How healthcare leaders are working to reduce costs, strengthen cybersecurity and support consumerism — 4 learnings

Over the last decade, healthcare organizations have made great strides in patient safety and clinical quality. Looking ahead to the next 10 years, healthcare IT teams must focus on financial health, clinical efficiency and ongoing excellence.

During a session sponsored by Allscripts at Becker's Hospital Review 9th Annual CEO & CFO Roundtable in November, participants explored how healthcare organizations are leveraging technology to enhance operational sustainability. Salman Naqvi, MD, Allscripts' director of professional services and CMIO, and Carolyn Fallon, a senior solutions manager at Allscripts, moderated the discussion.

Four key learnings were:

  • At leading health systems, CEOs and CIOs are strategic partners. Relationships based on trust are essential, so that CIOs feel comfortable sharing bad news and offering solutions. Given today's cybersecurity landscape, the CEO-CIO partnership is more important than ever. One participant commented that his CIO must vet all technologies. "If we have a cyber-attack, that's going to be our worst day," he said. "Clinicians think having two-factor authentication on their phones is their worst day, but I can tell you that the day you get hacked is far worse."
  • Unified technology platforms support healthcare consumerism. Approximately three years ago, a multi-state health system based on the West Coast embarked on a journey to deliver consumer-oriented healthcare. Thinking about patients as consumers requires a different mentality. There is a greater focus on customer service and fostering patient loyalty. This initiative has also required a new approach to technology. The health system's CFO commented, "We want to engage digitally with patients at every touch point in their lives, from scheduling appointments to wellness care. This means a single platform that people can navigate in a holistic way and an easy-to-access digital front door. On the revenue cycle side, we have spent time thinking about a single billing office."
  • Artificial Intelligence is a fruitful area for research, but healthcare leaders feel the technology is far from mature. Although many healthcare organizations have adopted robotic process automation for revenue cycle tasks, healthcare applications based on true artificial intelligence aren't yet ready for primetime. "AI is about presenting causality between decisions, data and outcomes," one attendee said. "What vendors offer today isn't there yet."
  • To improve operational efficiency, healthcare organizations must carefully evaluate technology vendors. Dr. Naqvi recommended asking several questions, including: How are you incorporating design principles to work for all users? How are you designing functionality so no additional human input is required? Are you creating solutions that will scale dynamically; for example, can you reduce the system's hardware requirements and scale up as needed?

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