Healthcare Vision Blog

  • Best Practices in System Implementations - Part I: Collaboration and Championship vs. Sponsorship

    "My mission is to provide world class delivery to our customers integrated across consulting, hosting, application services and business process outsourcing around TriZetto software. In this monthly forum,  The New Healthcare C-Suite: Emerging Models in Best Practices , I'll be highlighting best practices adopted by health plans and other payers as our healthcare industry continues its evolution. We'll look at how today's C-Suite is taking a more active role in technology strategies and discover why some of these healthcare leaders are achieving results that exceed industry norms."  

    By: Cem Tanyel | Feb 24, 2016
    Recently, I spoke with Richard Pruitt, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Kern Health Systems in California. His team just completed a major implementation project that hit all the right notes. The project came in on-time, on-budget, and with results that exceeded original projections. When I asked Richard why this project was so successful, he came up with a number of valuable insights that I’ve broken into this two-part series.

    Richard’s first response was to note the importance of collaboration. He emphasized that business and technology departments can no longer remain isolated in their silos.

    “We need to empower management to get beyond that technology phobia,” Richard told me. “Some of this is generational, some of this is the widespread acceptance of the integral role technology plays in every business area. Breaking it down to process, flow and data helps to bring down barriers and unites people in identifying where things aren’t working and how to make them better.”

    “As CIO, I also need to make sure that people are confident in their decisions. It’s more than being data driven. Emotion can get in the way of facts,” Richard told me. “For example, everyone on the team had heard horror stories associated with bad conversions. When we were ready to pull the trigger on our ‘go live’, project team members from our business side were reluctant. My role was to inspire and motivate them to realize we were in a good place, had performed our due diligence, and were ready to make the leap. Once they had that confidence, team consensus was reached and we were able to move forward.”

    I asked Richard about the role Kern Health Systems Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Douglas Hayward, played in supporting this effort. He noted, “Our CEO was a true project champion. He had experienced a catastrophic conversion 20 years ago, so his buy-in was there from the beginning—dedicating the resources needed for the project to be successful, adopting the principles of collaboration, and impressing those principles upon the organization. He supported the project strategy, met with me regularly for high level updates, and made the important decisions when we needed them.”

    I noted that the CEO’s involvement seemed to be another major key to the project’s success and Richard agreed. Because the CEO was an active and engaged project champion, rather than an uninvolved sponsor, everyone received a clear message—this initiative is a top priority for the company and everyone needs to work together to achieve the objectives.

    As other healthcare CEOs, COOs and CIOs consider their own technology strategies, breaking down the barriers between business and technology groups and personally championing their technology initiatives definitely qualify as best practices.

    Kern Health Systems recently engaged TriZetto Consulting Services to support their implementation of a new TriZetto QNXT™ core administration system to serve their more than 220,000 members. Project results show auto-adjudication rates 20% higher than those of their legacy system, additional staffing requirements significantly less than expected, and the development of a new OCR process into EDI critical to meeting a KHS deadline.
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    Written by: Cem Tanyel
    Chief Services Officer, Senior Vice President, Consulting and Delivery


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