The needs of the Healthcare IT industry are demanding. Like an ominous thunder in the distance, it goes where it needs to, waits for no one, and is usually a good indicator of where lightning (industry change) will strike next. This transformation over time inevitably brings with it several key demands such as connected care coordination, value/risk based payment modeling, and ultimately a different breed of EMR analyst.
This third chapter of our “Reducing Complexity in Healthcare IT” series takes a stroll down that transformation timeline through the lens of an EMR analyst, and examines how the demands for that role have come to change over time. Be sure to catch Part 1, Part 2, and Part 4 of this series in case you missed it!
Let’s take a quick step back and reflect on what the Healthcare IT implementation scene was like about 10 years ago. What were the key objectives and what type of resources were most important to healthcare organizations at that time? The prevailing trend and need in that regard was pretty simple… “Get us off paper, get us live, and as quickly as possible.” Organizations large and small needed to get off of paper and join the electronic health record tsunami that was creeping across the country.
It made sense at the time that the core set of skills needed were somewhat isolated and compartmentalized in nature. An effective implementation analyst needed to be able to learn the inner workings of a new electronic system, become an expert on how it worked, understand all of its configuration elements, and execute the configuration from installation to go-live. In a way this created a niche of talented implementation analysts that had vast amounts of knowledge, but that were more specific to a particular system and its core functions.
MSO activity and enterprise consolidation were certainly present in the market at this point, but the initial wave of installations and competition amongst emerging EMR vendors was close to, if not at its pinnacle.
Take a few more steps forward on the timeline toward initiatives such as Meaningful Use and CQS. We now have a somewhat exponential increase with regards to application configuration complexity, integration needs, and the growing demand for more robust clinical quality reporting and proactive analytics. We’ve progressed and responded to the demand for more types of implementation and support resources. This trend gave birth to a new and somewhat hybrid flavor of implementation analysts both internal and external to healthcare organizations, including meaningful use configuration and measure support, interface analysts, integration architects, and reporting specialists.
The increased role that our government and CMS assumed during this era in the healthcare market in combination with the evolving shift of the healthcare industry (reactive -> proactive) played a much more influential and accountable role in the general Healthcare IT space.
Fast forward to present day and we can clearly see that general resource needs are more advanced. The Healthcare IT industry has spoken loud and clear over the past few years and requires a more progressive, more aware, more adaptive, and a more experienced analyst to bring anything live. Not just bringing it live, but ensuring that it supports enabling capabilities that are crucial to an organization’s overall business objectives. Net new EMR installations have decreased as we push through to an era of rapid consolidation, risk-based modeling, and clinical care coordination. This isn’t a pure enterprise architect and this isn’t a pure implementation analyst; it’s a healthcare IT resource that needs to put it all together to enable the business of keeping patients healthy.
The days of running a massive herd of concurrent project portfolios have started to rear its architectural challenges, emphasizing the need to reduce complexity. For a new wave of implementation resources this means the ability to develop, adapt, and maintain a 360-degree view of the organization.
The electronic health record no longer exists in its own corner of the world and space within a healthcare organization, and neither should the resources that implement it.
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