Diane Carco, PresidentTechnology drives healthcare delivery, but healthcare CIOs nevertheless face difficult choices. It is now possible to share patient information between unrelated hospitals and physicians’ offices in new, productive ways. But this sharing comes at the price of making it more difficult to ensure the safety of that information. According to Diane Carco, President of Swingtide, a niche consulting firm that helps CIOs with IT business issues in healthcare and other areas, this balancing act puts CIOs in a precarious position. “Protected health information is moving in new ways between and among new devices,” Carco says. “Real interoperability of electronic health record systems is becoming more than a distant goal, and the CIOs’ dual roles as guardian of data and chief sharer of data will require him or her to make difficult and sometimes unpopular decisions.”
The demand for new analytics tools in healthcare also creates CIO challenges related to understanding the best means to support management decisions. Real business justification for these kinds of tools is difficult to quantify. “We try to help CIOs with these kinds of vexing decisions within the realm of what we call Technology Business Operations— the IT sourcing and business challenges CIOs face—in many different verticals, including healthcare and finance,” says Carco.
Carco and her Swingtide team bring a steady, thorough, flexible but systematic approach to these challenging technology business issues. Their experience helps demystify complex business issues and exposes hidden costs and delays before they occur, which makes realizing the intended benefits more likely.
“In the business world, whether in healthcare or any other business, it is rash to buy technology without a thoroughly understood and fully loaded business case,” apprises Carco. Swingtide helps customers throughout their business case process and offers the kind of support for the business decision that can resonate in the boardroom. This in turn informs the sourcing process and makes the vendor selection process (or buy-or-build decision) one that is based on facts, not suppositions.
We now focus on what we call Technology Business Operations—the IT sourcing and business challenges CIOs face
In addition to providing advisory services, Swingtide’s Outsourcing Health Check serves as a bridge to an enhanced customer-supplier relationship. It eliminates the time-consuming work of tracing monthly bills and pays dividends both in terms of lower costs and in demonstrating that the customer is engaged and vigilant.
Swingtide’s list of success stories is long. For example, it was engaged to develop a multi-year, fact-based, practical model to guide the transformation of an organization’s IT infrastructure operations from a decentralized environment to an efficient shared service, multi-sourced environment. Swingtide assisted the client by working with each of its separate business units. It helped build financial models for decentralized IT organizations and educated each group about how the cost models worked and how they should be maintained. By consolidating all BU models into an enterprise IT cost model, Swingtide provided the organization with a formal assessment deliverable and scenario-based recommendation for its shared services and outsourcing options based on best-in-class industry practices that the organization needed in order to go to RFP for its first multidivisional ITO relationship.
Swingtide is now concentrating on innovative approaches to sourcing and contracting healthcare IT. Carco says: “Technology vendors in healthcare lag behind those in other verticals in their approach to justifying the value of their tools. We have been gratified at the response from forward-thinking providers who show the willingness to assure that they deliver real value to their healthcare customers.”