6 Must-Dos For A Successful Health Plan Digital Transformation Project

To realize the benefits of their significant investments in technology software and support applications, health plans must transform their core information technology systems.

While out-of-date information technology (IT) platforms woven together through a series of patches and work arounds present many challenges today, updating to a more modern platform without proper planning will not lead to desired results. It requires careful planning around personnel, processes and tools.

When to Consider an IT Core Systems Transformation

  • Tasks take longer than they should
  • Existing systems do not support anticipated business needs
  • Maintenance of the existing system requires a significant financial investment

Benefits of IT Transformation

  • Increased consistency, accuracy and compliance of data inputs and outputs
  • Improved accuracy and timeliness of business-critical functions
  • Robust infrastructure to sustain and support the health plan for the long term
As you consider a major IT core system transformation, taking stock of the following six items will help achieve results and proactively address challenges.

Account for Culture

Get ahead of employee frustration and identify how roles will change. Seek out change agents who can encourage employee buy-in and work to resolve unexpected challenges that arise.

  • Do teams have the right knowledge and skills to facilitate transformation?
  • Will teams change and/or operate differently after the transformation?
  • Will jobs be eliminated or will employees’ workflows change?
  • How will this impact morale?

Identify the Right Leader

Put in place a governance structure that includes dedicated project stakeholders and managers who are committed to a project from a technology perspective and have the skills to lead.

  • Has a clear direction been set and are stakeholders aligned around it?
  • Do individuals have autonomy and skill sets to make critical decision?
  • How will success of the transformation be measured during and after the project?

Assess, Identify and Address Your Unique Needs

Evaluate your technology strategies to assess current and future needs. This should include a thorough understanding of your desired project outcomes and goals and what tools and processes will meet these.

  • Are there off-the-shelf applications we can implement or do we need to create a bespoke tool?
  • What are the advantages of developing custom software?
  • If no tools are available, are there other ways in which enhancements can be made?

Manage Legacy Data

IT systems that don’t operate on the latest platforms often pull from disparate data sources that aren’t easily connected.

  • What data should be migrated to the new system?
  • Can discrete data entry be applied in more areas?
  • Is there a plan for archiving legacy data?

Put Quality First

Align stakeholders around the need to do things right and implement a standardized, sustainable process which will yield results for years to come.

  • How much additional time will testing take?
  • Who are the key stakeholders that need to test the new applications?
  • What is at risk if we don’t meet a deadline? Are there opportunities to manage this risk in advance?

Develop Post-Implementation Process

Before the project begins, post-implementation planning should be considered. This will allow any tools or support processes such as error reporting to be configured into the initial system build.

  • Who will need to be retrained and on what processes?
  • What types of regular maintenance will need to be performed? Does existing staff have capacity to undertake this?
  • How should error logging occur? And who will be responsible for continuous improvements?

Key Takeaways

Think differently.

Look at your organization’s IT infrastructure and assess whether improvement is needed. If it is, determine if now is the appropriate time.

Plan differently.

Identify key stakeholders and create alignment around the initiative. Develop a plan of action beyond implementation.

Act differently.

Build a more efficient and effective IT infrastructure that generates a return on investment and leads to a better employee experience.