Optimization: It’s not about the IT
Each spring leading CIOs from across the nation come together to discuss top-of-mind topics at the Scottsdale Institute CIO Summit. This year’s exchange among thought leaders was valuable not just to those in the room, but also to those that benefit from the insightful wisdom these leaders share with the rest of us through the summary white paper.
The topic for this year’s summit was IT optimization. As the healthcare industry begins to shift from a predominant focus on implementation to optimizing the EHRs and other systems that are already in place, CIOs across the nation are recognizing the need for a sound optimization strategy. One of the first things mentioned at this year’s summit is that trying to develop an optimization strategy is incredibly challenging in the face of a constantly changing healthcare IT environment. There is really never a time when health system CIOs are not in the midst of implementations, pre-implementation planning, maintenance issues, new regulatory requirements and the like. They must tackle optimization in the midst of all of that.
With that in mind, the CIOs quickly turned to discussion of the the actual definition of optimization. Webster defines optimization as “an act, process, or methodology of making something (as a design, system, or decision) as fully perfect, functional, or effective as possible.” Participants generally agreed with the standard definition, but also noted the importance of fully investigating the need for “optimization,” as a large part of the requests for optimization they receive are truly a need for improved education and adoption. One thing that they uniformly agreed on was that optimization is NOT “everything we didn’t implement at go-live.”