Second day in Boston: Web 2.0, CIO Strategy and Analytics

Second day of the Leadership Strategies for Healthcare IT whilst the snow fell outside was fascinating.

Started off with a  discussion of Web 2.0 as it relates to IT strategy. John Glaser poked us about whether this is a profound new technology, and if so how should we react to it. Lots of discussions about the interaction between consumer technologies and enterprise technologies, and whether the two can coexist. We explored new ideas of how we would explore this within a healthcare enterprise. Dr Glaser’s strategy of fostering some exploration within the confines of the enterprise was very interesting. How do you enable users to try new stuff without compromising the integrity of the enterprise, recognising that you can’t ignore it as your users are going to use it anyway.

Dr Gary Gottlieb, the CEO of Partners Health Care provided a great presentation on why his group has used IT as a tool for care redesign. The pressure is on them to either drop their price or demonstrate value, and by the strategic utilisation of IT they have been able to do both. It required some hard decisions to be made, and was very reliant on strategic alignment across the organisation.

We then moved on to a great panel of two CIOs, from John Hopkins Medical and Lifespan in Rhode Island along with John Glaser. Interesting the issues they face and their need to work at a much higher level than just their IT infrastructure. Key learning was that a successful CIO needs to be a great corporate communicator and needs to position themselves as a strategist as well as a domain expert.

After lunch Tom Davenport spoke to us about analytics in healthcare. This would seem to be the huge growth area in health IT and a great example of why moving much of your data into the cloud makes sense as real-time analytics will allow for better decisions. Good discussion about the need for data to enable analytics,a nd whether current EMR systems are capable of providing that data.

Ended the day with a robust discussion on IT strategy and associated value. Incremental improvement versus the expectation of revolutionary change seems to be the best way forward, and the need to understand what value is to the healthcare entity. Some interesting examples of how to get the board on-line with the strategy, linked more to the CIOs skill in communicating and recognising the triggers that drive individuals.

At the end of the day it seems that the CIOs interpersonal skills are as important if not more so than their technical skills, and stakeholder engagement remains the biggest challenge to implementation of IT strategy in healthcare.

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