This a guest post provided by Andrew Rosenberg, MD, CIO of Michigan Medicine, and the interim VP for IT and CIO at the University of Michigan. Huntzinger periodically invites its clients and partners to contribute to The Huntzinger Blog.
By Andrew Rosenberg, MD
Associate Professor, Anesthesiology & Internal Medicine
Chief Information Officer for Michigan Medicine
Interim Vice President for IT and CIO for University of Michigan
Time as a CIO
Time in Current Role
I’ve been the CIO of Michigan Medicine since January 2016, and have been the interim VPIT/CIO of U-M since December 2017.
What Role Does IT Play in Supporting Michigan Medicine’s Clinical Strategies?
Michigan Medicine’s shared clinical vision is to develop relationships to care for 3.5 million people statewide, provide comprehensive care to 400,000 patients locally, and enhance the value of Michigan Medicine. IT plays a key role in meeting these strategies. Technologies like telehealth, eConsults, and eVisits increase patient access to U-M providers. Clinical decision support, predictive modeling and data analytics help to improve outcomes and the value of care. Health information exchange and EHR interoperability directly impacts population health management, reduces the cost of care, and focuses on appropriateness of care.
What Evidence Do You See That IT is Becoming a Strategic Partner within Michigan Medicine?
Michigan Medicine’s leadership recognized that increased integration and collaboration was necessary to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing healthcare marketplace. In 2016, they escalated the role of IT by creating a new CIO position to lead the health system and medical school. This influenced the unification of a single IT organization, Health Information Technology & Services (HITS), to support Michigan Medicine’s three-part mission of patient care, research, and education. HITS is capable of supporting current and emerging needs across Michigan Medicine while also supporting the operational needs of our clinicians, researchers, educators, students, staff, and patients.
What is the Value Proposition That IT Brings to Merger and Acquisition (M&A) Activity?
The value proposition brought to the table by IT is limitless — the ability to interoperate is significantly driven by technology. From data sharing and analytics to cybersecurity and infrastructure, a detailed and systematic review of all things IT is warranted. Because every M&A scenario is unique, the IT value proposition will vary depending on the nature of the relationship and opportunity. In past negotiations, our certified EHR, patient information sharing capabilities, IT contracts, and data storage options were included as part of a value proposition.
Why is M&A Activity an Important Issue for Healthcare CIOs?
When you look across the healthcare industry, huge amounts of consolidation are occurring. CIOs not only need to be involved, they can be leaders in this space. Nearly all aspects of business operations rely on IT so we tend to have a unique perspective into processes that cross divisions. Our strategic view allows us to look for opportunities to reduce inefficiencies and combine strengths across groups.
What are Some of the Recent M&A Initiatives That Have Impacted HITS?
Michigan Medicine and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are working to establish a joint venture for the 133-bed St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea hospital. Metro Health and U-M recently joined together to bring increased healthcare innovation to west Michigan. Michigan Medicine also signed an affiliation agreement with MidMichigan Health, improving access to specialty care for patients in mid-Michigan. Michigan Medicine is a founding member of Together Health Network, a joint venture with Trinity Health Michigan and Ascension Health Michigan, designed to offer advanced care coordination services through competitively-priced health plan products.
What Factors Prompted the Need to Create an M&A Playbook for Michigan Medicine?
We realized we needed an IT Playbook as the number of Michigan Medicine mergers and acquisitions continued to increase. There were several occasions where IT was brought in too late in the process, causing issues for both us and the opportunity. We knew that by standardizing the way we approached this work, we could create more efficiencies and be a better partner to the rest of Michigan Medicine.
Why is it Important for IT to be Involved Early in the M&A Process?
While IT does not drive M&A, we play a significant role in the success of those activities. IT can inform business decisions regarding the value proposition, costs, security, and risks. When IT is not involved early on, it inevitably leads to increased expenses, unrealistic expectations, and incomplete evaluations. Much of the due diligence goes beyond basic financial statements and facility reviews — issues are often exposed by reviewing technology, platforms, contracts, or standards.
How Can a Playbook Help IT Address the Challenges Presented with M&As?
While every merger and acquisition is different, an IT Playbook helps formalize the process, tools, and team members to ensure a more consistent approach. Given how pervasive IT is across an organization’s operations, approaching this work in a transparent and systematic way makes sense for every IT group. In the absence of a Playbook, IT efforts may be inefficient and costly. Specific templates for common IT capabilities between organizations allow for more efficient early data comparisons. IT can also more easily accelerate due diligence while shaping strategic benefits (or lack of) from a proposed affiliation.
How Does the IT Playbook Prepare Michigan Medicine for the Future?
Michigan Medicine is in a unique position in that we are the only health system in Michigan that sees patients from every county in the state. Our motivations for M&A tend to be collegial affiliations that drive collaborative models of value-based care and clinically integrated networking. We form partnerships with competing health systems in support of patient care, academic support, research, innovations and technology, analytics, and process design. As we continue to identify and grow our healthcare partners, the number of M&A activities will increase. The IT Playbook helps us streamline our internal processes and involvement. There is also crossover in how we open new buildings, clinics, and facilities – we anticipate using the IT Playbook to guide those activities as well.
When Developing a Playbook, How Does Using an External Consultant Bring Value to the Process?
We contracted with an experienced consulting firm to develop a custom set of documents and processes that will function as our M&A IT Playbook. While we had the expertise to do this in-house, we did not have the time or capacity to complete the work in the time we needed it. The consultants met with nearly 50 stakeholders and analyzed materials we used in previous engagements in order to deliver a custom model, methodology, tool set, and experienced consulting services in an expedited time frame. They also facilitated knowledge transfer activities to ensure our team members, partners, and affiliates were fully capable of using the Playbook.