One hospital's keys to separating IT and informatics departments

Setting up separate IT and healthcare informatics departments at Corpus Christi, Texas-based CHRISTUS Spohn Health System meant focusing on the things each does best.

Implementing that decision meant really understanding those strengths, Bill Morgan, the organization's senior regional director of information management, told Healthcare IT News.

It also required the organization, which operates six hospitals and six family health centers along the Gulf Coast, to develop strong governance for both sides, hone in on the proper skills needed for each and to be agile enough for the evolving workflow processes involved.

A key factor was the focus within the informatics group on how clinical workflow is affected. Eliminating silos of information meant changing some reporting structures, according to Healthcare IT News.

What's more, the organization's readiness to accept change was vital, according to Morgan, as was the importance of a clear end goal. For IT, he said, that involved taking a step back and collaborating, which he added didn't necessarily mean losing standing.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital's Yiscah Bracha recently made the case for involving analytics pros while building a healthcare enterprise data warehouse--even in letting them lead the project. Analytics experts--the warehouse's most likely customers--can explain the data they need and how they need to use it, Bracha said.

Healthcare providers, however, continue to face hurdles in their analytics efforts. Routinely collected patient data rarely meets clear and robust standards required for analysis to show real-world value, according to a report from the national health policy institute Network for Excellence in Health Innovation.

And that data is coming from an array of sources--between 11 and 50 disparate electronic platforms or interface--for 39 percent of respondents to a recent survey conducted by the eHealth Initiative and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare IT News article