In partnership with CHIME, healthsystemCIO.com has developed a blogger series featuring insights from hospital and health system CIOs and other key IT leaders representing organizations from around the country. The blogs, which will be featured on our site on a biweekly basis, will focus on the major issues affecting CIOs, including the health IT workforce shortage, mobile device management, and federal regulations.
Technology has become a cornerstone to the success of hospitals, health systems, providers and payers across the nation. As the digitization of healthcare continues, we see the proliferation of EMRs which facilitate the interoperability of data. We see the promotion of information-based care management and the encouragement of healthy communities. We see an accountability framework emerging that is shifting risk from the insurers to the providers. These new Accountable Care Organizations (and their variants) are here to stay, and they are driving the need for big data and analytics which will be foundational to future care models.
In addition, we see a shift from quality and safety to outcomes and value. Some will say, “Our income will depend on our ability to drive outcomes.” Meaningful Use Stage I and II, ICD-10, ACO and Big Data have CIOs scratching our heads, trying to figure out how it can all be done, while at the same time keeping budgets in line, and salaries and implementation costs in check.
The IT workforce is a critical part of balancing all these priorities. CIOs will need a flexible, agile workforce to be successful in this new digital healthcare world. CIOs and their Human Resources departments will need to be creative and innovate, not just with the technology but with their staffing models as well. CIOs will need to think about outsourcing, co-sourcing, 1099 and other such arrangements to augment the traditional employed model. The goal of all this is to build an IT department that can flex and scale with the enterprise as it responds to a very rapidly changing marketplace.
So what is the roadmap to creating this “flexible, agile IT workforce” of the future? This is a significant body of work for your team. When building this roadmap, your partner will be the Chief People Officer/Human Resources Department. Creativity and thinking outside the box will be necessary skills as you start this process.
- Conduct an assessment within the enterprise and then within the IT organization. This assessment’s deliverables include a detailed skills inventory, as well as a fit and performance evaluation of the IT and IT-related employees both inside and outside of IT. Here is where you need to carefully evaluate all employees for hidden talents and leadership skills. When Step 1 is complete, you should know very clearly what you have. Communication is the key to keeping the current workforce focused on the work at hand while this effort unfolds, so communicate, communicate and communicate some more. You can never over-communicate.
- Work to understand what is needed by both the enterprise and what is needed by the IT organization. CIOs need to ask critical question of their leadership team and of the enterprise leadership to ensure there is alignment with regard to the Enterprise and IT imperatives. A careful analysis of what is critical to keep “in house” and what could be done better, faster and cheaper with outside labor should be done as a deliverable from this step.
- Develop a multi-phased plan that incorporates some of innovative relationships with vendor partners, unique 1099 relationships, leasing, outsourcing, and co-sourcing to build the IT workforce of the future. As with all projects, it is imperative that CIOs keep the rest of the enterprise informed. Be sure that part of the deliverables from this step includes a detailed communication plan. Again, remember, your human resources department is a partner in the development of this plan.
- Execute the multi-phased plan. Our experience here is that it will take time. Do not rush through the execution of the plan. Move with intent and communicate, communicate, …
Having been through this once, it is worth the journey. People will surprise and delight you every day. My co-author was my coach and guide during the development and execution of the plan we have shared here. The results where amazing — over $1 million in labor savings, improved customer satisfaction and better employee satisfaction.
This article is co-authored by Martha Davis, Organizational Consultant, Davis Group, LLC