Strategic Questions Boards are Asking about IT

Many health system boards are asking their CEOs and CIOs some tough and vital questions about the current and future states of their Information Technology (IT) systems within their organizations. For various reasons, these boards have had a fresh awakening about IT:

  • In one way or another, IT touches every part of their health system’s operations and can make or break the organization.
  • IT is costly, risky, and often painful to implement. If not done carefully and correctly, projects involving IT exceed-budget and can negatively impact an organization’s patient safety, cash flow, reputation, and overall viability.
  • Health systems are more susceptible than ever to cyber-attacks, ransomware, and data loss.
  • IT projects are NOT technology ventures; instead, they are the business and clinical change initiatives enabled by IT and must be governed accordingly.
  • Emerging IT applications promise competitive advantages to stay ahead of the competition (e.g., mobile access to patient data, connected wearable medical devices, and artificial intelligence).

Consequently, boards of all-sized health systems have interesting dialogues during their meetings as they wrestle with the issues and related topics. Some of the tough questions they are asking include:

  1. What is the real strategic importance of IT to our organization and our community?
  2. Do we currently view IT as an asset or a liability? Why or why not?
  3. Do we view our data and information as assets, like buildings, people, and dollars, from which we glean positive, actionable insights and knowledge that will make a difference in outcomes?
  4. Are we extracting measurable value from our IT system investments, not just an expense? Why or why not?
  5. Do we have competent IT organizational leadership and staff navigating us through the IT maze?
  6. Do we have board members with enough competence to govern IT effectively? If not, what must we do to build this competence?

The bottom line is that boards are elevating IT on their agendas. A forward-thinking board and CEO at one of our critical access health system clients recently established a Technology Pillar to go alongside their People, Quality, Safety, Satisfaction, and Finance Pillars. They assigned a board member to the Technology Pillar to function as a liaison between the board, the executive team, and the CIO to ensure that IT remains at the forefront of the board’s governance responsibility.

What is your organization doing about technology? Is it a central component? It should be. For information on Coker’s technology consulting that can assist your organization in making IT a primary focus, please contact us today.

Related Insights