Posted by:Monica Samuel June 21st, 2010

Much attention these days is being given to the high cost of heath care in the USA . Government, private insurers, hospitals, providers, and consumers are all brainstorming strategies and tactics to reign in these costs so that:

  • More people can take advantage of the excellent healthcare services that this country offers,
  • Companies of all sizes will be more competitive globally because they will not need to spend so much money insuring their employees, and
  • The appropriate incentives will be provided to both patients and providers to reduce the need for expensive procedures, tests, and other services
Healthcare reform is primarily a public policy issue, but is there anything that the IT community can do to move this vision forward?  Clearly, government stimulus money to improve electronic medical records has attracted many software providers and institutions to demonstrate meaningful use, and notwithstanding the security issues, much progress has been made in the exchange of patient health information.

Beyond these large government programs, however, there are many initiatives that IT leaders can promote in their organizations to respond more quickly to regulatory changes and to seize upon market opportunities. Some of these initiatives are:

the_effect_of_health_care_reform

Requirements management:

It is more important than ever to get requirements under control. The medical community is awash in terminology that is very context and institution specific. When a patient sees a doctor, is that a ‘visit’ or an ‘encounter’, for example. Precise definition of terms and a disciplined approach to defining business and system requirements go a long way to increasing communication efficiency and ensuring that the correct systems are built. There is an evolving body of knowledge regarding the semantics for business vocabulary and business rules that IT leaders can utilize to foster organizational change.

SOA adoption:

Healthcare business analysts need to be thinking of the services that are needed to manage both the clinical and financial sides of the house.  Service oriented architecture promotes system agility. The right granularity of services will enable processes to be re-defined to meet new business needs.  Legacy business processes, often convoluted for reasons unknown or forgotten, can be ‘mashed up’ to create new, more efficient streamlined processes to better serve patient population while saving administrative costs for the provider. Patient registration should occur once and be moved to downstream systems via messaging, rather than forcing re-entry of the data into each system.

IT Governance:

Controls need to be implemented and procedures put in place in order to account for the IT dollar, but more importantly, a proper IT Governance program based on standard frameworks such as the Business Motivation Model can go a long way towards enabling management control of software. Two questions that IT leaders must answer:

  • Are we building the right systems?
  • Are we building the systems right?
The IT governance framework can help to provide these answers.

Boston Technology Corporation has the expertise in healthcare software development. BTC has expertise in not just  delivering systems to specification, but in delivering change to the organization that foster permanent process improvement in the elicitation of requirements, systems design and specification, and governance.

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