

Governance isn't just a way to avoid failure. Governance is also a way to handle it. If you already have a regular senior stakeholders meeting and are aware of the interdependency of the business and the technology, the occasional failure is simply grist for the mill. If everyone owns the problem, then you can get on with the process of identifying the issues, correcting them, and moving on.

You can also respond well to escalations and crises. A CMIO who knows he or she is backed by a strong governance group can negotiate with angry physicians in a way that

Next Page

Dick Taylor, MD, is managing director and chief medical officer of the Advisory Services Division of MedSys Group. Dr. Taylor focuses on integrating IT efforts with the clinical and operational ownership needed to capture permanent and positive changes within healthcare ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
asksqn
50%
50%
asksqn,
User Rank: Ninja
9/22/2014 | 2:50:16 PM
Sad but true
excerpt 

>>Clinicians practice medicine. Revenue cycle drops bills. Finance keeps the dollars flowing. These are the people who can muster the political strength to demand increased efficiency, decreased errors, and risk reduction. In fact, they're the only ones who can.<<

/excerpt

 

Unfortunately, these same personnel are also the most UNsavvy users.  Most of them rarely have opinions RE their workstations/software more complicated than wanting pretty stationary wallpaper for their Outlook client and/or worrying about how many lurkers have viewed their Facebook profiles. 
Commentary
AI Regulation: Has the Time Arrived?
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  2/24/2020
News
Fighting the Coronavirus with Analytics and GIS
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/3/2020
Slideshows
IT Careers: 10 Job Skills in High Demand This Year
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  2/3/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll