How UAB Health makes IT purchasing decisions

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Joan Hicks, CIO of UAB Health System in Birmingham, Ala., recently joined the Becker's Healthcare podcast to discuss the big challenges in health IT today and how her system makes IT purchasing decisions.

Below is an excerpt from the podcast. Click here to listen to the full episode and subscribe.

Question: How do you make decisions about IT purchasing?

Joan Hicks: It's certainly a decision not made just by IT. These are business decisions. It is our role, or job, to help from an IT perspective. We help the requesters clearly define the problem they are trying to solve. There is so much technology out there. [We ask] what problem are you trying to solve and why? Why is that problem important? How does this solution fit into our ecosystem? It's got to fit in. There just isn't a place for the standalone isolated items. [We consider whether] there is a solution we already have in place in the 500-plus solution portfolio that either meets that need, solves the problem, or with a little bit of enhancement could it be made to do so. That is the type of data we gather and present back to our senior operations team, and they help us with those decisions.

We also really look at the ownership and storage of our data and the reuse of our data. That is becoming more prevalent in all the contracts we see. Healthcare data is extremely valuable, and [vendors] want to be able to use it. Our goal is to understand for what purpose they want to use it. Even under the HIPAA regulations, we can still give access to tremendous information. We want to be thoughtful and drill down into what the data will be used for if it is determined that vendors can use our patients' data, for how long, and what are their plans for destruction in the future. That's one of the things we always look at: the ownership and site of where that data will be stored.

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