Utilizing Tools For Performance Monitoring And Application Tuning

J. Gary Seay, SVP & CIO, Community Health Systems
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J. Gary Seay, SVP & CIO, Community Health Systems

Challenges in technology to meet enterprise needs in 2013 and expectations
Our immediate focus is on regulatory compliance and operational support for compliance. This means certified and effective ARRA Stage 2 software products for our meaningful use programs. It also means data/ process support for ICD-10 compliance in existing applications and HIIM coding support tools to enable providers to deal with the complexity of recognizing and assigning correct codes to patient charts. Beyond these obvious needs, provider organizations need help effectively managing patient identities, patient access/ participation.

The areas in business environment where solutions do not yet exist or not up to the mark, and which if existed, would've made job easier
I would love to be able to “surveil” named users to monitor performance experience and system tool utilization as a tool for performance monitoring and application tuning. I would also like to see products that promote proactive, team based ambulatory care for patients.

Manner in which data is used to head off problems and complications before they happen
We have been aggregating performance data for a very long time. An extensive inventory of reports and analytics have evolved based on our understanding of regulatory requirements, quality of care experience, operations insights and continuous data driven improvement of quality, reduction of risk, cost and efficiency. We continue to look at data technologies that can provide more robust metrics and analytics on a wide array of business questions from utilization and service to reimbursement analysis and operations controls.

Thoughts on how IT strategic planning supports organizationwide efforts to improve quality, cut costs and improve efficiency in the Healthcare sector
IT must make long term investments in foundation technologies (data, communications, security, processing capacity, etc) that anticipate the direction and growth of the business. Application vendor selection is another strategic decision that is more appropriately driven by an assessment of the vendor’s financial condition, scale, capabilities, capacity, culture and platforms than an assessment of current comparative functionality.

Technology trends impacting enterprise business environment
“Big Data” tools and engines which promise to make more advanced and complex analytics possible is likely to open new opportunities. Advancement in ways which enable people to interact naturally with technology and applications (speech recognition, natural language processing, touch and gesture recognition and other approaches to present and interact) promise to make IT support less intrusive, more easily adopted, and less intimidating to everyone in care delivery venues.

My roles and responsibilities as a CIO
Our company has experienced very rapid growth, which has driven corresponding growth in IT- staffing, scale of operations, complexity of infrastructure, required sophistication of security,  business continuity, change control and a host of other practices. Challenges include leading organization development, professional practice standard design/ adoption and so forth on top of the “regular set” of issues: infrastructure/ product direction, operational improvement enablement, relationship enrichment (patients, physicians, and partners), regulatory  compliance, IT capex and opex cost control, vendor management and key business partner relationships/ service delivery.

Lessons learned and advice for fellow CIOs
I would challenge CIOs to do two things. Model your organization, processes, controls and values on those of the larger corporation (not IT professional norms). Second, get control of vendors by rewriting terms and conditions in contracts; do not just concern yourself with pricing.

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