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The Great Divide: Financial & Clinical Systems

April 8, 2014
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Many organizations compartmentalize their systems into clinical and financial Systems. It’s almost as if the CIO grew up familiar with billing /scheduling systems and the clinical systems is just something that evolved under the doctor's purview. The thought here is that they need RNs and CMIOs to really manage clinical applications because it’s…clinical!

The reality is that we are in the business of providing clinical information. That should be our primary reason for existence. The financial systems allow us to get paid so we can do more…clinical business. Needing an RN to manage your clinical applications is like needing a CPA to manage your financials. You should treat applications support with the same process regardless of the data.

All primary applications should have the following:

-Internal User Group meetings that provide input into priority of patches and upgrades, custom functionality feedback.

-Attendance at regional or national application user group meetings by stakeholders, not just IT staff.

-CMIOs act primarily as a conduit and liaison for physicians and provide the SME (Subject Matter Expertise) to improve provider utilization and user acceptance.

-SMEs working closely with the Application Analysts.

Empowering users is something that should occur regardless of application type. The IT system is just a tool. Users know better than anyone what works well, what takes way too many mouse clicks, and what takes too many workarounds to get documented. This is where user groups come in handy. The groups should be allocated a portion of the IT budget. Whaaaat!? That’s right. By allocating a certain dollar amount for custom programming and patch (maintenance) dollars, the users are able to set priorities based on their needs. Normally these decisions happen in IT far away from the realities of the patient touch points.  

You may find the need to have user groups for multiple applications (both clinical and financial). This will help erase the boundaries between clinical and financial applications support. Eliminate any position that is responsible for just financials or just clinical applications. Start looking at the global picture. You need SME’s to help head up the user groups and provide expertise to the Application Analysts, but you don’t need separate silos.

Too many IT departments struggle with trying to stay in touch with it users. They are perceived as setting up all these rules and policies that keep them away from the realities of the workflow. Users view these IT departments as impediments to getting their jobs done. By setting up user groups and defining budget responsibilities, it allows them to set project priorities in line with the needs and strategic development of the organization. There are no clinical applications or financial applications. It’s all about the business we are in: healthcare