How will CIOs maximize ROI on their Healthcare IT investments in 2015?


I must say I was intrigued by this concise yet compelling video from HIMSS / Healthcare IT News with words of wisdom from leading Healthcare Provider CIOs including the legendary David Blumenthal on what was top of mind for them from a Healthcare IT (HIT) perspective.

Challenges that keep the Healthcare CIO awake at night

These were some of the most important issues articulated by the HIT leadership on the video:

* Successful adoption of EMRs/EHRs and HIEs and meeting meaningful usage requirements.
* Business model, process and systems transformation to embrace the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) model for Population Health Management.
* Standard evidence based business processes that will drive higher safety, quality and efficiency.
* Secure and HIPAA compliant data governance, access and sharing with patients and relevant constituents.

Although MIA (albeit implicit) were references to healthcare analytics, and clinical decision support, the theme that most resonated with me was the one about empowering physicians, nurses, clinicians, business administrators and knowledge workers with data insights needed to enable superior patient outcomes.

Implications of these challenges given Healthcare IT (HIT) constraints

This is of course easier said than done. What is happening in the disparate HIT landscape of disconnected silos is that a set of legacy applications is being retired for another set of applications like EMRs and HIEs that drive new value yet leave much to be desired, by way of interoperability with the current clinical and legacy systems landscape.

Another implication is that most healthcare providers that are at varying stages of maturity in EMR adoption on the HIMSS 7 stage maturity cycle, do not have a ‘single version of the truth’ across their enterprise.

As a consequence, IT departments are devoting dis-proportionate efforts to build out dashboards and reports for front line users (who often have to download extracts into Excel leading to version issues as well as human errors) leading to further data latency and inaccuracy. This further inhibits ‘data consumers at the frontline of care delivery’ to meaningfully query the data for accurate and right time insights to monitor, measure, analyze and improve their performance. This in turn, debilitates their ability to make insight driven decisions resulting in avoidable inefficiencies, lost productivity, stringent penalties and fines, less–than –optimal patient outcomes and often-lower patient satisfaction.

So how are visionary healthcare providers addressing this challenge of data integration and real-time analytics to empower business users at the point of care delivery?

Piedmont Healthcare Best Practices Case Study:

Piedmont Healthcare, a not-for-profit 5 hospital system headquartered in Atlanta, (400 medical staff members with 1,200 affiliated physicians) GA, drove an IT and business driven collaborative initiative called ‘Patient First’ to address these issues thru self-service data discovery and visualization.

Using a ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach, they first focused on their cardiology practice catheterization (“cath”) and electrophysiology (EP) and used ‘Self-Service Data Discovery and Visualization’ software from a leading vendor (Tableau), to aggregate data from multiple disconnected systems for accurate and timely visibility into their physician scheduling issues as well as their heart failure and heart attack relevant re-admission data.

From an IT efficiency perspective, 2400 reports that were previously compiled in Microsoft Excel in 3.5 weeks each month were replaced with a single Tableau dashboard with less than 3 days of effort. This resulted in a 23% improvement in IT analyst efficiency delivering over $ 650 K in IT cost savings and productivity.

As well, Piedmont empowered its physicians, nurses and clinicians with the ability to ask and answer their questions thru accurate and reliable actionable insights, enabled thru self-service data discovery and visualization.

The operational metrics improvements culminating from the ‘Patient First’ initiative with empowerment of front line physicians, nurses and business users were measurable and impressive:

* Improved physician scheduling saved over $ 2 MM in avoidable consulting services annually
* 30 day re-admission rates for heart failure and heart attacks were lowered by 10% and 12% respectively
* Patient satisfaction scores improved 7%

Piedmont Healthcare is indeed a harbinger of the ‘data and insights driven healthcare enterprise’ with innovative best practices in business user empowerment that many CIOs and healthcare providers want to accomplish, to deliver ROI on their significant HIT investments over the last 3-4 years.

To learn more about Piedmont Healthcare’s success and hear from Mark Jackson, their Business Intelligence manager, please click here.

I welcome your comments and feedback here and on Twitter at @HITstrategy.

Disclaimer: The perspective and views expressed in this Blogpost are my own and do not represent those of my current or previous employers.

3 responses to “How will CIOs maximize ROI on their Healthcare IT investments in 2015?”

  1. Kimberly Denney, D.B.A., MBA says:

    We couldn’t agree more that the focus is turning to the application of standard evidence based business processes that will drive higher safety, quality and efficiency.
    Stanson Health supported Cedars-Sinai in the translation of 180 Choosing Wisely recommendations into patient-specific, clinical guidance integrated at the point of care for their providers resulting in $4 million in savings.
    While delivering a greater than 10X ROI on this CDS, providers were safely guided in reducing waste associated with treatments and procedures where the harm exceeded the benefit or there was no patient benefit.

  2. Jim Sabogal, Advising clients in using IT to improve Healthcare & Life Sciences business says:

    I agree with your view and would add that as hospital systems look to address the change from volume to value based reimbursement and find new ways to deliver better services they are stuck with their current IT systems. these case studies help show the way to business improvements and goes back the the central issue of how best to ‘integrate’ the current IT solutions to help drive value or look to new technology to get the same results. I appreciate the post and the case study…. thanks, Jim

  3. Sumit Rao, VP of Engineering, IP Development at Cerner Corporation says:

    Enjoyed the article.

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