A view from the Top

Goal: IT leadership goal is to get fast access to technology insight so they can quickly transform their IT assets for greater value to the business.
Technologies: Key technologies driving the changes are Cloud Computing, Virtualization, Big data, Mobility and consumerization.
Challenges: Some of the key and common challenges facing the organizations today are Smaller IT budgets, Lack of skill set, Legacy integration, Deployment time, Transformation of big data into strategic assets, Security, Cloud approach, Mobile and consumer empowerment strategy.
Expected Results: IT is looking ways to transform these technologies into business insights so they can give their organizations the competitive advantage.

Practical approach for Cloud adaption to drive Social, Mobile and Analytic initiatives in an Organization

Many organizations big or small are struggling these days on how to transform their organizations including people, processes, and technologies. The transformation is due to this new disruptive technology stack which includes Social, Mobile, Analytic and Cloud (SMAC).  These technologies and concepts have been around for a while but their usage in this combination is new.

All over in the media the advantages of this stack have been advertised with great promise. There is no shortage of articles in the media on how organizations in every industry have started using these technologies and their business units are benefiting from the value these technologies are providing both in agility and cost. Irrespective of this hype many organizations are having a hard time in understanding the applications of this technology mix in their organizations. It is very hard to look at this technology stack holistically from an implementations perspective and not worry about the cost.  The cost alone is not justifiable and the risks are too high because some aspects of this technology are still maturing.

There are innovative ways in which this problem can be addressed.  Different organizations have different strategies, people, processes and technology mix. These corporations have different positions in the market they compete.  All these companies have one thing in common they are all facing similar challenges when it comes to transformation of their organizations to this new disruption. These challenges can be met and solved in a very systematic way so that their impact on the organization both from the cost and culture perspective can be absorbed.

Organizations can take certain steps to approach this problem.  They can start with their corporate strategy.  Some of the questions to ask are what are the capabilities the organization is looking to create and improve? Is the corporate strategy is mapped to the IT strategy? How much of this strategy is being followed? If there is no clear corporate strategy the organization should create one and map it to its IT strategy. If the initiative can’t be taken at the company level, the department(s) can create their department(s) strategy. This approach if taken and communicated in successful manner can become the catalyst for the change in the rest of the organization. Other questions to ask are what business and technology capabilities the current IT organization supports? What are the current systems in place that support different business units? What are the programs and projects in flight or in plan to be delivered?

The Corporate strategy, IT capabilities, business priorities and current programs will determine what approach the organization should take to start consuming the SMAC stack (Social, Mobile, Analytic and Cloud). Most all organizations have legacy infrastructure with huge investment and cannot be converted into the Cloud. Now a days vendors are offering cloud-based Services for almost all the services traditionally offered by the internal IT. For example there are Cloud-based back-up Services, Cloud-based Disaster Recovery Services, Cloud Gateways and Connections for Cloud storage, Cloud-based Automation tools. There are so many choices of services available in the market for organizations to pick. Some of these services are new and some have matured. All these services provide a good business case from cost and time perspective.  Organizations can subscribe to these services based on their needs. The main factors to look at when deciding to use a cloud based service are the cost, time, impact on current systems and the risks. All these variables are manageable. Corporations can start collecting data on their implemented cloud based services both for efficiency measuring and cost benefits.  They can use this data to build their case for transformation of other IT services into the Cloud.

The bottom line is that all organizations need to find ways to get into the cloud game otherwise they will be playing catch-up with their competitors and their business will lose out to new opportunities that are being presented due to this new distributive technology mix.

Government mandates that are driving the Health Care Information Technology changes…

I have divided the implications of the three mandates into two categories one that affects clinical side of healthcare and the other is the administrative including applications, processes and workflows

1)      Health Information and Technology for Economics and Clinical Health Act (HITCH)

  1. By adopting clinical technology both hospitals and  clinicians can qualify for incentives from the government
    1.  Cash incentives for the first 4 years
    2.   There will be penalties after 4 years if not compliance
  2. There are three stages defined by Office of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) called “Meaningful Use” for the adaption of clinical technology that must be met both by hospitals and clinicians to qualify for their max cash incentive for a particular year
    1. Stage 1: Data Capture & Sharing – Capture health information in electronic structured format. This stage has already started in 2011
    2.  Stage 2: Advanced Clinical Processes – Point of care quality improvement and electronic exchange of information – Scheduled to begin in 2013
    3.  Stage 3: Improved Outcomes – Improvements in quality, safety and efficiency clinical decision support & patient self-management tools. This stage is scheduled to being in 2015

2)      Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act 2010

  1. Adoptions of technology for healthcare administration
    1. New technology standards for electronic claim systems need to adapted by the current systems

3)      International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-10-CM)

  1. Upgrade from ICD–9-CM  to of ICD-10-CM
    1.  Overhaul of the billing and  medical coding system
    2.  From 13,000 codes in ICD-9-CM to approx 65,0000 codes in ICD-10-CM

I will add more details on each mandates on how these changes affect the hospitals and practices in my next blog

Top ten Health Information Exchange HIE participation strategy questions for hospital organizations

1)      What is the Return on Investment ROI?

2)      What will be the initial cost to the organization?

3)      Does it benefits the hospital organization and its providers?

4)      Will it improve and streamline the hospital and affiliated clinician’s offices workflow in the long run?

5)      To what level the hospital has to share its Clinical Data Repository CDR  information with the HIE?

6)      How much control the hospital organization will have on the project and how will it impact its competitive marketplace?

7)      Is the chosen technology platform for the HIE is ready?

8)      What are the legal barriers?

9)      What are government mandate implications (HITECH, HIPPA, and IDC-10) if the organization chooses to participate in the HIE?

10)   Can privacy and security for the patient data is achievable?

Top Health Information Technology (HIT) to do list for 2012

1)      (Electronic Medical Records) EMR adaption by practices and hospitals

2)      “Meaningful use” financial incentive programs –  Stage 1 and Stage 2 adoption by clinicians

3)      ICD-10  conversion work from ICD-9

4)      New CMS requirements for Accountable Care Organization (ACOs) to get  government incentives dollars

5)      New Mobile health Tools for clinicians, patients, and health plan members

6)      EMR deployment and enhancement work to meet new government mandates

7)      Greater interaction and  interoperability between EMRs and HIEs both at regional and state level