Spring is here and the economy is showing signs of recovery, which is good news for all. The nation’s health systems have shown restraint in regards to spending on new construction, according to a recent survey in Health Facilities Management, but needed facelifts and infrastructure improvements seem to be picking up again.
If your organization is lucky enough to be part of the building boom, as the health system CIO, you need to be at the center of the strategic planning and development of new building initiatives. More and more, senior IT leaders are being held accountable for planning, preparation, and management of new construction.
Automation and safety
Automation and patient safety are key components in planning new healthcare construction. A recent AARP article, “Lessons from America’s Safest Hospitals,” discusses what many top hospitals are doing to ensure safety and reduce medical errors. This illustration of a patient hospital room with safety and IT features shows how important the design and build will be in the success of patient safety efforts.
The CIO needs to be actively involved in planning, design, and getting end-user input to be successful. IT management will need to identify, evaluate, and select specific information technology that can support the new construction and IT strategic direction.
New positions sought
Two of the nation’s premier medical centers, NYU Langone Medical Center and Stanford Hospital and Clinics, are undergoing major new building projects on their campuses. This has created new leadership positions within their IT departments: Senior Director — Real Estate Development & Facilities IT Services at NYU, and Director, New Stanford Hospital Technologies.
These new roles will require an extensive understanding of healthcare, modern and emerging healthcare IT program management, and hospital construction. These are innovative, creative positions for IT leaders who can successfully lead state-of-the-art hospital building projects and help creatively repurpose existing buildings.
CIOs and the IT department will need to be part of any new hospital and healthcare facility construction to assure that the automation needs are met and align with the organization’s strategic goals. The need to reduce medical errors, design patient rooms to ensure safety, and accommodate emerging technologies for automation is essential for the long-term plans for any health system.
Consider how your expertise might support the needs of your hospital or health system during construction projects, or what you can do to develop your knowledge base about these types of projects for the future.