5 IT Strategies To Put In Place For 2016

5 IT Strategies To Put In Place For 2016

Perhaps no department has undergone more change in the past few years than IT.

And change is far from slowing down. Every day new technologies fall into place, allowing businesses to work faster, better, and far more efficiently than ever before. But with change comes both opportunity and threat.

This is the year to take the reins and move forward with effectiveness. Lead with innovation instead of reacting to problems. Become focused on improvement rather than fixing what no longer works. With these IT strategies in place, you’ll help your organization be far more successful in everything it does.

1. Budget for growth and innovation
Far too many companies today discover the majority of their IT budget is used to maintain the system already in place. Which means very little is left to invest in innovation. Take a look at your budgeted allotments. Chances are they are being trapped by band-aid solutions that no longer meet your needs. You’ll find underutilized storage resources, unproductive data centers, labor intensive integration requirements, to name just a few. With this endless list of systems, processes and supply vendors, inadequacies are in abundance. If you’re willing to reinvent your system, and tackle the entire issue in a fresh new way, you’ll find simple ways to transfer spending allocations to things that make a difference immediately.

2. Build systems for the engagement economy
The IT department has the benefit of being involved in every aspect of a business, from manufacturing to production, to marketing, to customer delivery. Technology is built in everything we do. Yet operations are often are often pieced together because of demand, giving various levels of access and security depending on the situation. While traditional systems provided results on an as needed basis, the future will be built around engagement at all levels in all kinds of ways. How can you construct a system that allows more to be done and transferred from place to place? If front-office can be merged with back-office systems, creating more transparent flow-thru processes, business will win every time.

3. Shape your IT structure for the future
Think back to a short five years ago. Could you have predicted the way we use technology today? In some cases, things change fast enough that it’s hard to see what’s coming next. But in most cases, we update and merge technologies together to meet our bottom line objectives. We don’t think about how a new program or app fits our overall intentions, rather how well it will help us complete the task at hand. Instead, look at every addition as how well it will help build a strong base for the organization. How can it merge with existing programs to meet evergrowing needs? What new technologies are being added that can replace and make the overall process even better? A fresh new perspective can often help lead the way to better choices to help you now and in the future.

4. Upgrade your cloud strategy
Without question, cloud computing is one of the strongest transformations currently provoking change within an organization. Your employees are leading the way. They have a need, find a solution, and download it to every device they use. Then you’re left to navigate the environment that is created. If you’re still viewing your cloud strategy based on a plan written years or even months ago, you may be missing the most crucial pieces. Social, customer engagement, analytics, and security are all changing at warp speed. Cloud projects will continue to impact deeply the value of a company and how well they fare against their competition. IT leaders who focus on transforming cloud projects to encompass all aspects of the business will come out on top.

5. Lead with innovation, standardize integration
From the dawn of the Internet age, IT managers have been experts at finding technology to perform individual functions, then integrating, testing, modifying, patching, upgrading and monitoring them over and over again to make them do the required work. It worked, for awhile. What’s left in its path is poorly structured applications that can’t perform at peak levels. That’s where innovation comes into play. Non-standard integration methods and hodgepodge setups no longer work as systems become increasingly complex. While application integration will remain a crucial and viable part of business, learning the new “standard” for integration will transform today’s IT leaders.

The future is coming quicker than you think. The only question is how prepared you’ll be once we get there.

Shopping For EHR Software

How are you going to improve your practice in the coming year?

Because of how fast technology changes, it is estimated that 30 percent of all current EHR users will be interested in upgrading and replacing their current software as they look for more features, more convenience.

If you fall into that category, where do you begin? After all, everyone has an opinion on what makes EHR software worth the investment.

EHR manufacturers will not have the same opinion as the head of your company. The CIO will not have the same requirements as an office manager. Needs are based on what helps you do your job more effectively, and that runs different from person to person.

Yet purchasing EHR software isn’t the same as downloading the coolest app from iTunes or Google Play. EHR software is expensive. It’s something you may bring into your business and continue using for years to come.

Do you really want to make that selection on a whim?

Instead, the best place to start is with a little guidance. After all, every program can sound amazing when you look at the way marketers write up the sales copy. In the long run, you want the best software for what you do. And that starts by defining your plan of action before you tackle making a decision.

Create a clear plan

Start by clearly defining how the new EHR program will be utilized every day. Make a list of everyone in the office who will access it, what their requirements are, how they will use it, and what would most benefit them. How an office manager uses it will not be the same as how a physician uses it. Make sure you understand the nuances of each.

Include every opinion

Never guess at how people will use a system. Ask them instead. Be sure to include everyone in the decision-making process, verifying all of their user requirements. This means sitting down with each staff member and figuring out what matters most. This can help you avoid the flashy features during the demo phase.

Separate necessities from desires

When you start questioning staff members, it’s easy for them to start dreaming of potential. It’s also easy for some to cover up certain processes that would greatly enhance productivity, yet they are holding back out of fear of the unknown. Be willing to change business processes when better features are available that can aid in both the way the office runs, and also how you communicate with your customers.

Make your essential list early

There are some features that are essential to any EHR software you purchase: HIPAA compliant security, physician and patient scheduling, billing functionality, e-prescribing. There are also non-essential items that can improve productivity: mobile access, patient portals, voice recognition for dictation. Make sure you separate the two and select a program that truly has what the office staff will use most.

Don’t get overwhelmed

Do a quick search and you can easily come up with a dozen or more contenders to add to your list of possibilities. Each highlights something different; each has it’s own way of moving to the top of the list. It’s difficult to stay objective and not become overwhelmed with the bells and whistles. Use simple criteria to eliminate the majority of them as quickly as possible, weeding your list down to a more manageable three or four. Only demo at this level because the features will quickly start blurring together if you look at more.

Also, be sure to have a standardized scorecard for comparing the different products. Look realistically at how each software program handles each individualized task. Don’t get distracted by the flashy features a salesperson may try to sell you on. Instead, put your emphasis on looking for what your staff wants and how you can give them the full package they will use the most.

This can be a difficult process. It’s easy to lose sight of what is truly important. Sometimes having an impartial expert on your side can help you weed through the potentials and help you focus in on the best solution for your office.

That’s what we’re here for; just give us a call.