Transformation in Healthcare Takes Vision, Leadership and Technology

March 7, 2019

This is an expanded version of an article that originally appeared as part of a sponsored profile in the Nashville Post.Transformation in Healthcare_virsys12

Every day, we hear about another remarkable advance in healthcare technology. As more of these new technologies are launched, healthcare organizations are investing tremendous amounts of money into them, expecting these solutions to help automate and transform their business.

The question is, why do so many of these initiatives fail to deliver value?

Investing in technology, on its own, won’t transform your business. The best technology might not be right for your organization, at least not right now. But even if it is, new technology means change. And change isn’t easy.

To get the full value of technology investments, today’s healthcare leaders face a number of challenges. They need to know where the industry is going, what their vision is for the future, and how to execute on it. They also have to understand the technology options available and how they’ll benefit the business. Just as important, they have to balance the business’s needs with prioritizing the patient and family member experience. And because technology and healthcare are both changing so quickly, they and their organizations have to be adaptable, flexible and continually learning. Yesterday’s “tried-and-true” could be obsolete tomorrow.

One lesson many leaders have learned the hard way is that powerful but ineffectively deployed technology can create a whole new set of problems, from frustrated users and lowered productivity to increased errors. It’s one thing to select technologies that are secure, HIPAA-compliant and meet the needs of patients, members, providers and networks. It’s another thing entirely to successfully lead the organization through the changes those new technologies demand.

Analyzing and implementing solutions and strategies to meet your organization’s unique operational, patient care and financial requirements is no easy task.

Here are five questions to ask as you begin this process:

  • Start with outcomes: What do you want to accomplish?
  • How will it be measured?
  • What processes do you want to automate and how does the process work today?
  • Who are the stakeholders that will need to “buy in” to the decision?
  • Are you willing to lead through this process and support the organization through the complexity of change management?

None of these are about technology; leadership is the necessary skill. But you don’t have to go it alone. The more technology advances and the more involved these processes become, the more important it is to partner with organizations that can help you make smart investments and then ensure they really do deliver on their promise.

What to Look for in a Partner

Of course, finding the right partner to support your vision is the next step. Technology transformation is complex, and so is the business of healthcare. That’s the reality, regardless of the scale of the initiative, so you have to be vigilant in selecting a partner that can navigate both realms seamlessly.

Here’s a quick checklist of some key areas to consider:

Track Record

    • Do they have a history of success in helping organizations manage transformations similar to what we envision? In other words, is the business of healthcare transformation their business?
    • Do they have the certifications, capabilities and experience we need on staff and available for our initiative?
    • What else can they bring to the table that we may not have thought about?

Strategic Insight

    • Are they forward-looking and plugged in to the industry so that they can keep us ahead of potential changes that could impact what we’re doing?
    • Can they suggest ways to improve our strategy based on evolving healthcare and technology trends?

Collaborative, Flexible Approach

A true partner gives you peace of mind by communicating with you clearly and continually throughout the process and keeping your team in the loop so that there aren’t any unwelcome surprises.

    • Are they easy to work with?
    • Will they be able to collaborate effectively as members of our team and build on our ideas?
    • Do they have agile software implementation expertise as well as proven processes, tools and standards that can be replicated as we scale?

Results

Soon after an implementation, there should be positive leading indicators of future impact.

    • Can they demonstrate specific results that they’ve achieved for other clients? This includes metrics related to operational improvements (staff efficiency, productivity, accuracy, ease of collaboration, etc.), patient impact (increased patient engagement, satisfaction, benefit value), and direct bottom-line savings.
    • What is the anticipated timeline to achieve our desired outcomes?
    • How should we expect to measure a successful implementation?

If you’re looking for a partner to support your healthcare transformation, we can help. Contact us today.