How are healthcare CIOs preparing for the possibility of the federal government going over the fiscal cliff? I spoke last week with Bruce Smith, CIO of Advocate Health Care, the largest integrated healthcare system in Illinois, about the post-election landscape.
"We've got strong cost management processes in place," he says. "Actually, we put those in place regardless of the fiscal cliff. We're making the assumption going down the road—if you look at where Washington's at and what's coming out there—there are going to be reductions in healthcare spending, so we know there's a good possibility that we are going to be under more economic pressure."
Chicago-based Advocate is big, with more than 250 sites of care, 10 acute-care hospitals, and a children's hospital with two campuses. In the grand scheme of things, the recent election was barely a blip on a six-year-old mission to build electronic medical records and digitize as much clinical information as possible to make it available anywhere, anytime.
"There were probably a few things that we altered in terms of the quality indicators," Smith says. "We changed some processes to collect that information, and maybe a couple of other access things, but for the most part I think we were pretty much on track with what came out of Meaningful Use."