Rethinking the Role of IT in Strategy Execution for Healthcare Providers

Photo by Thomas Kvistholt on Unsplash

We were speaking with a customer recently who asked, “Does IT even matter anymore?”

And we stumbled over each other to be the first to exclaim, “Yes! More than ever!”

The entire organization is completely dependent on IT’s minute-to-minute successful management because the entire organization operates on technology.


And that’s important because, in many ways, the business has become technology — a major transition since the advent of mainframe computers in the 1960s. Where technology once supported healthcare delivery workflow, that same workflow has come to depend on technology. Nearly every process of the modern healthcare delivery organization has come to rely on technology.

So it’s no wonder that enterprise attention has shifted to strategic information technology concerns such as system uptime, enterprise deployments, network security, and the like. IT is rightfully focused on these very important — the business-stops-operating-if-any-of-it-goes-haywire — activities.

However, as a result, there has been a divergence in prioritization between strategic technology issues and operational technology realities. At the same time that strategic issues have been given increased attention, there has been an explosion in operational needs for additional technology — the specific technology needs required to carry out the work of healthcare delivery.

Organizations have long relied on the electronic health record and enterprise point solutions to address these emerging use cases. But we meet daily with individuals in healthcare delivery organizations whose needs are not being met by the technology currently available to them.

That is important because, at nearly every turn, there are business processes (services, projects, service lines) that struggle to deliver needed results because they are dependent on less than ideal technology deployments.

For example:

  • The case manager that begged and pleaded for six months for a change in the Epic interface, finally got it, and 30 days later is making due with workarounds because a new business requirement came along.
  • The call center manager wholly dependent on outdated telephony and customer database that makes it difficult to report any measure of value.
  • The marketing director that knows they need CRM help, doesn’t know exactly what marketing programs they want to deploy, and knows that whatever does get approved is going to require a lengthy solution selection process.
  • And the population health manager that relies on spreadsheets, email, documents, post-its, home-grown reports, etc., and spends the first week of every month creating reports.

These are small business problems and pale in importance to any strategic IT need.

But they are significant and they are everywhere in the organization. And as such, the sum of these technology needs is actually quite large and has become a barrier for organizations seeking to execute on their growth, revenue, and value strategies.

Given IT’s appropriate focus on strategic imperatives, healthcare leaders are now turning to external assistance to enhance or create their technology deployments.

These leaders are seeking support in solving explicit business problems that are dependent on technology. They desire urgent, affordable, and personalized solutions.

But they also must be secure, supportable, and integrated.

Some of our customers come to us as a result of pent-up frustration with their IT departments. And we understand why. They’ve been told — or ignored — that their idea, their department, or their project which is deeply in need of technology support doesn’t rise to the level of being a priority for IT.

It becomes tempting for business leaders to exclude IT as a result of that frustration. But urgent, affordable, and personalized solutions can turn into problems when that happens. It is the definition of Shadow IT.

Yes, IT is busy. But it’s better for all involved when IT knows all technology deployed throughout the organization. Avoiding Shadow IT should be as high a priority for the business as it is for IT.


The most successful projects require an organizational partnership between strategy, IT, and the business leaders doing the implementing. During this time of urgency, a period that is melding strategy, business, and technology problems like never before, strong alignment between all three has become a competitive advantage.


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Status:Go creates software for healthcare delivery organizations so they can try new ideas, improve operations, and execute strategies. We know healthcare, Salesforce, and how to get things done. Get in touch to get your project started.

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