In order for your IT department to be successful, you need a strategic plan that will both optimize your workflow and help to define your practice’s needs. The well thought out and executed plan will exhibit a focus on the experiences of your staff and patients. Here are five considerations that can help you develop your strategic IT plan.
- Improve the patient experience. Many healthcare practitioners consider the patient experience a major challenge, yet don’t give much thought to how IT can improve it. Consider what you can do electronically to support patients, whether they're in your facility or not. Electronic forms? Email and text message reminders and confirmations? Kiosks?
- Consider best practices. Technology can help you get to know your patients better. The Web, for example, can be used as a first point of engagement. Ask a few questions of visitors, then tailor your responses to their needs. A patient interested in a first consultation would receive different information than one preparing for his or her first round of cancer treatment.
- Don’t forget the staff! Your staff needs successful workflows to interact effectively with patients. Common errors are multiple devices and different logins. Keep in mind how clinicians work to develop efficiencies. Your staff needs to be able to provide clinical care without being tied to a PC.
- Use social media. Social media often isn’t included in IT planning, as it’s usually more of a marketing consideration. Without thinking about how it will be used, it will become difficult for patients and staff to have a singular experience. Your IT department needs to work with other departments to develop a social media plan that will yield a consistent presentation to the end user.
- Use integrative planning. Typically, IT does its strategic planning in isolation. Ideally though, IT would plan with other departments. This “integrative planning” allows for a consistent plan supported by all parts of the practice.