As someone who has straddled the roles of physician, hospital vice president, CIO and CMIO, I know all too well the scenarios that play out every year at budget time in the hospital board room. Radiologists want the latest scanners. Surgeons are demanding new anesthesia machines. Nurses are requesting next generation infusion pumps for the ICU. Oh, and you Mr. CIO, you’d like to buy new servers, upgrade the network, deploy wireless, and institute a data recovery center. Guess who usually wins this boardroom grab for the gold? Not you Mr. CIO. You are usually last on the list.
How many times have you been challenged to do more, with more? I suspect not all that often. Healthcare is a challenging business with most hospitals running on thin margins, if they have margins at all. When there is money for capital improvements, the first priority is patient care and the expensive technology that enables it.
So where does this leave the CIO? How do you manage the demand for better IT? How do you meet the ever-increasing expectations of doctors, nurses, and other staff? What tools can be applied to drive greater efficiency into your operations? How can you get more from the hardware and software you buy? How do you get greater flexibility, redundancy, and reliability from your IT systems? How do you manage power consumption, and comply with your organization’s green imperatives? How do you do more with less?
The cover story in the August 2008 edition of Hospitals and Health Networks focuses on the national environmental movement and how hospitals are finding themselves at the center of this imperative to "think green". The timing was right in step with a new article I just released as part of my House Calls for Healthcare Professionals series. The title of the article is Laying a Foundation for Better Care; Optimizing your healthcare IT infrastructure for improved performance and lower costs. It's a strategy that helps you squeeze quite bit more from what you have and manage it all much more efficiently. It is also a strategy that pays off handsomely by reducing the power load from all those servers in your data center.
To learn more and read what some of our customers are saying about the savings that can be realized through infrastructure optimization, click here.
And the next time you find yourself in the board room making a plea for what you need, just say "it's for the environment". Think green! Now who could argue with that?
Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director, Worldwide Health Microsoft Corporation