Case Studies

Driving ICT Strategy in the Healthcare Industry

Reducing healthcare costs with an effective ICT strategy

The Challenge

Our client is a major healthcare organisation within the Victorian Health Department. Spread across multiple campuses, the organisation comprises of public and private hospitals, rehabilitation centres and is also an internationally recognised leader in clinical teaching and training.  It is renowned for its speciality work with medical diseases/injuries, organ transplantations, mental health and rehabilitation including a number of statewide services.

As a nation and across the western world, governments are struggling in the face of rapidly ageing populations who require increasing healthcare provision in tandem with their increased life expectancy. The expectation that we have of healthcare services is continually rising, on-top of the existent manual, technology, staffing and bedding availability constraints within the healthcare (and in particular hospital) industry.

Governments, citizens, and private companies are struggling with the ever rising trend in healthcare costs, as the old reliable models of healthcare provision become in flux.  There is now an ever-increasing demand for healthcare providers to adapt and implement an Information Communications Technology (ICT) strategy.  However, whilst the healthcare ICT journey has commenced, for most the uptake has been slow and fragmented with efficiencies not being materialised as quickly as planned; staff levels remain high; there remains frequent manual and duplication of effort; and opportunities for economies of scale have been missed.

ICT’s Role in Healthcare Transformation 

A modern reformed healthcare system should be able to meet and exceed these demands, delivering a better patient experience, fewer unplanned demands on clinical resources, and a more satisfying work environment for the staff. Such a system should fully exploit the benefits of information and communications technology (ICT for Health or ‘eHealth’) to help deliver the following results:

  • Better patient care (safe, effective)
  • More efficient care processes (timely, efficient)
  • Sustainability (equitable, patient-centred)

Our healthcare client required direction in the form of a strategy and roadmap to progress ICT services and products across all their medical departments and functions. With their heavy reliance on the use of paper and manual processes, the organisation’s current dependency on ICT for daily operation was rapidly becoming critical and in particular within some departments / when having to operate in an emergency “all systems down” situation.

The Solution

Terra Firma was engaged to help create an ICT strategy and roadmap for our client.  This involved working closely with our client’s representatives through a process of investigation, research and analysis.

We commenced our investigation by engaging both clinical and administration representation from all major departments.  The objective of the investigations was to drive out the current issues with day-to-day ICT usage, general observations, compliments and criticisms of the Information Technology Services (ITS) group, expected future requirements and identification of “wish-list” items.

Designing an ICT strategy fit-for-purpose for the organisation, our research phase focused upon reviewing the current ICT capability, looking at emerging trends within the health industry (both locally and internationally) and identifying opportunities in emerging technology.

As part of our analysis and approach, the information collected from the investigation and research was analysed and used to derive the client’s current, planned and ideal future ICT states, with the strategy structured around the following key points:

  • Current state and approach to ICT
  • The gap
  • Adequacy of current ICT
  • Recommendations
  • Drivers for change
  • Impact assessment
  • Ideal future state
  • Key delivery principles
  • Planned future state

The objective of the ICT strategy was to provide clarity and improvements in alignment with the following core ICT elements:

  1. Software
  2. Communications technology
  3. Hardware
  4. Change management
  5. Network and infrastructure
  6. Organisational

Our gap analysis involved using the ICT elements as the major classification for assessing the current and future state of ICT within the client’s organisation.

The final and important stage of the review was the production of a set of ICT recommendations and the ICT strategic roadmap which was derived from (a) the current state gap analysis findings; (b) consideration of the emerging influences and business drivers; and (c) a framework of project priorities, principles, plans and steps to enable the organisation to successfully execute and maintain their ICT strategy.

The Result

Terra Firma provided the healthcare client with an ICT strategy and roadmap that established a four-year plan to implement a series of recommendations that were: (a) appropriately aligned with strategic corporate priorities; and (b) designed to improve the overall ICT capability of the organisation and prepare it for workforce and industry changes.

The ICT recommendations roadmap provided the organisation with a clear strategy and project view of the prioritised ICT recommendations.  As a result, our client has since invested more resources in driving the ICT culture by establishing new projects to implement the ICT recommendations; and whilst aligning them to their existing projects in order to maximise current investment and opportunity. They are now on the ICT journey towards reducing their heavy dependency on the use of paper and manual processes across all departments; and subsequently as an organisation, improving their capability to operate in an emergency “all systems down” situation.