Written by: Evan Katzman, OptiSave

Demands on health systems’ Information Technology (IT) teams continue to grow exponentially. ERP and EMR implementations, integrations accompanying mergers and acquisitions, and securing an ever-expanding digital footprint are just a few of the challenges being faced by these teams - all while keeping the environment secure and running smoothly. Over time, these demands have forced many health systems to focus on ensuring coverage vs. optimization, ultimately leaving significant dollars on the table. We compiled 4 tips for you to help optimize your IT environment going into 2021, which in turn will prevent you from leaving those dollars on the table.

Top 4 IT Optimization Recommendations for 2021:

  • Security – Ensure you have an effective IT security plan based on Zero Trust.  Typically, we see either a best-of-breed or all-in, single vendor approach.  Additionally, we recommend an annual security audit and test, preferably with a different audit vendor each year.  Addressing vulnerability and PHI security is a key priority – each firm has a slightly different methodology which may uncover new issues. Also with the issues surrounding the SolarWinds network management software breach, country of origin risk should be considered.
  • Roadmaps – Update your technology roadmaps.  We recommend developing a plan that supports the organization's digital migration and achievement of operational goals.   There are many unknowns as we start 2021 – the pandemic and related costs, patient volumes, funding availability for current and future projects, regulatory changes etc.  The need for care providers to be nimble and flexible is paramount.
  • Enabling Technology  – With the rapid technology evolution we’ve seen over  the last few years, e.g.,  voice enablement, cloud services, wearable medical devices, artificial intelligence and structural changes (telehealth, telemedicine and telework), we are entering an era where traditional structure for providing services is rapidly changing. All providers will be deploying enabling technology, resulting in health services increasingly performed and supported remotely – with amplified focus on tracking analytics including patient satisfaction, outcomes, staff performance, and revenue impacts.
  • Rely on Subject Matter Experts – Because of the changing environment and complexity of new technology  - and associated licensing and vendor agreements - it’s even more critical to utilize and collaborate with subject matter experts on your strategy, sourcing, implementation and support. 

Implementing these 4 tips into your health systems IT environment is a big step in the right direction. We hope this helps you optimize your IT environment in 2021 and in the future to come.