This Week Health

No story, just me sharing some thoughts on where you can create some margin in your IT resource plan. Let me know your thoughts.

Transcript
Bill Russell:

Today in health. It, no story for today. I'm just going to talk about budgeting, budgeting, and a health it department. Some of the things that I've seen that have worked, and I'm doing this because I've had some conversations lately, and I want to get some of these thoughts out there into the wild. Have you guys talk about them? Get back to me with some feedback that would be phenomenal. My name is bill Russell. I'm a former CIO for a 16 hospital system and creator of this week and health. A channel dedicated to keeping health it staff current and engaged. VMware has been committed to our mission of providing relevant content to health. It professionals. Since the start, they recently completed an executive study with MIT on the top healthcare trends, shaping it, resilience, covering how the pandemic drove unique transformation in healthcare. This is just one of the many resources they have for healthcare providers. For this and several other great content pieces. Check out vmware.com/go/healthcare. All right. To today's story. Well, no story. I just wanted to talk a little bit about budgeting. One of the things that's happening is there's a budget crunch. We've had two. Interesting years in a row. The first year, obviously we had to do away with elective surgeries for the better part of two to three months. And that had a significant financial impact on our organizations. And then this year we're dealing with another surge and that has had also an impact on budgets. And so I find myself talking to CEOs and people like coach and others about budgeting and it reminded me of some of the things that I have. In the past that have worked for me, one of the things that I'm always conscious of is the fact that we never have enough money or people or resources in IRIS. The period we just don't. And so we always have to be looking at where can we find more resources, more budget, more dollars when you start the year, you're going to have a certain budget. And that is not going to be enough. I can just tell you that right now. I don't know your organization. I don't know what's going on, but I know that somebody is going to walk into your office somewhere in the middle of the year. There's going to be some unbudgeted item that's going to come up. It could be a ransomware event. It could be any number of things, and you're going to need to find some. And so I was taught early on to think a couple of years ahead, at least think 12 months ahead. And since I knew I was going to need money, the day our budget got approved, I would go to my team. And on that day, I would essentially say to them, We're going to need money at some point this year, I don't know where we're going to need it. We might need it. An infrastructure we weren't needed in analytics. We might need it in clinical informatics. I have no idea where we're going to need it. I know we're going to need it. So I would task my executive team, my it leadership team and say, we need to find dollars out of this budget that was just approved last year. And we created a culture. We had lean six Sigma teams. We had a constant set of conversations going on around how we could re reduce cost within it, free up some budget dollars to spend on the unforeseen, if you will. And it was amazing to me every year, we would find some amazing amount of savings because we had created that culture. People were constantly looking for it. We absolutely elevated it when somebody found some. That was of substance. We would make sure that the organization knew we called it out and we made sure. That people were recognized for that contribution. I remember one year somebody found a different way to do things like PD use and the, which is how power distribution units within the data center, they found a different way to do that within our data centers and saved us $600,000 a year. And that was the biggest one I can remember. I mean, that was a significant savings. It required some investment, but that's that money back was almost. And so it was an immediate return. So we could invest $200,000 in a new set of PDs or the services required because we got that 600,000 back within the first 12 months. And we had a bunch of those kinds of projects. So that was one of the things I did. I would challenge my team to go out and find those kinds of things. The next thing I would challenge my team with, I'd go to my team. I'd say, We are going to be asked to do the same amount of work next year that we are doing currently this year. And we're going to be asked to do that with less money or less resource in some way, shape or form. And so I would challenge my team to say, okay, here's what I want you to plan for a year from today, we're going to get a budget that's lower than what we have today. So I want you to figure out how we can do the same amount of. Next year with one less person in each one of your departments plan for a reduction in staff. Even if you don't have to implement it and it will free your mind up to start thinking about some things. Now here's what you're going to find. The first thing is you're going to find fear and reluctance to this task because people are like, well, if we free up that resource, you're just going to cut people. That's a cultural thing. That's a truck. And what they need to experience is that is not the reason that you're doing it. The reason you're doing it is really because you understand what's coming next, what's coming next is that you're going to be asked to do more and more things with less and less resources. And what I find is when you're not thinking ahead like this and saying, okay, what are we going to do this. Then your staff gets overworked, overburdened, can't get the things done. And that's where you're heading. If you don't instill these things early on. So you're going to have fear and reluctance. You have to get over that through trust. The second thing is you're going to find opportunities to do some simple automate. I remember my team would come to me and go, Hey, we figured out how to automate these tasks. And it was really, some of the stuff was a little over the top. Remember when they came to me and said, Hey, we can provision servers using an Amazon echo. We can essentially say provision this new VMware. Blah, blah blah. And it would provision the server in our data center. And I thought that's really interesting, but that was them thinking, okay, how can we automate some of the things that we're doing today? How can we automate looking at those logs? How can we automate the provisioning of new servers? How can we. The approval of certain kinds of reports so that our analytics teams can handle more than they were handling before. And so you have some simple automation tasks that sort of pop out the next thing is, you're going to find areas that if you invested politically, you could eliminate low value work. Your team's going to come to you and say, Hey, do you realize we're still supporting this application that no physician is using? And you're going to look at it and go, and we did. We found that 10% of our applications that we were still running on servers, still backing up, still maintaining that no one was using those applications anymore. And what it required was for me or someone on my it team, executive team to go out and use some political capital and some times. To educate the organization on what it costs to keep some of these things running. And in some cases we found old systems, we were still paying licenses for again, that was costing us a significant amount of money that we had not shut off because it fell through the cracks at some point in the transitions that happened in it. So you're going to find areas where you can shut off some low value work and free your team. If you're looking for it, you will find it. I guarantee you will find it. The next thing you'll probably find is that your technology selection is not keeping an eye on the amount of burden it puts on. And so that needs to be elevated to part of the conversation. And what you're gonna find is that there's technology that if you selected has much better tools that integrate with what you're already doing that has automation already built in that integrates with the workflows that you already have, that are going to be a lot easier to end. Then say the one that has the neatest features for the end user that has to be taken into consideration, especially as things in it get much more complex and harder to implement. You have to find technologies that are easier to use. So number one, you have to get over the fear, and reluctance that you're gonna get from with your it organization. You can only do that when they try. The next thing, you're going to find opportunities for simple automation. Third thing. You're going to find areas that if you invested politically, you can eliminate low value work. The fourth thing is you're going to find that you're selecting technology. That's only increasing the workload for it, instead of things that could potentially reduce the amount of work for it. And then if you do that, the other project that I was talking about and get your team thinking. Cost reductions and incorporating that into your daily stand-ups and those kinds of things. I think you'll find that people are very creative. They're going to find, you know, a hundred thousand here, 200,000 here. I mean, we're talking big budgets. We spend a lot of money running hospitals, expensive from the it side. And if you do this, what you're going to do is you're going to have some left over. Some operating money and couldn't, we all use a little bit more operating money and a little bit more time and resource to get projects done. And so these were some of the things that I did. It's not an exhaustive list, but these were some of the more effective things. And I just wanted to share that with you. So that's all for today. If you know someone that might benefit from our channel, please forward them a note. They can subscribe on our website this week, health.com or wherever you listen to podcasts, apple, Google, overcast, Spotify, Stitcher. You get the picture. We are everywhere. We want to thank our channel sponsors who are investing in our mission to develop the next generation of health leaders. VMware Hill-Rom Starbridge advisors, McAfee and Aruba networks. Thanks for listening. That's all for now.

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