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  • Business Transformation Programs in the Healthcare Industry: Value, Challenges and Lessons Learned



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    March 3rd, 2014

    The Healthcare industry is going through tremendous change, providers especially are faced with implementing multiple business transformation programs enabled through technology such as Electronic Health Records, ICD-10 migration, Clinical Informatics, Accountable Care Organization strategy and operationalization, etc. Any one of these programs alone is budget and resource intensive, but given requirements from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Affordable Care Act, they are inevitable, and often must be implemented simultaneously.

    Value

    Pat Wise, RN, MA, MS, FHIMSS COL (USA ret’d) who is the Vice President, Healthcare Information Systems for the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS) recently spoke about the value of Health IT at the HIMSS national conference in Orlando, FL, to see the full presentation click HIMSS Health IT Value Suite. HIMSS has developed a Health IT Value Suite that defines key value categories and relevant examples for business transformation programs. The common thread among each category is patient centricity, focusing on adding value for each patient’s experience and outcome.

    STEPS

     

    Challenges and Lessons Learned

    Naturally, there is always the expectation of value add from Health IT investments, but desired results may be difficult to realize. In my twenty year professional consulting career in the Healthcare industry, I have led and participated in many different technology enabled transformation programs. Some have succeeded as planned, while others were less successful with budget overruns, reduced scope eliminating meaningful functionality, poor adoption and disgruntled employees.

    Challenge: Implementing an enterprise wide transformation program requires a focused effort on organizational change management. Many if not all employees in your organization will be touched by new workflows, technology and expectations. At a minimum, all users will have to adapt to a new system; while others may be faced with completely new and different workflows that are more cumbersome than before.

    Lesson Learned: During the planning phase focus on key stakeholder alignment. Make sure everyone can confidently answer “what’s in it for me?”. Take extra time to document details about the most heavily impacted workflows and provide extra training, support and guidance during the program to staff and employees. Build a robust communication plan that is comprehensive and includes custom messaging and mediums based on the target audience.

    Challenge: Multi-hospital health systems struggle to find cost savings through standardization driven by enterprise business transformation programs. Individual entities within the health system fear they are losing their autonomy and will not have any input or influence on new workflows, system design and configuration, and are uncertain their reporting needs will be met.

    Lesson Learned:  Engage representatives from each entity and each functional area through every step of the process. Form matrix teams starting from the transformation planning effort through system selection, design, and implementation, all the way through post-live support. Ensure there is a governing body representing all entities that is empowered to drive through decisions whenever the teams cannot reach agreement. “Start with the end in mind” (Stephen Covey), meaning think through your reporting needs as you design new workflows and system configurations to ensure information needed will be adequately captured and accessible.

    Challenge: Planning and budgeting for enterprise wide transformation programs is difficult because there are many factors to consider. The most common challenge provider organizations face is scheduling resources when there are competing priorities and initiatives.

    Lesson Learned: An important factor to consider when preparing for an enterprise wide transformation program, is to backfill key resources so they can be dedicated full-time to the program. The backfill resources can maintain day to day operations while the program proceeds with experienced and knowledgeable key resources that will enable deadlines to be met, and prevent overall program slippage and budget overruns. The program resources will also develop ownership for the program, and become champions that help drive compliance with new workflows and technology.

    Challenge: During the enterprise transformation program, many important decisions will have to be made. Answers about workflows, security, system access, system availability, data structure, reporting requirements, systems integration and many other critical topics have to be documented and enforced.

    Lesson Learned: The easiest way to prepare for these decisions and protect the program timeline is to prepare Guiding Principles that align with the organization’s strategic plan. The more detailed the Guiding Principles, the easier it is to make important decisions. A common principle is to keep the patient in mind for every decision. Think through their perspective and experience when designing workflows, data capture and communications. Another common principle is to avoid customizing any information technology system unless an acceptable work around is not available. While it may be hard to accept a potentially complex workflow as a work around solution, the time and money saved from not developing a customization will likely outweigh any inconvenience experienced by the system users.     

    Implementing business transformation programs in a healthcare organization is a challenging and complex undertaking. Collaboration with other providers is key, even when those organizations are competition. Sharing experiences and information is critical among healthcare organizations, and patients benefit the most when all categories of the HIMSS Health IT Value Suite are realized.

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    Laura Vela, MBA, is a Consulting Services Director who is an expert in Healthcare enterprise transformation programs. She has successfully assisted providers with large scale, multi-entity programs for over 20 years. To find out more about how MSS can help your organization manage business transformations, contact us at info@msstech.com.

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    Cite this blog post:
    MLA: Vela, Laura. “Business Transformation Programs in the Healthcare Industry: Value, Challenges and Lessons Learned.” MSS. MSS. Blog. 08 April 2015.
    APA: L Vela. (2014, Mar 3). Business Transformation Programs in the Healthcare Industry: Value, Challenges and Lessons Learned.