Every organization, regardless of its level of success, must continuously evolve and transform. It is a necessity for any organization that seeks to grow, but when the focus is on transformation through IT innovation, the results are particularly powerful.
Leaders driving the digital agenda require a holistic mindset of understanding the market and industry needs and executing digital initiatives that are oriented towards both the growth and value agendas that drives business outcomes. No longer is it enough for the CIOs and CTOs to define technology stacks, manage costs and select software vendors and tools. They must now also possess a strategic mindset to collaborate with business leaders as they reimagine their business models and execute digital transformations.
MDaudit – and the healthcare organizations we serve – experienced this first-hand with our rapid response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. COVID was a significant financial drain on most health systems, with up to 97% losing an average of $1,200 per coronavirus case despite a 20% Medicare payment increase, per a Strata Decision Technology study. It was at this time, the peak of the pandemic, that MDaudit finalized its transition from a consulting company to a fully SaaS (software-as-a-service) enterprise through its IT and technology innovations, by enabling healthcare organizations to accurately bill, code and maximize reimbursements in a still fluid environment.
By transforming the core that resulted in a reimagined MDaudit, we helped healthcare organizations overcome revenue shortfalls during one of the healthcare system’s most trying times by ensuring optimal compliant reimbursement and eliminating the drag on revenues created by denied and delayed COVID claims. For one large pediatric health system in the Southwest, leveraging MDaudit to manage $8 million in COVID-19-related charges and issues related to coding and compliance resulted in $230 million in reduced denials and a financial impact of $2.3 million.
Securing innovation investment
Ours is just one example of the powerful results that arise from IT innovation. But it didn’t happen by chance. Transformation of the kind MDaudit underwent takes planning, investment and buy-in across the board from the management, board of directors and the employees.
The reality is that change and transformation are driven not by failure and pressure, but rather by success and achievement, which are the cost of doing business. Whether the planned innovation is meant for a department, sector, or an entire business, investment in innovation must be a commitment to business transformation that drives change in culture, mindset and people, not just technology and process
Transformation begins with reflecting on the mission, vision, and values of the organization – success that was, is, and can be. Transformation, like budget planning exercises, means establishing new goals and identifying growth opportunities, areas of reinvention, and system changes. Continued transformation is then the ongoing investment of funds and resources into the efforts that help leadership decide if an organization can innovate or not.
Convincing leadership to invest in transformation still requires the solving of old problems. However, innovators do so with new efforts and ideas, initiatives, and technologies. Successful organizations must grow, adapt, and change. Transformation can go one of two ways: toward growth and life or stagnation and death. Ignoring this is more of the latter than it is of the prior. No matter, innovation, and transformation are choices. Once these choices are made, the funds will come. This often starts out with a well-defined innovation roadmap with near-, mid-, and long-term benefits.
The details of the initiatives in the roadmap should be outlined with risks, dependencies, and input costs. One of the critical success factors is ensuring that the roadmap delivers quick wins that are iterative to infuse confidence to the stakeholders to release funds based on benefits delivered. Many innovation programs make the benefits journey an afterthought; so arduous and impractical that it starts to attract more skeptics than cheerleaders to the program
Leveraging innovation investment
With funding and executive buy-in established, the next step is to leverage that investment to make innovation happen. There are two types of transformation: core and operational
Operational transformation is incremental and involves solving old problems with new efforts, initiatives, or technologies. Core transformation is reimagining a business or department in a fundamentally different way of does business. The latter is the goal.
The most direct way to lead core transformation in an IT organization – which is outlined below – is not the easiest, but it will pay the greatest result:
- Reconcile activity with intent – Where are your roadmaps taking you, and are you following them based on your achievement review? Are you delivering new systems or solutions in a better-than-before manner (agile, continuously, user focused)?
- Connect the human chains involved in the process – Are you investing in people and their skills, hiring new talent, listening to response and stimulus from users to better serve them, implementing solutions or practices that are best for those the IT serves rather than implementing IT for IT’s sake?
- Start with the ’Why’ lens – Do you really understand the problem you are trying to solve for your customers? Are you using a solution-oriented approach to innovation where it counts – with customers and partners?
- Adjust targets based on success rather than failures – again, using success as your True North, are you planning your targets on success and customer satisfaction or are you focused on mitigating failure?
A transformational journey
When you embark upon innovation, keep in mind that the necessary transformation is a journey, not a destination. Continued transformation is the keystone to growth and innovation. It’s not easy, but it is well worth the effort and investment.
Ritesh Ramesh is COO of MDaudit, a leading health IT company that harnesses its proven track record and the power of analytics to allow the nation’s premier healthcare organizations to retain revenue and reduce risk.
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