The data is in: Why metrics drive collaboration that's key to healthcare IT strategy

Remote and hybrid work arrangements are here to stay — and IT talent is no stranger to this trend. As healthcare organizations face increasingly sophisticated technology, operational and staffing challenges, working with a modern IT sourcing partner can improve stakeholder satisfaction and drive a metrics-driven culture across the enterprise.

During a February Becker's Hospital Review webinar sponsored by CereCore, two CereCore leaders — Joel St. Francis, vice president of shared services, and Peyman Zand, vice president of advisory services —  discussed strategies to improve IT teams' operational efficiency via strategic outsourcing.

Four key insights were:

  • Healthcare IT workforce challenges have been exacerbated post-pandemic. In the new world of work, the healthcare IT industry is competing for talent not only locally and across the sector, but also nationally, internationally and across industries.

IT teams need to re-engineer workflows so that they are scalable and match new care delivery models, such as telehealth. IT professionals must continually upskill to keep up with increasingly sophisticated AI-driven tools. And organizations need to maintain quality and manage risks associated with hiring the right IT people.

  • CIOs need to rethink their organizations' IT operations model. This includes considering the remote workforce, evaluating the value proposition of cloud migration and responding to the growing interest in IT outsourcing by devising flexible models that retain intellectual capital. "You no longer can have aging technologies and still attract top talent," Mr. Zand said.
  • Traditional IT outsourcing suffers from excessive complexity and undifferentiated resources. Working with a traditional outsourcing partner can often have undesirable effects, including:
    • Requiring too much paperwork can prompt clinical, revenue cycle and other departments to create "shadow IT" units, leading to increased rather than decreased costs.
    • Lacking the right resources or internal knowledge for key healthcare projects can hamper growth and innovation.
    • Not tying metrics to the client organization's end goals reduces satisfaction.
    • Offering cost reductions is no good if it comes at the cost of reduced service levels.
    • Unrealistic client expectations, if unchecked, can lead to misaligned client outsource arrangements.
  • Working with a managed service provider (MSP) can address many of those challenges. Health systems need to advance technology beyond what their IT teams can do. Collaborating with MSPs in a metrics-driven, shared-risk-and-reward model such as the one CereCore engages in can drive maturity. 

   Examples of relevant KPI groupings and metrics that power this model are: 

    • Project and operation costs (actual vs. budget, phase variances, ROI tracking) 
    • Productivity and time to market (lead time, turnaround time, production rate)
    • Defects/quality (operational defects, call volume)
    • Solution satisfaction (customer, patient, business executives, clinical team responsiveness)

"Value comes from being a metrics-driven culture," Mr. St. Francis said, noting that a metrics-driven culture must be shared across the enterprise and not just within IT. 

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