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Author: Elyse, PMP, CPHIMS
September 5, 2010

There is a line in the sand when it comes to technology adoptions. Lately the school of thought has been regarding separating IT and the business, and just implementing the system. However it is time to rethink that perspective.

In Healthcare IT, Our role is to enable business growth and reduce costs. We also need to help nurture the seeds of change. Sometime we lay out a foundation to enable automation. Other times we help improve quality of care by automating clinical practices. So implementing a solution, should not bring about a severe amount of maintenance activity to maintain the solution. Additionally, the solution needs to be adopted used, and set up to develop and shine. We just don't do it once and then walk away.

Implementing systems can be done in many patterns, but it comes down to balancing 3 parts - Speed, Quality, and Expense. As a leader one should be able to deliver a solution and then have the support in place to fine tune the solution to meet the business goal. In the best case scenario, a leader can leverage one the solution to meet other business goals.

We have all heard the horror story in IT of a new vendor knocking at the datacenter door to install a server. Why does this happen? The main reason is that IT is an afterthought to the business. The CIO is still talking about improving governance instead of how to enable business growth and reduce costs. Moving forward and installing the system within a week. The cost of maintaining that system will be very high, and the likelihood of adoption is poor. The fact that the solution will achieve the business purpose for a long sustainable time is poor. This is just a case of bad business governance and poor leadership.

When developing a implementation plan for a new line of business or service, the goal should be to achieve the bottom line benefits. The implementation should be to achieve the benefits and not add in significant portion of overhead. By balancing timely delivery, project budget, and quality one can not only achieve the desired result, but automate the implementation to enable IT resource to have more time available for project work.

Let's say as you are looking at implementing a nursing analytics module to report your performance on core measures. What's the goal here? To get a single snapshot of the information, or to assure the information is understood, processes are improved, and then measure for your success? The later I believe. So as you collaborate to develop the implementation plan, the system implementation with monthly interface is not as important as assuring the process to review the reports and make changes in clinical care are. Don't shortcut the quality of the solution for a quick file implementation. However, don't constrain the solution in the future by reducing flexibility and robustness with a rpg interface which is difficult to maintain and manage.

The Take Away

The question is how to enable business growth and reduce costs be delivering this project in a quick, cost-effective manner with a solution that meets the customers needs and doesn't break the bank maintaining it.

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