Is IT System Consolidation in Your Cards?

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 - Mary Tierney
Mary Tierney, Vice President, Chief Content Officer, TriMed Media Group

You may be getting ready to send staff off soon to the annual HIMSS meeting in Chicago. Perhaps even with a helpful concept in mind: Few things are more complex than making something simple. As Pete Seeger’s words made famous: “Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple.”

Simplicity is the new battle cry of experienced radiology and health IT leaders, too. So do we have geniuses in our midst? Probably a few, but the many can get to simplicity if they take the right path.

One path many healthcare enterprises and departments are recognizing is simplifying their IT systems by consolidating their vendors. Some healthcare facilities are standardizing on a best practice platform, say PACS for example, choosing to standardize across the health system on one system vs. the two, three or more they currently maintain. Consolidating the number of IT systems and vendors means less infrastructure to manage, fewer integrations, less staff time to manage, fewer upgrades, fewer points of failure, less finger-pointing and coordination and, ultimately, lower cost. The consistency that consolidation brings is key, allowing clinical and IT users to leverage their experience and support to reduce time and effort.

Fewer also can be better when it comes to health systems growing through mergers and acquisitions. Simpler infrastructure is easier to manage. It helps IT leaders to streamline operations and staffing. It allows them to optimize vital—and shrinking—cash and resources.

Reducing your vendors, of course, brings risk. Facilities need to choose a vendor partner that is in the business for the long haul, a company that is financially stable with state-of-the-art technology, excellent support and infrastructure and a progressive vision for the future. Consolidation is definitely worth a serious look as we try to make our complex IT departments more simple and functional. Is it the right path for you? Be smart, think simple.