Moving Toward Better Business/Technology Leadership

Every study shows that organizations as a whole, and especially CIOs, continue to struggle with business/technology alignment. It remains one of the top management issues. No other group in any organization talks about alignment as much as IT. I have long been arguing that aligning technology with business is a fundamentally flawed and limiting concept. Instead, companies should achieve a true melding of technology and business minds. What we call convergence.

To better understand the myriad ways in which organizations are converging, the BTM Institute, the non-profit research think tank established by BTM Corp, routinely interviews executives at a variety of companies and institutions. Our years of research shows converged companies far outshine their non-converged competitors in shareholder returns, revenue growth, and profitability. Business and technology decision-making and activities are fully integrated.

Help Wanted: New Leadership

Check into New York-Presbyterian Hospital, the largest hospital in New York City, and you will be given responsibility for your own care.

“Our leadership feels very strongly that our patients own their data,” said Aurelia Boyer, the hospital’s CIO. “Many hospitals say they own the medical record and require patients to sign an agreement to view their medical record. We really want to be an advocate of empowering patients to take control of their healthcare.”

This has been the goal of those seeking to reform healthcare’s management of patient information. In fact, this “system” was never designed as a holistic system and certainly doesn’t operate that way. Today, it threatens to overwhelm the delivery of care it is supposed to facilitate. New York-Presbyterian is on the leading edge of change, however, and every day it demonstrates the benefits of technology:

  • Reduced patient errors through electronic physician order entry.

  • Eliminated transcription errors.

  • Reduced pharmacy errors because all scripts are sent electronically.

  • Reduced dosing errors in pediatrics, where dosing is calculated using weight and age

Fewer patient errors mean lower costs and better outcomes. Administratively, the same data is used to measure and manage the hospital’s delivery of services.

“We have the management portal, which comes up on everyone’s desktop,” Boyer said. “At the weekly leadership meeting we review the results by rotating through the different indicators we collect on the dashboard. Some of them are through-put related, such as are how much are we behind budget, and where did the patients in the emergency department come and go from. We have an entire series of quality indicators for all of the things we’re required to measure. These things include central line infection data, the length of stay data, even hand washing.”

These things are possible because the hospital invested in a seven-year technology plan. More importantly, its management of technology is converged with its management of patient care.

One sign of a converged company is that the people making decisions on business and technology are the same people; they are conversant in both. They have an understanding of the business mission and an appreciation for the technologies that enable it.