When executed properly, mergers or acquisitions in healthcare can be extremely valuable. According to Healthtech Magazine, Healthcare organizations pursue merger and acquisition (M&A) deals for many reasons, including increased capacity, economies of scale and improved productivity. According to a Kaufman Hall Report, 27 total transactions were announced in just Q1 and Q2 of 2021.
The assumption is that through M&A, health system investments in technology, quality improvement, diagnostic devices, or shared services can be spread across the enterprise system after the transaction. Do M&A deals actually achieve these outcomes? The answer: it can—with strategic intent and thorough planning and execution.
A major challenge is the difficulty of dealing with unfamiliar technologies such as those in a new EMR system, or different device manufacturers/models than the facility is accustomed to. With the adoption of new technology often necessary due to the goal to integrate systems from once-separate organizations, new challenges present themselves. Finding applications that are compatible with the assets each site has in place can be difficult. Routine tasks can become time-consuming, especially in the IT department.
Be Proactive — What are all of the Assets that You Need to Keep in Mind
Interoperability issues often occur during M&A, with management and mapping between EMRs becoming problematic. Findings from a survey of hospital and health system IT leaders revealed that in integrating systems as part of M&A, data conversion and data retention are vitally important. Data should be converted from legacy systems to ensure clinical continuity. With this in mind, when looking for software that will be successful throughout your enterprise, it is crucial to evaluate the whole picture. Can your legacy data be easily migrated? What EMR systems will you need to integrate with? Will you have immediate access to results in the EMR? What are the different device manufacturers or modalities that your applications will need to communicate with?
Do Your Research, and Select a FLEXIBLE Technology Partner
Due to your rapidly-evolving IT infrastructure, it is paramount to select a technology partner for diagnostic data management that is flexible to adapt to your needs as things change within your organization over the course of M&A. Ideally, this technology partner would be able to work with you in phases and be able to communicate with all of the vendors and EMR systems you have or plan on purchasing. It is, of course, also important to consider how cost-effective potential solutions can be. Will they charge an integration fee every time you add a new modality? Since you want to be able to expand and enhance your clinical workflow as your budget permits and your needs change, you need a technology partner you can grow with.
If your organization has thought about implementing several software solutions that can be otherwise accomplished by only one, consider consolidating to make things easier on your IT department. Does the potential partner have a cloud solution? Will the new system allow your physicians to read and interpret remotely? These are all important questions to keep in mind. Whether seller or buyer, healthcare organizations must first focus on simplifying their portfolios and the systems and personnel who support them. Unless they attend to this, they are liable to spend more and neglect the most important matters – regulatory issues, cybersecurity, systems and process integration, efficiency, and the quality of patient care.
Make Certain that Processes are in Place to Ensure Success with the System
When approaching a decision to select a Health IT partner, it is important to consider the process the company has established for its customers after the sale. How seamless is the implementation process? How long will it take to train your providers? Will you be able to speak to a live representative when you have a question or support issue?
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Administrative functions of any software solution are also of utmost importance to consider. For example, modules such as advanced tracking and logging help with legal tasks and healthcare information management, and comprehensive reporting tools help to retain revenue with automated billing and determine workflow efficiency going forward.
If your healthcare organization is going through M&A, it is of value to assess your current technology portfolio and needs, select a Health IT partner that is flexible and can help you adapt as new sites or clinics are acquired, and make sure that partner is in it for the long hall with sound processes in place. At Epiphany Healthcare, we have helped many hospital systems in the process of M&A work through their challenges and greatly simplify their clinical workflow for optimal patient care. That is what we’re all about.