How Mount Sinai Health System is reducing long-term IT costs: 3 Qs with CIO Kumar Chatani

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Kumar Chatani, executive vice president and CIO at Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, discusses initiatives the health system has in place to reduce IT costs as well as the health IT projects he's most excited for in 2019.

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Question: What does your health IT budget look like this year? Is it trending up or down over previous years?

Kumar Chatani: Over the last several years, our IT operating budget has been flat after adjusting for inflation. It is trending slightly down this year. We have several initiatives currently underway to reduce our long-term cost. These initiatives are centered on consolidating our application portfolio and infrastructure technologies as we standardize our business processes and technology assets across our health system. We are realizing economies of scale.

Q: How are you allocating the budget? What difference is there this year compared to previous years?

KC: We're allocating our budget toward refreshing, upgrading and expanding our capacity of current applications and foundational infrastructure to maintain services that support our delivery of operational excellence across our health system. This includes continuing our efforts to upgrade end-of-life Microsoft solutions and enhancing our cybersecurity technologies. In addition, to support the ongoing growth of our health system and our efforts to standardize our clinical systems, we're continuing the implementation of Epic inpatient deployments across all of our hospital sites and locations.

Q: What projects are you most excited about for 2019?

KC: A major exciting initiative underway for 2019 is the implementation of a new cloud-based enterprise resource planning solution, which will serve as a unified platform to centralize, standardize, modernize and automate our processes across our health system, including our hospitals and our school of medicine. This will not only standardize processes from a technology point of view, but also align our core business functions by streamlining the exchange of information and modernizing the way we do business.

Another exciting project is improving our patients' access to care through the expansion of our Epic telehealth capabilities and offerings. We currently use Epic video visits as part of our organization's telehealth offerings, and we are continuing to expand this offering to other sites and locations. Upcoming plans include a large expansion effort across our Mount Sinai downtown New York City-based locations and the implementation of telehealth solutions for the Mount Sinai practices at Hudson Yards in New York City.

To learn more about clinical and IT leadership, register for the Becker's Hospital Review 2nd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership Conference May 2-4, 2019 in Chicago. Click here to learn more and register.

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