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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog

Sep 5 2010   12:13AM GMT

Can IT do more than just keep the lights on

Posted by: RedaChouffani
CIO, role of IT, technology value add services

 Technology has always played an important role in healthcare. But with the increased interest and adoption of EMR it is clear that the IT departments must ensure alignment with organizational objects and goals in every way.


The old perception of IT being just a service department will not be sufficient enough to meet today’s challenges. While in many cases some are only concerned about making sure that “when I turn on the switch in the room the light comes on”, we must seek to strengthen the role and the level of involvement of IT in the decision making. Consider the simplicity of the statement above and how often physicians and other stakeholders portray the IT role in the organization. A statement like that does not do justice to the role of IT. As it is in most cases, IT can always be a value add:


  • Ensure that the light bulb is due for replacement when it nears its end of life (this is a proactive approach to ensure continuity)

  • Ensure that the wiring of the light bulb is in compliance with electrical code

  • Ensure that the type of light bulb consumes less electricity to save on costs

  • Ensure that the light is user friendly and not too bright not to dim.


As we see in the above value add services that IT can perform, IT can perform much more than just ensuring that the light come on. Seeing IT in this eye not only will engage the department into assisting in applying solutions and services that can meet at least the four common healthcare organizational goals:



  • Quality & Safety:

    • Improved clinical work flows

    • Uptime of EHR system

    • Clinical Decision support system through EHR

  • Service development:

    • Technology Infrastructure to allow “plug and Go”

    • Up time

    • Scalability

  • Patient Satisfaction:

    • Electronic services to benefit patients

    • Efficiency in scheduling, reminders, and care follow up

    • Improved communication methods

  • Financial Strength

    • Predictable budgetable Technology costs

    • Technology solutions with High ROI

    • On time & on budget projects

    • Improved processes


While in some cases techs may not be as interested in the business overall objectives, and are solely focused on the “Machine” support, there will always be a need to identify in the IT organization a liaison between the technology and line of business. This role in most cases is filled by CIOs, but for some organizations that may not have these resources, finding the right candidate to bridge that GAP will be crucial. As we continue to move toward electronic patient records, it becomes more important than ever to ensure Technology alignment with the organizational goals.

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