In 2020, the year of COVID-19, health system IT departments were in reactive mode – dealing with and reacting to data requests, staffing challenges, and capacity strain, while supporting the pandemic response. In the coming months, we will see a completely different world, with vaccination roll-out, a new federal administration with new priorities and initiatives, and businesses and schools starting to return to normal. With this turnaround near, CIOs, CMIOs, CNIOs and health IT executives need to be ready with their top priorities in 2021.
We see the following as some of the top priorities for the new year:
21st Century Cures Act: The rules were finalized in 2020 but put on the back burner due to COVID. In 2021 it is time to address the Cures Act interoperability and data sharing requirements. We believe that this should not be simply a matter of compliance, but rather of strategic investment in interoperability with your regional healthcare partners. Increased interoperability will benefit patient care and your provider network. Use the 21st Century Cures Act just as you did the Meaningful Use program. Put in place the systems and connections to improve your clinical services and expand your market.
EHR Improvements: COVID-19 put a tremendous burden on your nurses and physicians who were already struggling with workload and EHR usability. Use 2021 as an opportunity to step back, step up, and put in place a series of EHR improvements and optimizations to increase clinical user satisfaction, improve teamwork and workflow, and to identify and resolve any inefficiencies or time-wasting documentation or EHR tasks.
Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring have become business as usual, so integrate them into your EHR infrastructure for seamless clinical work. If there are gaps in your clinical system, start planning for EHR Extensions in 2021. If there are glaring causes of dissatisfaction and EHR burn-out, use the post-COVID year to turn these around.
Analytics: Implement or expand analytics. Use your COVID-19 to identify and address any gaps in your analytics toolset, skillset, or organizational capacities. Value-Based Care and Population Health will pick up speed again – particularly now that the VBC-driven practices did better during the pandemic. Investments in analytics requires that you clearly identify clinical and business opportunities as strategic targets for routine and advanced analytics. It means strategic adoption of new technologies including AI for targeted solutions. And it means building tools, staff, and operations to incorporate a data-driven approach. Use the post-COVID year to accelerate your organization’s analytics capabilities.
StarBridge Advisors is ready to partner with you and your team on these health IT priorities for 2021 with our Clinical Systems Strategic Services. Our team has the people, the skill sets, and the experience to help you drive these initiatives and benefit from a post-COVID uptick in business. Though challenging 2020 has presented many opportunities to recover and create a brighter, better future. Make 2021 count toward better patient care, better clinical staff engagement and satisfaction, and a better bottom line.
Emerge from the pandemic with a health IT plan that delivers visible EHR improvements for the nurses and doctors who kept your organization going: efficient, connected, smart, and ready for a better year.