Establishing the Leadership to Optimize your IT Strategy

August 16, 2017 Sarah Shillington

Strategy is everything in healthcare. If you think about it, regardless of your industry, strategy is what makes every company function across the board. The foundation of successful strategy is effective leadership - particularly in the healthcare industry when dealing with optimizing and managing an electronic healthcare record (EHR).

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At Leidos we see two important factors when discussing the leadership aspect of managing an EHR:

  • Don’t underestimate the importance of organizational development. It’s important for every leader from the board of directors to the C-suite executives to contribute and provide a meaningful and understandable vision for organizational alignment.
  • This attention towards organizational development should extend to aligning key resources and departments. The CIO and IT departments, in particular, should work in tandem to create a successful strategy and a plan for the execution of that strategy.

Healthcare organizations that are unable to follow these tips may suffer from developing a strategy without the ability to follow through with the execution of that strategy. The opposite is also true, organizations that don’t adhere to the importance of leadership and alignment may execute solutions seemingly at random since they lack strategic forethought and planning. This common, secondary outcome often leads to a chaotic work environment where different departments sometimes execute conflicting projects. Either way, optimizing good clinical and financial outcomes with EHRs starts by fashioning critical alignments.

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One tool within healthcare organizations that is used to commonly promote and develop effective leadership models is a vision statement or roadmap. A roadmap can guide short-term and long-range planning and execution, and act as a constant check against deliverable goals. Version of the map often have a clearly delineated illustration of gaps and deliverables necessary to move from accomplishing short-term objectives into achieving long-term goals.

These vision statements also translate to mission statements or charters, which set the tone and establish the importance for the vision and the strategy. In many organizations, these documents are then used to establish a value proposition in tandem with a future state analysis. Aligning the C-Suite and IT organization systems before settling on EHR can help healthcare providers avoid selection and implementation mistakes by forcing them address points such as how the new EHR will fit with the established enterprise strategy.

This alignment between EHR and a greater enterprise strategy can help implementation efforts proactively match with business goals and objectives, as opposed to reactively responding to external influences such as regulations. The result of such an alignment is also the ability for stakeholders to better understand and adopt the role IT plays within the healthcare reform of the hospital or clinic. Lastly, another important piece of leadership is to at future state goals and planning. This is essential in improving the use of EHRs since the all stakeholders need to ultimately understand how leadership intends to move the enterprise forward using the new EHR. Doing so can empower distinct functions, including those outside of IT, to achieve holistic optimization goals.

The role of IT is increasingly becoming subject to rapid change coupled with the changes of demand, and makes having a good strategy critical for any successful healthcare provider. Focusing on strategy combined with effective communication can also help the CIO and IT staffs overcome any shortcomings in an organization’s roadmap.

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