The journey and the destination: Helping hospitals and health systems unlock the strategic value of technology

Published: September 15, 2016

Executive summary

The healthcare industry remains mired in uncertainty, and technology investments represent some of the largest and riskiest bets providers are placing. If these bets are to pay off, they have to be placed with an eye toward the overall destination of a hospital, a health system, or a physician group. Whether a provider aims to lead in complex care, access, or value, the technology must follow.

Getting to a destination requires discipline about which opportunities the organization should — and should not — pursue, which in turn leads to a corresponding set of technology priorities and capabilities that the organization will need to build. By first determining the destination, providers can systematically focus on a few capabilities, giving greater clarity to management teams and IT functions, and empowering the organization to generate dramatic gains in operational and financial performance.

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The promise — and the challenge — of technology

The New Health Economy is here, but not everyone is reaping its rewards. In this environment, technological breakthroughs, analytical tools, and policy shifts are combining to reward quality over quantity and to empower consumers as direct participants in their own care. Every individual, employer, insurer, and public-sector payor wants more value — defined as better health that is obtained more conveniently, securely, and affordably.

This shift is presenting major growing pains for many providers. Hundreds of rural hospitals are vulnerable to closing. Health systems are still catching their breath from the latest EMR implementation or struggling to digest an acquisition. Even the industry giants are warily eyeing the growing power of payors and employers, while worrying about regulation, disruption, and security.

Capturing value in the New Health Economy requires investing in technology and new capabilities to manage risk and change behaviors. Hospital and health system executives understand this, yet they face a dizzying range of technology choices, amid scarce resources and little organizational patience. Every choice has consequences, every day matters, and every dollar counts. Fortunately, there is a way to make technology choices and operate in a thoughtful, coherent manner.

In this environment, every choice has consequences, every day matters, and every dollar counts.

Pre-departure checklist

The array of destinations, stages, and capabilities may seem overwhelming in complexity, but it is rich in opportunity. As your organization embarks on this journey, we believe that a simple checklist is in order — to make sure that you know the answers to the most critical questions.

  • Why will patients and customers choose me and continue choosing me?
  • How can I define and get paid for value?
  • How can I open up to more patients and customers without increasing my physical footprint?
  • How can I make better decisions, faster?
  • How can I make my technology a differentiator?
  • How can I maintain and monetize my leading edge?
  • What are the capabilities in which I must lead, and how far off is my current performance?
  • Is my current IT plan going to get me to my strategic destination?

Conclusion

In the New Health Economy, technology is critical in helping all market participants capture greater value. But the range of technological options — and the pace of change — can be dizzying. We believe that success comes from management teams defining the right destination for their particular circumstances, and then building the technology and capabilities needed to execute. This process requires making some tough decisions, and having the discipline to see them through. However, it leads to strategic clarity and helps organizations become more coherent, leaving them better equipped to thrive in a dynamic market.

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The journey and the destination: Helping hospitals and health systems unlock the strategic value of technology