CHIME21: Healthcare gears up for faster implementations in a digital world
From three years to six weeks
The time it takes for a healthcare system to implement a digital strategy will only decrease over time, said Donna Roach, CIO of the University of Utah Health.
âIn this digital world, you can’t have a three-year implementation. You have to have really quick wins – two week lead times, six week lead times – so that you are constantly making the improvement, âshe said in a digital discussion titledâ Digital Health Results: ROI-focused use cases and lessons from Foreground. “
When she took over as CIO a year ago, Roach said, expanding virtual care and telehealth were fundamental elements of the organization’s digital strategy. She has also cultivated a strong partnership with the Director of Medical Information, Dr Maia Hightower.
âI was very lucky to come into an organization where they already had a huge 2025 strategy update,â Roach said. âWe took this strategy refresh and looked at what was in it that was digitally enabled and designed our digital strategy and our digital work, even our digital governance, based on the strategy refresh. “
The University of Utah Health has not only improved its virtual care offerings, Roach said, but it has also addressed self-service access for patients.
MORE FROM CHIME21: Find out why the human experience is the future of healthcare.
âThe barrier is rethinking the way you deliver products and services in very nimble, fast-winning terminology, and also getting people behind that type of structure. It’s really about focusing on this design thinking, âshe added. âIt’s about creating this ‘Mode 2’ way of thinking in terms of agility, innovation and revolving around the new offers you can make with digital. “
Roach also said it’s important to make sure strategies are aligned with stakeholders instead of bringing in his team and taking over projects to build relationships and have conversations earlier in the process.
âDoing this up front and putting a lot of time and effort into building that relationship has helped me discover other initiatives, and there are many other initiatives,â she said.
Jim Feen, senior vice president and chief IT officer of Southcoast Health in Massachusetts, added that it’s critical to move beyond conversations and take action.
âYou can spend a lot of time talking about digital strategy and what it’s really about,â Feen said. âAs CIOs, we are rightly concerned with what this means for your technology stack, what it means for cybersecurity, what it means for your process. But I think it spends more time on the what and not the how, and simplifies the needs.
Partnerships help the process
Healthcare organizations looking for new enterprise resource planning solutions must be intentional in their strategies, said Tim Oberschlake, vice president of technology management and consulting firm Avaap, in a digital discussion titled “Considerations for Selecting Cloud ERP System in Digital Transformation”.
âWhen considering a new ERP system, make sure you don’t do it the same way you did with your old ERP implementation or selection process,â he said. “I think that’s the biggest mistake people make.”
Working with a partner who is experienced in ERP implementation and has a solid knowledge of vendors can ease the process, especially as the digital landscape continues to evolve.
READ MORE: Where can cloud adoption go wrong and how can healthcare IT teams solve these problems?
âAt the end of the day, you don’t get a new system because you want to keep doing what you’re doing today,â Oberschlake said. âYou get a new system so that you can really improve yourself, improve your efficiency as an organization in the future. “
In a separate digital discussion titled âThe Patient in Focus: Rapid Deployment of a Digital Patient Experience to Increase Access and Efficiency,â John Hamm, vice president of IT, Artificial Intelligence, data, clinical and business solutions at Texas Children’s Hospital, underscored the importance of partnerships during rapid transformations that have helped advance IT and bring much-needed skills.
âWe had to do it quickly. So we took a step back and started transforming the underlying foundation, including the implementation of agile methodologies, not only within IT but across the organization, âsaid Hamm.
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