IT Spending In Our Economy

“I was recently asked to comment on the impact of the struggling economy on my (Healthcare Industry) IT spending.” Says John D. Halamka, MD, MS. Are you faced with knowing the impact on your IT or other budget spending?

We first had the pleasure of listening to keynote speaker Dr. Halamka at an RFID Conference. Dr. Halamka is a well accomplished and holds many prestigious IT titles in the Healthcare world. (Click here to view more.) Dr. Halamka’s blog outlines his creative strategy for not only surviving the pending economic trials but also for being in the best position when the economy improves again.

In his blog, Dr. Halamka writes “… 2009 will be a challenging capital year because of lower operating margins and investment performance…We’re negotiating hard and thinking creatively about how to trim operating expenses by reducing the complexity of our hardware and software environment.”

“… I believe that economic challenges are good for IT organization because it forces customers to prioritize their projects, matching their demand to limited IT resource supplies.”

“In summary, we are limiting major capital purchases, extending timelines, and focusing on the highest priority projects. We are not expecting major new enterprise purchases, instead we will refine and improve what we have.”

Does this strategy for you?

Good managers know what is important to the stability and growth of their company and focus on their priorities. They also look for ways to improve efficiency and productivity to save them money. These days taking a good hard look at your current resources and how to employ them to maximize your return is key to your bottom line success.

Relying on experts in the industry to evaluate your current structure and operations can be a valuable exercise. Doing some homework before you do, can save you time, and provide profitable results.

  • Look at your current operations and see if they match your current goals and objectives.
  • Make sure you know and can clearly communicate your objective(s).
  • Your vendor should be taking a look at the complete process, not just individual parts. Systems that were put in place overtime can become fragmented. These are often areas where even the slightest change can make the biggest improvement.
  • Talk to those who use these systems everyday. Are some daily frustrations or dealys costing you money? Is it affecting the productivity?
  • Keep an open mind, too. You might be surprised to learn that what was working for you in the past, needs to be tweaked for optimal efficiency in today’s production environment.

“One last thought. In the spirit of buy low, sell high – the best time to purchase is when demand and prices are at a low point. We will keep looking for bargains that will reduce our capital and operating costs over the long term. Eventually, the economy will improve and we want to be in the best position when that occurs.” (Dr. Halamka)

John D. Halamka, MD, MS, is Chief Information Officer of the CareGroup Health System, Chief Information Officer and Dean for Technology at Harvard Medical School, Chairman of the New England Health Electronic Data Interchange Network (NEHEN), CEO of MA-SHARE (the Regional Health Information Organization), Chair of the US Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel (HITSP), and a practicing Emergency Physician.
You can read more on Dr. Halamka and his story at his blog: (Excerpts quoted here from blog posted Monday, November 10, 2008)

If you have ideas on your IT strategy, please post them in the comments section. We look forward to hearing from you.

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