Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) Strategic Planning
Early adaptors of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) process are
discovering that they have to prepare for a wave of change, which will
impact the entire organization, long before they bring in an IT
specialist. The Health Information Technology (HIT) component of the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law on
February 17, 2009. A specific goal of Medicare and Medicaid HIT
provisions is to provide incentives for the adoption of certified
Electronic Health Records (EHR).
Over a five year period health care providers can be reimbursed a total
of $44,000 if they show meaningful use of Electronic Health Record (EHR)
technology. Eventually, by year 2015, there will be penalties for medical
professionals that do not adopt EHR.
To maximize HIT payments, providers must begin to submit for incentive
payments during the 2011 and 2012 calendar year. This is good news for
organizations that have been contemplating an ERH process, as they can
benefit from these lessons learned from others that have jumped in and
implemented the process through trial and error.
Consistent with any major change management process, it is essential that
the leadership be aware of the disruptive effect the EHR process will
have throughout the organization.
The strategic planning processes provides a format for developing
specific strategies, converting those strategies into a business planning
process and establish measurable and attainable organizational goals. It
is a process that not only determines where an organization wants and
needs to go, but also, how it is going to get there
HIT Strategic Planning:
Health Information Technology (HIT) payments are spread out over a 5 year
period. This is the time to seize the opportunity to develop a five-year
strategic plan with short and long term goals that coincide with the HIT
planning process and the organizations mission.
At the start of the process, creating and communicating a compelling
vision is the powerful directional force. The vision sets the strategy
for the next 5 to 10 years and positions the future success of the
organization, its migration to EHR technology and the resulting improved
patient information and care.
An effective planning process needs to include an external assessment and
an internal appraisal. The external assessment considers the
organizations customer or market segments, along with a competitive and
trend analysis. A formalized internal appraisal should objectively review
the organizations structure & functions, resources, strengths and
limitations. A survey assessment tool from a third-party, not affiliated
with the organization, will generate unbiased results
Collaboration: It is essential that the HIT team truly represent the
organizations clinical leadership, in addition to administrative and IT
leadership teams. Before EHR implementation begins, consider completing a
comprehensive work flow analysis to review the current efficiency of the
organization prior to IT intervention
It has been early adaptors experience that organizations are never fully
prepared for the loss in productivity that accompanies the EHR planning
and implementation process. Allow enough time for the EHR team to
complete the selection, planning and implementation process (24 to 36
months is recommended).
Communication: A clear and upfront communication of the organizations
vision, and how HIT will fit into the mission, needs to be determined by
the leadership team before beginning the EHR process.
Update policies and procedures to inform staff, with clear and concise
documentation, on how roles, responsibilities and processes may have been
Implement a standardized orientation process to insure consistency.
Cross-fertilization of department staff within orientation, training &
development sessions has been a helpful strategy in learning the big
picture. Leadership support for an environment of trust and open
communication was found to foster honest feedback on the system and the
EHR implementation process, which points to the increased buy-in that is
necessary for successful HIT initiatives.
It is inevitable that EHR will begin to transfer an organizational
culture that may be founded on yesterdays paradigms and ideas. Among the
lessons learned by early adapters of electronic healthcare technology is
leadership teams who develop a strategy that includes collaboration,
communication and cooperation before beginning the process create an
environment in which people are prepared and excited about
operationalizing the vision.
Aligning resources and establishing guidelines for effectively leading
people across the organization, before beginning the EHR selection
process, will ultimately lead to a higher level of performance.
Medical professionals can take full advantage of the ARRA HIT timeline
and the maximum payment schedule by beginning the EHR development process
in 2011 or 2012 and submitting for reimbursement. Now is the time to
create a strategy which determines the future direction of the
organization and what organizational resources will be needed to
determine that success.
Kevin Danaher is President of Danaher Development International, LLC, a
strategic planning consulting company, focusing on aligning strategy,
people and processes around measurable and attainable, customer-centric
goals. Danaher has successfully used the strategic development process to
reposition health care organizations create brand alignment and shift the
organization's focus on profitable, customer relationships. Danaher can
be reached at http://www.DanaherDevelopment.com.