Health Plan Executives Focused on Aligning IT and the Business

122 it and the business

A recent survey of more than 220 health plan executivesconducted by HealthEdge in partnership with independent market research firm Upwaverevealed that lack of alignment between IT and the business is a top challenge facing their organizations today. This is a notable shift from our 2018 executive survey where lack of alignment between IT and the business ranked at the bottom (21.9%).

Health plans are starting to see that they are technology organizations at their core, so there has been an increased interest in recent years to take advantage of technology to meet the business strategies. That’s why we’re seeing an increased focus on aligning IT and the business because the partnership has become even more essential.

In my opinion, IT and business have always needed to be in alignment. The most successful IT professionals have a natural desire to learn and understand the business.  Sometimes, IT professionals resist or do not prioritize learning about the business. Still, throughout the years, the most successful technology professionals and leaders have been those that have the interest in and take the time to understand and become part of the businesses they support.

When asked what steps health plan executives plan to take to achieve their organizational goals, 50.2% of payer executives said make a significant investment in innovation―a substantial increase from 2018 when only 19.2% of executives said they plan to invest in innovation.

Investing in innovation is gaining traction, but organizations must first determine how they define innovation to ensure a worthwhile investment. Innovation can be achieved by launching new and differentiating products and services, or new technologies, or ideally both in partnership.

It’s also essential to have a strategic plan that includes innovation. IT must have a corresponding strategic plan that aligns with the business. Some organizations find strategic plan development too burdensome, or, once developed, they are forgotten and collect dust ‘on the shelf’.  Gartner’s one-page strategy concept starts with telling one of three stories: a stakeholder story, a product story, or a process story and committing that strategy to paper. By keeping the strategy to one-page that includes a clear vision, metrics and initiatives, organizations remove complexity and deliver value, and enable the strategy to adjust more freely as business needs dictate.  Aligning IT and business strategies will enable payers to build the right teams and allocate the right resources for innovation.

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