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By Sarah C. Threnhauser, MPA

The reality of our present market is that for most service provider organizations, the use of technology rarely rises above the level of “basic adoption”—or the minimum tech investments that are needed to keep the doors open and the lights on. While these investments are important, they are unable to advance the organization from a “surviving” to “thriving” mindset. For that, executive teams need to clearly identify the uses of technology that will propel strategy success—and go above and beyond the minimum investment.

Matt Dorman, CEO Credible

That was the lesson from The 2018 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute session, The Role Technology Should Have In Your Strategic Plan, delivered last month by Credible Behavioral Health Chief Executive Officer Matthew Dorman. What struck me about the presentation was not just the need for technology that is tailored to specific strategic outcomes, but also the need for a strategic plan that can incorporate and leverage the “cutting edge” functionality of emerging technologies. He presented three steps that executive teams should adopt to move the deployment of technology from operational to strategic:

Step One: Develop a process for determining “basic use” and “strategic use” of technology-Accounting, distribution of resources, involuntary commitment management, scheduling. These are examples of essential functions for provider organizations that rely on “basic” technologies. While these basic functions are essential, they are not enough to meet the needs of strategic action items, such as identifying profitability over time, best payers, best services, pay-for-performance, and risk-based contract reporting. Mr. Dorman suggested developing a simple scoring scale to show how much investment you’ve made in all of your technologies, and if the score is lower for your strategy items, you need to make adjustments.

Step Two: Convert shared information into action-Executive teams need a plan to convert data to action, or they are either doomed to mediocrity or, in today’s market, limited survival. The process sounds simple: confirm what you have, decide what you need. The essential part of this step is to recognize that all data is not equal; there will be data that your team doesn’t care about and isn’t helpful. The key is to identify this data and remove it from your focus. Focusing only on what matters to the strategy is essential to moving your organization’s strategy forward.

Step Three: Build tools for evaluating current technology use-Are your tech investments and use aligned with your strategic score from step one, and your data in step two? If there is a misalignment in any way, you need to answer three questions: What executive action is needed to facilitate change? What management action is needed to use the tech correctly? And what front staff action is needed to change organization-wide use patterns?

While many executive teams assume they are fully leveraging their tech investments, consider that even though 85% of specialty provider organizations have implemented their EHR, only 68% have fully implemented the four core functionalities of their chosen system-clinical, scheduling, billing, and reporting (see Lessons Learned From Hundreds Of Agency EHR Implementations: Results Of The 2017 National Behavioral Health EHR Survey). And only 21% of specialty organizations are tapping into primary care management capabilities of their EHRs—a growing competency domain for value-based reimbursement (see Incorporating Technology Into Organizational Strategy: Finding Success In A Changing Behavioral Health Landscape).

To determine if your technology is in line with your overall strategic goals, check out the new OPEN MINDS Strategic Technology Assessment. This assessment is designed to help executive teams “self-assess” their current EHR deployment and their specific EHR functionality needs. In other words, assessing whether their EHR technology is meeting their strategic objectives (see Do You Have The Right EHR? Evaluate your “EHR fit” by taking the OPEN MINDS Strategic Technology Assessment.)

For more on building your tech strategy, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library.

  1. Building & Executing Strategy In A Complex Market-A Three-Phase Best Practice Model For Success
  2. Is Your EHR Up To The Challenge Of Value-Based Reimbursement?
  3. Don’t Implement Tech In A Bubble: Consider Your Strategy
  4. In Health Care Tech Investments, Keep Consumers Part Of The Equation
  5. The Health & Human Service Executive’s Blueprint For Tech Strategy Development
  6. Looking At Banking To Predict The Future Of EHRs: An Interview With Matthew M. Dorman
  7. Technology ROI: Value-Based Purchasing For Executives
  8. Return-On-Investment For Technology: A Decision Tool For Value-Based Purchasing For Behavioral Health & Social Service Executives
  9. The Change Iceberg
  10. Getting More From Your EHR

For more on this developing and important discussion on data management and access in the health care landscape, join us on October 23 at The 2018 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute for the session, How To Find The Right Electronic Health Record: The OPEN MINDS Seminar On Best Practices In EHR Selection & Contracting, featuring OPEN MINDS Senior Associate, Joseph P. Naughton-Travers.

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