How to ensure tech stays top of mind during a hospital merger

When it comes to hospital mergers and acquisitions, technology and informatics processes often times may become afterthoughts as financial and business objectives win priority. To that end, Joseph Schneider, VP and CMIO for the north division of Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, stresses the importance of both education and patience.

Schneider, in a recently published interview with Becker's Hospital Review, says that through education, "synergies" between the merging entities can be identified. Through patience, meanwhile, Schneider says that staff decisions can be made easier.

"You can't learn too much about the other organization," Schneider says.

According to Schneider, the hospital opted to stand pat with staffing through the first sixth months of the merger, to evaluate its on-hand personnel. New CIO Matt Chambers, he says, told staff, 'we're not going to do anything major, now's the time we want to get in and learn more about each other.'"

Still, Schneider says, governance and structure decisions should not be delayed. At Baylor Scott & White, technical governance has yet to be firmly established, despite the fact that the merger was finalized last fall. "Information management is a function of business strategy, and if it takes a long time to develop the governance groups that develop this strategy, it can hold things back," Schneider says.

In a recent commentary written for Bloomberg by Shannon Brownlee and Vikas Saini of The Lown Institute, the authors surmise that mergers and acquisitions of hospitals and healthcare systems are more likely to lead to higher costs for consumers than more efficient healthcare delivery. "As large hospitals gain financial control of physician practices, the medical profession becomes another cog in the corporate machine, and many physicians have told us they feel they must skew their medical judgment to keep their jobs," Brownlee and Saini write.

Representatives on behalf of the American Hospital Association, last fall, said that mergers and acquisitions reflect only a small part of the overall acute care landscape.

To learn more:
- here's the Becker's post

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