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IT


LEADERSHIP IS: ADVANCE PLANNING


With UNC creating a completely new information resource for the entire UNC system, it needed to work out how that resource


should be regulated— specifi cally, how it’s used, paid for and invested in—and do so before it was designed and built. “If you have a great idea for the logical or technical design of a warehouse, and you think you’re going to establish the governance for how to use that data afterwards, you’re going to end up spending a lot more money unnecessarily.” — Dr. Don Spencer, Associate, Director of Medical Informatics, UNC Health Care System


“If you have a great idea for the logical or technical design of a warehouse, and you think you’re going to establish the governance for how to use that data afterwards, you’re going to end up spending a lot more money unnecessarily.”


Dr. Don Spencer, Associate, Director of Medical Informatics, UNC Health Care System


EYES ON THE PRIZE


The ultimate decision to move ahead fell to Dr. William Roper, whose varied titles include Dean of the School of Medicine, Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs and Chief Executive Offi cer of the UNC Health Care System. To sell the project, Spencer and his team prepared a multipronged business case whose main elements addressed important areas of research and healthcare delivery. On the research front, UNC’s top priority by far was to secure a major grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) known as a Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA), part of a large program designed to promote the transfer of medical research from the university into the community. Just how high were the stakes for UNC? Roper put it simply: “Our goal is to be the best public school of medicine in the country. And to be successful, we have to receive one of these grants.”


The clinical dimension of the business case emphasized the ability to drive quality improvements, an issue of direct relevance as UNC’s payers sought to establish tie payments more closely to demonstrated quality care. The better UNC could document key measures of quality (such as improvements in Hemoglobin A1c tests among diabetics) or adherence to high-quality clinical practices, the better chance UNC stood to increase its payer reimbursement rates. In making the case, Spencer was cognizant of the need for rigor— and came prepared. “You can’t just assert it will improve the quality of care because of your clinical judgment,” explains Spencer, who got his MBA in the mid-1990s for this very reason. “You have to translate it into the language that’s understood by business decision makers.”


31 2


INSIGHT ON


HOSPITAL & HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT VOL. 3 ISSUE 2 FEBRUARY 2014


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