With the dramatic changes that have taken place in the U.S. healthcare landscape over the past several years, it’s not surprising that healthcare CIOs increasingly find leading transformation and delivering on the organization’s core strategies and objectives included in their responsibilities. (See SSi-SEARCH Research “Healthcare’s Million Dollar Man”) The CIOs for small to mid-sized payers and third party administrators are no exception.
When it comes to freeing up IT resources for mission-critical strategic tasks, decisions regarding enterprise software solutions should not be overlooked, as they can have a significant impact on success for healthcare organizations in the small to mid-sized range.
While historical experience in these IT organizations may create a bias toward choosing on-premise software solutions, one should give serious consideration to three major benefits that cloud-based solutions can deliver to the organization: speed to market, scalability and total cost of ownership. These potential—and sought after—benefits hold the promise to deliver critical return on investment and serve the critical goals of both the IT organization and the business users within the company. Let’s take a closer look at each.
Speed to Market
At first glance, the initial deployment time for cloud or desktop (on-premise) applications can appear similar. However, two areas that impact overall deployment time should not be overlooked: capabilities and accessibility.
One characteristic typical of cloud applications is that they generally have more robust capabilities than on-premise software. This makes them easier to use and manage by a broader group within the organization and readily delivers on the promise of fast deployment. Overall deployment of cloud applications often takes less time than desktop applications because so much of it can be performed by a wider range of (less technical) users, rather than being dependent on the schedule and resources of IT.
The good news is that there is plenty of great content being generated throughout most health organizations to create engaging, effective member and patient customer communications, which we will call “customer communications” to include any recipient. The bad news is that the content is often locked away in siloed systems and workflows, making it very difficult for marketing, customer experience and mobile strategy teams to leverage information in a streamlined, cost-effective way. The result? Marketing promotions and graphics are only available for use in brochures, purchase history data is only accessible for billing, and so on. Content is trapped in the specific system it served originally, limiting its value to the organization.
These challenges can be overcome by implementing the newest concept in healthcare document creation: content lifecycle management (CLM). The goal of CLM is to enable business teams to create and manage correspondence themselves using portals configured for specific document types, such as healthcare plan summaries, coverage change notifications and benefits statements. Implementing a CLM approach can unlock valuable data, avoid dependence on the availability of IT resources, reduce costs, and speed time to market.
Employing a CLM approach requires achieving three important “C’s”: centralization, collaboration and control. Each of these areas plays a critical role in attaining effective communications that speak directly to the customer’s individual needs and desires.
Here’s a look at each of the three C’s:
An important step to improving customer communications is centralizing access to content and templates so that they are readily available to business users. Making it possible to reuse content in multiple health plans and versions, for instance, rather than having substantial amounts of duplicate content that is not shared, will improve efficiency and reduce the amount of effort and time needed to update or change data across versions. Changing a plan benefit for example, can be accomplished in one step for hundreds of document versions, rather than having to replace the information in each individual file.
Participation from people outside the primary workflow is often required but can cause bottlenecks. A good collaboration tool sits atop the entire enterprise, integrating people automatically into the workflow on an ‘as needed’ basis. A browser-based system provides the greatest flexibility because it can be accessed by anyone regardless of location.