It’s no longer enough to just keep IT systems operating and available every day or to keep digital innovation projects on track and on budget. CIOs need to be able to deliver against an IT strategy that drives measurable business outcomes.

It’s not an either/or proposition, but a delicate balancing act that requires an unprecedented alignment of business and IT objectives, resources and business partners.

Yet CIOs at health systems across the country are challenged to deliver business value at the speed and scale necessary to justify the budget and the risk needed to do just that.

In fact, recent research indicates that business-IT alignment has actually gotten harder across all industries as CIOs struggle to keep pace with the right mix of digital and leadership capabilities required to achieve digital transformation. Early results from our own research with Everest Group indicates that’s especially true among healthcare CIOs grappling with the unique challenges of the U.S. healthcare system.

The good news is, we know what needs to happen to right the ship, and we now have amazing tools, technologies, and processes at our disposal that can actually take things off the plate of very thinly spread organizations to free up internal teams to focus on what matters most: strategy and solving business problems.

We know, based on experience, that digital transformation requires an end-to-end view of the enterprise value chain, namely these Three Essentials for IT-Driven Business Outcomes:

  1. Digital for Efficiency: These are the back-office procurement, finance & administration and HR initiatives to reduce costs, improve productivity, drive operational efficiencies and transform the supply chain, helping healthcare organizations accelerate their digital journey and allow for better use of IT as a strategic differentiator for innovation.
  2. Digital for Enablement: These are the core, mid-office operations that make digital secure and make IT agile, helping drive game changing revenue growth, cost optimization and breakthrough customer experiences.
  3. Digital for Growth: These are front-office initiatives that help health systems think differently about the consumer experience, develop consumer-centric products and services, drive engagement and deliver a frictionless care experience.

Over the past year, our focus has been on that end-to-end view and on bringing together a team of platform-agnostic clinical, technological and business experts to help health system executives assess and map an IT strategy to enable digital transformation and prioritize digital projects that help them get there.

We think digital is the answer. Digital projects are important because they leverage the application of technologies to reduce costs, increase speed, and increase quality within the current operating and business models. Digital transformation, however, is something altogether different. It leverages technologies to execute programs that change how business objectives are achieved. And for that, health system executives need unique partners by their side.

They need partners with deep provider domain knowledge coupled with the technological expertise to leverage both the data and the massive investments that have been made in EHRs, help solve their most critical problems, get ahead of the curve and drive the clinical and financial outcomes that the business of healthcare demands.

Our tagline here at emids is “experience partnership,” but I think of it this way: Experience. Partnership. It’s a unique and powerful combination, and I’m excited about the possibilities. 

Tim McMullen is president of emids’ Provider business. A proven change agent, Tim brings 30-plus years’ experience building and leading high-performing teams around the globe for Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial enterprises. He is actively engaged in moving the industry forward, serving as a founding member of the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME) Foundation. He also is a member of the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS), the Health Research and Development Institute, and the Scottdale Institute. Be sure to connect with Tim on LinkedIn