Client Stories

Leading IT to the Next Level

When our client needed an IT director, our interim leadership delivered immediate and lasting value.

The Challenge

Across the country, consolidation is reshaping the hospital industry and confronting providers with profound leadership challenges. When one of our clients, a large academic health system, recently merged with a community hospital, it was clear that a new CIO would be needed at the community hospital to meet the IT demands of the integrated organization. As part of integrating these two IT organizations, the new leadership would need to be adept at bringing together two distinct cultures.

But even in an “employer’s economy” it’s not easy to find highly skilled, experienced IT leaders who can step in and win the support of diverse stakeholders across an expanding healthcare system. Our client wanted a leader who was already working within its system—ready to improve daily operations while also leading the post-merger IT organization to meet a major regulatory-driven EMR benchmark. For all of these reasons, the immediate and ideal solution was an interim IT director from LaPlant.

LaPlant Solution

As interim IT director for our client’s hospital, our consultant provides leadership for IT, Telecommunications and Clinical Engineering. Having worked in our client’s system for several years, our consultant was up to speed and down to business immediately. He was experienced in our client’s IT environment, including many of the software applications being integrated post-merger. Just as important, he understood the political landscape and the need to work across organizational lines to develop solutions and make decisions that respected all stakeholders. Early on, he worked to ensure that IT served the best interests of the hospitals, and to dissolve the “us versus them” mindset that had eroded administration’s confidence that the integration of IT departments would be successful. His mantra: “IT does not exist for its own sake.” His focus: coming together to serve the user community.

In order to earn stakeholder confidence, he focused on developing the open communications and relationships that allowed him to serve as a trusted mediator between the medical system and the community hospital. He raised topics and steered conversations that led people to arrive at “aha moments” in which everyone had ownership. By understanding the organizational structure and political environment, slowly ramping up his influence, and drawing on years of experience to take the most effective approach to each situation, he gained broad support and moved IT integration forward in a way that honored everyone’s interests.

The Results

LaPlant’s interim IT director led to results that have been measurable and meaningful in numerous ways. He improved cooperation between the community hospital and its health system. He increased the value of the two entities to each other and helped the IT groups recognize and rally around a common good. He improved project management throughout the IT organization, with a focus on internal client service. The positive effects are more than anecdotal; in a recent survey, internal customer satisfaction scores are at an all-time high.

At the same time, he led the IT group to achieve Meaningful Use Stage 1—a federal benchmark that rewards healthcare providers for achieving specific milestones of “meaningful use” of electronic medical records (EMRs) by an ambitious date. During his tenure, our client’s HIMSS EMR adoption (the industry model for EMR adoption) has risen to among the top 15 percent of all hospitals nationwide. In addition to addressing immediate needs, our consultant has our client’s long-term interests in mind: Whenever our client opts to bring a permanent IT lead onboard, LaPlant’s interim director will be there to make the transition a smooth one and put new leadership in the best possible position to thrive.

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