Sunday, March 23, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 Therapy for Healthcare Part 1

As key economic indicators continue to indicate recession, more and more companies are taking wait and see approach to their strategic IT investments. However, Healthcare is one of the few industries that continue to invest heavily in strategic IT projects. If you are a information technologist with a passion to build business driven technologies, then take a closer look at Healthcare. You are sure to be thrilled with the exciting technology opportunities driven by the business problems in this industry. Especially what makes a technologist job more interesting in this industry is a classic Enterprise 2.0 dilemma – to drive innovation and cost reduction using collaborative open technologies or build silo worlds with rigid controls. There is no easy answer to this dilemma and Healthcare organizations are aware of this. They know that the only solution to this problem is to work inside out with a systematic upgrade of IT systems to the next generation applications and technologies so that they can find a perfect mix of open collaboration and disciplined control that will enable them to promote innovation by successfully managing the risks. So are the exhilarating Enterprise 2.0 opportunities in this segment.
To further explore Healthcare balancing act of collaboration and control with Enterprise 2.0 style technologies, let us take a look at some business drivers in Human Capital Management space. In a Healthcare organization with geographically dispersed services facilities, it is critical for employee communities (nurse and physician communities for example) to share best practices and lessons learned in order to drive quality and productivity improvements. This business problem drives the need for collaborative websites and related technologies for knowledge sharing. If you are a technologist that knows the minimal cost and proven scalability value of social collaboration software for the enterprises then this is the perfect opportunity for Enterprise 2.0. In contrast, large workforce including union contracts in healthcare organization drives the need to prevent financial liabilities from lawsuits by securing the organization from internet-based threats such as inappropriate content. Together, these drivers bring a unique healthcare Enterprise 2.0 opportunity to create a technology-mix that is cost effective, promote sharing and reduce risk.

On the other side of Healthcare opportunity spectrum are HIPAA and SOX regulations that drive the need for tight controls to prevent and detect unauthorized access to systems and data. Related technology opportunities include automating IdM user provisioning/de-provisioning process with employee on-boarding, promotion, transfer and termination events in HRMS. For example, while employee termination deactivates employee’s user profile in IdM so that the employee can no longer access any enterprise system, employee promotion to a manager position may add an additional role in IdM to indicate additional authorities in enterprise-wide systems. Nonetheless all the enterprise applications need to be configured to honor the privileges (authentication and authorization rules) setup in Identity Management.

As the security nuts and bolts are tightened with the enterprise-wide authentication and authorization framework using IdM, it is the perfect time to further enhance workforce productivity by delivering personalized tools and applications to the employee desktops using Enterprise Portals and Single Signon technologies. In Enterprise Portal context there are opportunities again to combine Web 2.0 innovations such as Blogs and Wikis to promote collaboration and enterprise innovation. Furthermore, connecting internal communities to external vendor, supplier and consumer communities using a mix of collaboration and security technologies is another interesting Enterprise 2.0 opportunity in a Healthcare environment.

8 comments:

Phaneendra Rao said...

I find this document very timely and informative. It does justice to Healthcare balancing act of collaboration and control with Enterprise 2.0 style technologies. I strongly recommend it for anyone who is in the Healthcare space and looking for technology solutions.

Mark Lasalandra said...

This document spells out the challenges and rewards facing healthcare I.T. professionals. As we encounter an increeasingly regulated business environment what is simple to use and auditable will intrust user as well as consumer confidence.

Sean O'Cairde said...

very well put, one more caveate to the healthcare is workers comp and its whole regulated network. It would be good to be able tie the workers comp side of health care to this as for most companies in California this is a major driving cost of doing business.

Gopi Padakandla said...

Rao, Mark & John - Thanks for the feedback.
John - Excellent point on workers comp. I will explore workers comp side of Healthcare challenge in my Blog very soon.

Environment said...

nice article

Anonymous said...

This us a very thoughtful article. Thanks for sharing this information.

Walter said...

Great perspective on healthcare meets enterprise-wide technologies!

I also believe that Web Services within and, more importantly, beyond traditional ERP spaces may be an imminent factor in the near future. Having that skillset from an applications and technology standpoint to help bridge that need will certainly be in order.

Gopi Padakandla said...

Thanks for the comment Walter. I couldn't agree more on the value of the skillet that bridge the Enterprise 2.0 gap.