Unforeseen IT issues can drive up merger costs

As has been well-established by now, hospital mergers offer significant advantages and opportunities for health care providers. By merging, smaller firms can better compete with larger practices – a growing necessity, as large-scale hospitals become the norm and add pressure to the sector.

Yet for all the good that these mergers can do, there is also significant risk involved. As Healthcare Dive reported, one of the biggest potential pitfalls is unexpected IT issues, which can lead to higher-than-projected costs. To minimize this risk, it is imperative for hospitals to seek out the services of a third-party health care merger expert.

Nonstandard problems
A big part of the problem in this area is the lack of IT standardization across the health care sector, as industry expert Chris Seib explained to the news source.

“Organizations utilize different systems that are incompatible and operating in disparate, heterogeneous environments.” – Chris Seib, health care IT expert

“Even if administrative processes are automated, organizations utilize different systems that are incompatible and operating in disparate, heterogeneous environments,” he said, Healthcare Dive reported. This, he added, leads directly to a variety of error-riddled data exchange processes, which in turn can drive up costs for the newly created organization.

Expertise needed
The wide variety of IT services used by differing health care providers virtually guarantees that conflicts will emerge once the firms’ IT infrastructures are combined. This immediately raises the question of how to proceed – an issue that many health care providers are not able to handle themselves, as industry expert Ryan Pelerin explained. He told the news source that, in many cases, the only effective means of merging two disparate IT systems is by seeking outside assistance.

Further supporting this notion is the fact that hospitals often feature distinct cultures, which can further complicate IT merger efforts.

“Some hospitals have different approaches to quality and the degree of openness about discussing it, so providers need a deeper a look into the culture of care, as well as the administrative approaches of each organization,” Bill Baker, an advisory partner with KPMG, told Heathcare Drive.

The importance of IT culture should not be underestimated. Disagreements in this area can cause headaches, and even completely undo the benefits of a merger. That is why a third-party expert, such as Aptris, is so essential. Aptris has accumulated years of experience handling these matters, allowing our professionals to accurately assess existing approaches and develop new processes that incorporate the best aspects from both original entities. Not only does this lead to a better, more productive workforce, but it also drastically reduces the risk of unexpected IT costs developing in the future.