Last week I was lucky enough to listen to a number of you describing your IT environments and the current issues you face, and I’m a little shell shocked!
As EMC is an international company, we can sometimes convince international experts to visit and share their experience and knowledge with us. (Easier to do in our summer!) Last week we had two such experts, (Healthcare and Life Sciences), tour the country. A great opportunity for me to meet hospitals and researchers, and learn first-hand about your issues. My lesson learnt from the week was that your issues are shockingly consistent: Growth and Budget, (too much of one and not enough of the other, you know which!). Living the ‘doing more with less’ cliché.
What might surprise you was that in each case the prime cause is ‘stovepipes’. Segregation of departments, budgets, projects, planning, leading to the implementation of disparate systems, applications and datasets. (One person told us they had about 2000 applications in this single hospital, wow). So its not surprising that no-one seems to be able to provide a single patient view!
How were people thinking about solving this problem. Well on the whole a lot are not, they are too busy doing ‘business as usual’ or keeping the lights on, to even think about it. Others were very optimistic about implementing an organisational wide EMR/EHR, but as many were very sceptical about getting a business case up and showing any return on the investment.
In my experience, working in other verticals, the journey has always started within IT. The first step is to consolidate the environment, perhaps starting with the IT support systems and then moving into the ‘business’ applications. If you are a producer or consumer of IT services the goals remain the same:
- To cut costs: by increasing utilisation when moving to shared infrastructure.
- To become more responsive: by using virtualised technologies.
- To improve the service: by using automation.
At the end of the day the results have been impressive across the board, as an example EMC itself has taken this journey from consolidation to virtualisation to automation and we estimate the savings in the millions but more importantly:
- the amount EMC spends on ‘keeping the lights on’ from over 70% of the IT budget to less than 40%, and now invests in innovation.
- the time it takes to stand up a new service from over 3 months to under 1 day, freeing up people to help drive business outcomes.
If you are a customer of IT how about asking what are they doing, this year to cut the cost of the services they provide by x%, and how are they going to be more responsive to your requests?
While this may sound very tech-centric it’s a good place to start.. it’s the foundation that needs to be laid in order to move into the making healthcare healthy, (sorry)!