Operating in 'growth-mode': The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center CIO Phyllis Teater answers 3Qs on IT budgeting

Phyllis Teater, CIO at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, discusses operating and capital budget allocation as well as what technological investments the hospital is making 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?

Phyllis Teater: Our academic medical center is in growth mode, so the budget is holding steady, or trending slightly up over previous years. We are seeing some increases in nonlabor costs due to our extension of services, but we are trying to hold the labor flat through efficiencies despite the growth.

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

PT: Our operating budget is allocated to the ongoing cost of running our systems to support our three-part mission of patient care, teaching and research. Large categories include staffing, purchased services, which are subscription-based technology services, as well as software and hardware maintenance costs and small equipment purchases such as end-user devices.

Our capital budget has three components, a large yearly investment in our infrastructure for replacement of out-of-support technology as well as increases in capacity of storage, servers, network, etc. It also includes a set of 'threshold (=>$500,000)' project-based asks that compete with all large health system investments, and a 'non-threshold (<$500,000)' allocation for multiple small project-based requests. We engage our stakeholders in the prioritization of all requests.

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

PT: This year we are making a significant investment in digital properties to take the next steps to technologically enable our patient experience. This includes building services to deliver healthcare virtually where appropriate. We are also installing a module of our EMR system to help us better manage patients' progress through their care experience. Lastly, we are migrating to a new analytics platform that will allow us to enhance the delivery of information and analytics, enabling our leaders and staff to improve the quality and service we provide to our patients, researchers and students.

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.

To participate in future Becker's Q&As, contact Jackie Drees at jdrees@beckershealthcare.com.

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