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By Monica E. Oss

October 29, 2011

What a difference a year can make. Now that the 2011 Institute for Behavioral Health Informatics has come and gone, I’ve had the time to compare our discussions from 2010 with this year. The conclusion – last year was all about deadlines and this year was all about leverage.

At the 2010 institute, there was lots to discuss about meaningful use and EHR functionality. The big questions – What do we need to do to get incentive payments? What are the deadlines? How can this system help our billing efficiency? The focus was on the “what” and the “when.” (See Increasing the ROI of Your EHR: Improving Efficiencies, Getting More ARRA Dollars & Beyond and The Meaning of Meaningful Use )

This year’s discussion was beyond the transactional. The discussions focused on the “why” – the competitive advantage, cost advantage, customer service advantage, and informatics advantage of deploying new technologies. These themes were captured in presentations such as:

Moving ahead, the “advantage” goes to the executive teams that are able to leverage their information system resources to support five key functions:

  • Development of organizational strategy – using data to assess internal resources against external environment.

  • Design of operating unit plans to support strategy implementation – using data to conduct operational business unit gap analysis and set performance standards.

  • Management of performance – using data to manage the organization’s operations to the performance metrics required for success.

  • Evolution of market positioning – using data to compare organizational performance against competitors to gain competitive advantage.

  • Participation in performance-based contract arrangements – using data to prospectively estimate (and manage) performance.

For most organizations, the issue isn’t necessarily a matter of getting new systems. The executive teams I work with are often “overrun” with data from existing EHR, financial management, HR management, and CRM systems. (see One Of The Many Advantages To EHRs: The Ability To Use Your Data For Strategic Decision Support & Market Differentiation ).

The key is figure out what information matters – and to measure and act on that.


Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS

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