Healthcare's Innovation / Operations Dichotomy.
deep Dive Session Summary
Health 2.0 Provider Symposium, Santa Clara, CA
The Provider Symposium kicked-off the 2016 Health 2.0 Fall Conference. This pre-conference event gathered over 200 CIO’s/executives from leading healthcare systems, practicing providers, and leaders from innovative healthcare technology companies for an exciting mash-up of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to drive better health outcomes.
As part of this day, POMIET facilitated a deep-dive session on strategies for solving healthcare's innovations/operations dichotomy. Faced with increasing consumer demands, endless technology opportunities, confusing compliance requirements, and drastically changing regulations, a critical question has emerged:
How can leaders realistically move their IT organizations to adapt and be poised to capture new opportunities—while also keeping day-to-day operations running?
This is the epicenter of the innovation/operations dichotomy. How can we solve the innovation/operations dichotomy? Gartner Group proposes Bimodal Teams. Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) proposes budget re-allocation (30% of budgets should be dedicated to differentiated capabilities (innovation), versus the <10% that is committed today). These are two strategies, and the deep dive session was an opportunity to uncover more.
Select leaders at the Provider Symposium were invited to share their top challenges around this topic and discuss questions and learnings amongst peers.
In a pre-event survey, the participants provided top items related to the innovation/operations dichotomy. Those are summarized below.
- How to leverage app development partnerships and still direct the development mission and maintain oversight?
- How to acquire pilot partners and navigate the decision-making process?
- How to improve MD-to-MD and MD-to-Patient communications?
- How to balance current market leading decisions with profitable operations?
- How to balance innovations and operations?
- How to find thought-leaders and capture evidence-based outcomes for patients?
- How existing EMR systems are barriers to innovation.
- How to walk away from legacy systems?
Using these topics as a starting point, the discussions covered broad ground in the brief time we had together. Two clear themes emerged from the group:
- The current EHR/EMR systems make innovation very difficult, or in some cases unreachable. The effort required to integrate an innovative solution (technology) into the continuum of care is very demanding and limiting—and one that few innovations can survive without ample time, money, stakeholder support, and more.
- Health IT needs to be disrupted in order to truly advance. This is a bold conclusion. However there are high dollars (and possibly executive careers) invested in current EHR/EMR systems. The group discussed how, because of this, it will be a long time before moving away from existing EHR/EMR systems would be considered. It will take a big shift before the strategy of “let’s hope it’s in the next version” gets displaced.
Other highlights from the discussions included:
- Executive support for innovation is not perceived as a road block. With new and growing innovation groups emerging in healthcare systems, the group felt there was adequate support from the top. Although Champions of specific innovations may change or leave.
- In contrast, today’s CIOs already have their hands full keeping operations running. Innovation is coming at them, and frequently is not something they can respond to or lead.
- Physicians are overwhelmed, and change is too much to handle (cognitive load/burden). Physician champions for new solutions are few, and hard to come by.
- Much of the innovation being implemented today comes from start-ups and small groups in the hospital, and usually are in the form of a targeted/narrow software applications (apps).
- This results in a large collection of isolated, varied apps accumulating in the healthcare enterprise. Integration of these apps is difficult.
- The current EHR/EMR systems are viewed as the primary blockers for innovation.
- Large expense and still absorbing that cost.
- Organizations tend to wait for the EHR/EMR system to innovate for them.
- EMR systems do not easily integrate to allow for innovation.
- EMR systems cannot easily be replaced because of incurred cost and primary global use throughout the health system.
So what can we do to address these challenges? Some of the solutions discussed were:
- Integrate innovations (individual apps) into the broader technology roadmap.
- Enlist multiple Champions to support the innovation, as they quickly move around and change. Plan ahead to ensure you have the support of more than just one.
- Pursue focused, iterative pilot programs to ensure buy-in and successful delivery—with an eye on proving clinical value first, and not integrating into the continuum of care too early.
- Begin a culture shift sway from EHR/EMR reliance. For example: mandate it’s not their data.
- Incorporate cloud-based architecture, as this may enable disruption.
- Disrupt the current EHR/EMR structure.
What do you think? Let’s continue to discuss what works, what doesn’t work, and how can we approach this successfully moving forward—because the future of healthcare depends upon it.
Here are few ways you can get engaged:
- Join in the conversation on the LinkedIn Group: HIT Strategies: Innovation & Operations Balance
- Read our post on an alternate HIT model to support success.
- Contact us directly to talk about strategies that may work for you.