New healthcare technologies should drive new processes

By Janice Young, IDC Health Insights,

A leading developmental focus of nearly all technology vendors in the past year has been the creation of more adaptive and flexible applications.  Current market solutions leverage SOA, integrated workflow and business rules to create both greater flexibility for technology management and also user management and configuration.  With a highly volatile market place, changing market priorities to health and wellness business strategies and considerable reform unknowns, the emerging flexible and customizable technology, application and functional environment could not be more important. 

Early observations from both vendors and healthcare payers are that the combination of new technologies and new business models is triggering a new era of business process redesign. And, early observations are that the level of organization and business management needed to effectively leverage the new technologies for current and future business has caught some innovators by surprise.  One of the most important benefits of the newer emerging applications is that they shift effort previously supported by technology departments to business units. Rather than have to submit a request for an application enhancement, a skilled business user using a more flexible, rules based application, can make, test, review and accept many changes without necessarily having to invoke specific resources within the technology business unit.  The business changes and management are in the hands of the business user.

This shift, however, changes the roles of both the technology and the business user staff.  The combination of adaptive technologies and shifting roles require new roles and responsibilities, new training, new business processes, new organizational models.  And while the business user may be conceptually eager to have more responsive solutions and the technology organization conceptually eager to shift long lists of enhancement requests back into the hands of the users - old habits die hard.  At HIMSS, more than a few technology staff raised the question, "how do we actually get the end users to take responsibility for ownership of these applications, data and information?"   Likewise, there are undoubtedly some business users also wondering how to wrest more ownership from their technology departments.

The alignment of technology and business roles, responsibilities, priorities and skills has always been a challenging dance.  New technologies and new market demands will change the dance steps, if not the dance cadence altogether.  Healthcare payers seeking to fully leverage new technologies to improve both current and future envisioned business models must attend to the related business and process re-design requirements that both the reforming market and the emerging technologies and applications invoke.

Copyright 2011 IDC, all rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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