In healthcare, technology, business growth synergistic

As the healthcare industry evolves over the next decade, manufacturers are going to play a big role in that growth, according to Scott Blanchette, CIO at Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanguard Health Systems, which boasts 14 hospitals across five states. In particular, Blanchette told SearchCIO in a recently published interview, technology will be key to boosting business value at Vanguard and beyond.

"[H]ealthcare shouldn't necessarily end the minute you leave the hospital or a clinic, but it needs to cross multiple continuums of care and impact people in their everyday lives," Blanchette said. "And we want to extend that beyond the four walls of the hospital. … Technology is central to that transformation."

Consumerism, Blanchette told SearchCIO, has "fundamentally" changed other industries like banking and retail, but has yet to gain a foothold in healthcare; that's something of which technology vendors are taking notice, he said.

"One of the things I think is a particular asset for Vanguard is quite a few people driving that transformation today are not necessarily from healthcare," Blanchette said. "People that have come from financial services, from retail, from consumer relationship management backgrounds, that understand things like employee engagement and customer engagement much better than we do in the healthcare system have been tremendous assets for us."

Similar examples of the private sector's role in transforming healthcare's culture were highlighted in a recent Associated Press story about Maryland businesses jumping into the health IT industry. One company in particular--Gaithersburg-based Microlog Corp., which develops communications software--went from operating call centers for department stores and lottery agencies to primarily serving healthcare providers.

Microlog CEO Richard Meccarielli told the AP that a few years ago, healthcare providers comprised 50 percent of his business.

"Five years from now, it might be 90 percent," Meccarielli said.

Blanchette, however, told SearchCIO that he and his colleagues think change to the industry needs to be even more swift and radical.

"If you're uncomfortable with change, this is not a good time to be in healthcare," he said.

To learn more:
- read the SearchCIO interview
- check out the Associated Press article

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