Healthcare Information Technology (IT) systems are expanding at an unprecedented rate. Now that we have evolved into a digital healthcare environment with electronic medical records, patient monitoring, communications and security systems our demands for connectivity and reliability are pushing the limits of existing networks in our hospitals.
Healthcare providers, like other market sectors, are mindful of the resources they have to invest in these economically challenging times. The simple task of building an IT infrastructure robust enough to support all of the demands placed on it can fall short when strategic goals are not included in the planning process. In fact, itâ€™s important to recognize this opportunity to create and improve clinical practices.
Knowledge Is Power
Syska Hennessy Group has found that the logical first step is to conduct an audit to survey existing clinical, facility and information technology systems to describe a current state of readiness. The audit has to be informed with an understanding of clinical flow, of relationships between departments such as the pharmacy, lab, OR, prep, recovery, L&D, central supply, security, IT, as well as the C-suite considerations.
A well-executed audit will describe all elements of the IT system, and review its use and current state. Just as importantly, it should define the industry direction of each component and lay out recommendations for moving forward, whether that involves repair, replacement, upgrading or leaving it alone. Potential cost information and prioritization information is also an important element of these surveys.
Map to the Future
With the completion of an audit, it is then possible to develop an informed master plan that can map a path to the future. An effective master plan forecasts upcoming innovations and describes healthcare industry best practices. It should include â€œenterprise architectureâ€ as a blueprint that defines the organizational mission, the information necessary to perform the mission, the technologies necessary to perform the mission, and the transitional processes for implementing new technologies.