3 prerequisites to health IT innovation

If you’re like me, you want to make wise strategic choices about where to invest your resources for the biggest impact. You are constantly weighing risks, calculating ROI, and balancing the pressures of the daily grind while simultaneously enabling your organization to be more innovative.

Sriram-DevarakondaSo when it comes to leveraging the latest innovations, whether it be AI, machine learning, robotics, or cloud-based solutions, you have a lot to consider. Is the technology ready for prime time? What exactly can I dip my toe into right now without betting the farm? What are the security risks of any move I decide to make? How soon can I expect a payoff? And, what are the prerequisites to successfully implementing these innovative technologies?

That last question is key. Most of the innovations getting a lot of airplay these days require you to get your house in order before you can get started. What am I talking about?

For you to successfully benefit from AI and machine learning or take advantage of the cloud, you first need to address these critical prerequisites:

  1. A comprehensive data strategy
  2. A strategic plan for the cloud
  3. Foundational change management, governance, and training practices

While there are other prerequisites to innovation, these three are among the top and should be addressed immediately in your 2020 plan. I’ll lay these basics out below, and if you’d like to discuss these topics with me or any of our digital health experts, we'd love to listen. 

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A comprehensive data strategy

Many of healthcare’s most important goals, whether it be value-based care or precision medicine, require access to, aggregation of, and normalization of data. Supporting that claim is a recent report by the Center for Connected Medicine and KLAS. It listed precision medicine as one of three top technology priorities for health systems in 2020 as they manage the shift to value-based care. Data aggregation and integration are listed as critical to enabling these goals.  

Once organizations adopt a comprehensive data strategy, providers will be able to exchange a patient’s health history across hospitals, doctors, and even insurance companies. They’ll finally have a more complete picture of the patient they’re treating. And from this complete, normalized data, organizations can layer on predictive analytics into the clinicians’ everyday workflow – AI that recognizes patterns and alerts providers to intervene when a patient is at-risk of certain diseases or illnesses.

A comprehensive data strategy is essential to benefit from the continual advancements we’ll see in healthcare for decades to come. If you need guidance with your data strategy, we can help.

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A strategic plan for the cloud

With a host of benefits like increased cybersecurity, faster time-to-value, higher cost savings, and the ability to leverage the latest technology, it’s easy to see why cloud migration is predicted to double by 2024.*

The cloud will improve your organization’s efficiency overall as you’ll focus on critical business objectives rather than the upkeep of a costly, on-premise infrastructure and associated technical processes. It will also allow your organization to scale computing or storage based on future needs, such as possible acquisitions, mergers, or the addition of large data sets as with genomics.

Aside from planning how to take your data to the cloud and benefit from the scalable computational power, you may, for instance, also be looking to move your ERP to the cloud. As you consider that shift, treat that as a completely new implementation. This means you are going to want to take a look at your existing ERP, document system customizations, develop a plan for managing and replacing the customizations, and then go through the process by which you select the right vendor for your current and future needs. Another key use case for the cloud, disaster recovery, is an area you’ll also want to consider and how that might change your plans.

If that ERP move is on your near-term plan (and even if it’s not close), here’s a cloud migration checklist to help.

* Global adoption for cloud services in healthcare is expected to grow to nearly $52 billion by 2024 – up from $23 billion in 2019, according to a recent MarketsandMarkets report.

Foundational change management, governance, and training practices

If we’ve learned anything from the EHR implementation projects of the past decade, it’s that successful technology adoption requires effective change management, governance, and training. That means, if you’re preparing for the next decade of innovation, it’s time to review and make improvements to the areas that impact your people, processes, and technology.

Not only are these initiatives critical to effective adoption, they also support improved technology engagement and efficiency, which lead to increased user satisfaction – on both the clinical and operational sides. As a member of KLAS' Arch Collaborative, an EHR usability-focused initiative, we’ve seen firsthand how organizations are experiencing happier users by implementing technology with these initiatives in mind.

According to an Arch Collaborative report, “shared ownership” is one of the most important factors of effectively managing change and establishing governance. Arch Collaborative members have found that organizations that have established a shared ownership program better engage users in the EHR. These owners become the conduit for sharing information and obtaining input from their peers as well as owning aspects of the EHR configuration and the medical content.

Whatever the new initiative, failing to address change management, governance, and the associated training will greatly inhibit your ability to innovate.

Not sure where to start?

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Innovation begins with the basics

No matter where you’re at with your data, cloud, or change management efforts, Nordic can help. We have the resources and expertise to guide you through these initiatives, helping you make sustainable changes for your organization. With these foundational elements in place, you’ll be more prepared to leverage new technological innovations that will better serve the patients and their families in your community for many years to come.

Topics: digital health

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