Health IT consulting has been forced to adapt to the many rapidly evolving healthcare information technologies. How else would consultants assist healthcare provider organizations in mastering these technological advancements?
However, consultants throughout the health IT consulting industry have varying ideas on what must be done to properly aid healthcare providers with technology.
One of the most prevalent goals for health IT consultants is to move beyond prediction. There is a specific focus on data science and applications that utilize connected datasets. These applications and the corresponding datasets must be powered by cloud-based AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics.
Prediction, however, tends to be event-driven and short-term. Healthcare CIOs and health IT consultants should have a long-term vision that is goal-driven. Many in the industry are focused on the most advanced technologies, but what the industry really needs is a system that is inexpensive, standardized, and scalable.
Beyond the EHR
Up until now, an overwhelming majority of health IT consulting has been EHR-centric. As a result, EHR and revenue cycle systems migration is very well-understood. Focus is beginning to shift toward extracting the most value from investments as well as identifying which additional investments must be made to create a competitive advantage for the system.
As healthcare providers transition and make changes, consultants will have to offer services to ease the shift. The main transition will be toward a focus on a system-wide improvement to clinical and financial outcomes, but it will also include internally-developed interdisciplinary strategies.
IT will be more successful when CIOs stop reacting to external timelines and plans, like vendor roadmaps generated from product lifecycle schedules. Success will come as CIOs begin building frameworks that drive improved clinical and financial performance.
The Impact of Consumerism
Consumerism has had a significant impact on patient expectations, which has, in turn, forced healthcare providers to make changes. Patients want to receive the best medical care available, but they also demand a first-rate experience throughout the process.
As CIOs begin to see their healthcare organizations judged and rated by patients’ overall experiences, they will begin to focus on meeting these “consumerized” demands.
This trend is likely to accelerate in the near future, so health IT consultants will need to successfully help healthcare organizations adapt. Other organizations, like Amazon, CVS, and Apple, will likely test the waters and announce themselves as care providers. If this happens, CIOs should plan ahead to effectively meet any expectations these retail giants set.
Companies like Amazon might recognize that traditional providers have been slow to provide a great combination of ease of access, quality of care, and low cost. If they see this as an opportunity, traditional healthcare providers could be on their heels. Instead, CIOs should recognize the consumerism trend and develop a digital strategy and build a competitive advantage. Consulting firms should also embrace this change and must be ready to assist in the planning process.
In accordance with this, health IT consultants must get healthcare providers to implement the latest technologies now and not later. Some healthcare organizations have treated emerging technologies like they are luxuries that don’t have any immediate value. However, this is far from the truth. Many technologies have rapidly matured to the point where they are being implemented to meet business needs. Analytics, AI, and IoT solutions must be a part of structured roll-out plans for organizations, or else these providers can fall behind.
Health IT consultants can no longer be internal caretakers. Instead, they must work to become innovation and technology hubs so they can provide greater value to their clients.