Health system consolidation, regulatory changes, cyber security, electronic medical records implementations, infrastructure resiliency, data interoperability, health information exchanges and analytics are just a few of the IT trends that continued to accelerate throughout 2016.
The management of these and other trends may seem overwhelming as they require a wide-variety of skills, processes, technologies in order to enable a health system’s operations. Patient care can often be complicated and requires uncanny coordination amongst many care team members. This culture of coordination, cooperation and communication is the DNA of successful health systems.
Throughout the years, the role of information systems has become an integral catalyst in the enablement of this culture and is poised to play even a more significant role in upcoming years.
So what can we learn from the year 2016 and its impact on information systems for the future? I believe a few things:
1. Collaboration and partnership between information systems and operational leadership must continue to improve. Responsibility for this improvement lies with all members of the health system. IS members need to fine tune their communication and problem solving skills in order to better understand the impact of technology on clinician and other workforce workflows. Alternatively, operational leaders must continue to become much more conversant regarding the manner in which technology can enable their operational goals and objectives.
2. The precision of project performance across the wide variety of information services towers will continue to require broad and highly skilled personnel. As a result, the recruitment and retention of IS personnel and their ability to function as a team is now a critical success factor for health systems.
3. It is unfathomable to think that one team can be expert in all information service towers. The development of trusted and mutually beneficial vendor partnerships to augment and accelerate work efforts is a necessity for a high performing information services team.
The results of the November 2016 election has set in motion the potential for significant change within the healthcare industry. This change may further complicate the manner in which health systems operate and administer care to our patients.
Throughout this change, however, one thing will surely remain constant: the role of information systems to enable a culture of coordination, cooperation and communication will be a critical factor to our ongoing success.
Mike Restuccia is the CIO of Penn Medicine.