While most medical practices do some form of strategic planning for their practice, they often miss one of the key aspects of planning for their success – IT Strategic planning.
After construction, fit-out and setup costs, IT infrastructure forms one of the largest capital expenses for any medical practice. Taking a strategic view of this expenditure and how the IT infrastructure is the main practice tool helps practices to deliver better patient, clinical and business outcomes.
Step 1: Setting the Practice’s Strategy
We recommend IT Strategic Planning be incorporated as a second stage in a practice’s overall strategic planning process.
The main practice strategic plan looks at the overall direction and goals for the practice, while the IT plan is a key part of detailing how the overall goals will be delivered.
In simpler terms – the overall strategic plan is WHAT the practice is going to do, while the IT plan is HOW the practice is going to do it.
Typical questions that a practice may consider in their overall strategic plan include:
- Are you aiming for expansion of clinics or ranges of services?
- Do you want to increase patient satisfaction with your practice?
- Do you need to ensure compliance with accreditation and audit requirements?
- Do you wish to target enhancements for particular clinical outcomes?
- Do you want to increase integrations with external and government health service providers?
- Are you embracing eHealth records?
- Do you want to improve privacy and security for patients and the practice?
- Do you need to improve Clinical Handover processes?
- Do you need to improve key medical equipment maintenance registers and systems?
- What other equipment, phone systems and electrical equipment will we need that may impact on the practice IT needs.
Each of these strategic priorities needs effective IT to make them work.
Step 2: Your IT Situation Analysis
Once you know the direction of your practice, you need to look at your IT systems and infrastructure to determine if they will deliver your goals. There is no point in having lofty strategic goals if your systems keep crashing and can’t cope with the new demands.
By performing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) analysis, you will be better informed of the IT needs for your practice both immediately and in the coming 3-5 years.
With Your IT Situation Analysis, you need to review your:
- Hardware: Is it ageing, working to capacity, capable of expansion?
- Software: Are you running the most current version of all software? Do you need new software programs?
- People & Skills: Do your physicians and practice staff have the right IT skills to deliver your goals?
- Security & Privacy: What systems do you have in place to ensure patient and clinical security? Do you have disaster recovery systems in place?
- Governance & Controls: Who overviews your systems to ensure legal compliance and ongoing management?
- Risk Analysis: What are the potential risks and strategies for mitigating those risks?
Step 3: Your IT Goals
By understanding your overall goals and current situation, you are better placed to determine what your practice needs in the way of skills, systems, applications and networks.
These IT goals need to be clearly identified and prioritised, with funding and resource plans created to meet the goals.
Step 4: Ongoing reviews and planning
Like all planning, IT planning is not a set and forget process. Practices need to regularly review their plans and strategic direction, and adjust as new information comes to hand.
Simplified Systems can help with your IT Strategic Planning for your practice, with our skilled team working with you to create a clear, understandable and actionable IT strategy.
Talk with our team to help you get your practice’s new financial year off to a well-planned start!