Across North America and beyond—the pace of merger activity shows no signs of slowing due to a host of reasons from financial pressures to a staffing crisis among clinicians. Even for smaller provider groups, the increasing regulatory burden over the past few years is making it more difficult for practices to remain independent.

One often overlooked aspect of a merger is a realistic assessment of the implications of new IT systems (e.g. EHRs, RevCycle, LIS) on clinicians.

This common oversight is somewhat surprising, given the central role these systems now play in the everyday delivery of care and the management of the revenue cycle, but time and again one sees a merger falter on the rocks of disparate systems, workflows, and practices.

And yet, even as a small consultancy, we have seen more than one instance where the overriding focus of the merger negotiations, usually centering on finances, was all but complete before clinical IT personnel were even consulted to weigh in on the ramifications.


How wiser planning can prevent lurking EHR and RevCycle disasters

The problems with looping in your clinical IT resources later in the process boils down to two critical issues that can have significant implications:

  1. Lack of time to accomplish the IT merger/migration It’s one thing to assume you can impose a vision on a group of clinicians, an IT team, or an administrative group, but that may not lead to efficiencies. It’s quite another experience to give every stakeholder the chance to feel heard and respected, while helping to inform an optimized plan for moving forward cooperatively. The difference in results can be striking and the key driver of that success is having sufficient time to pull it off. Engaging your clinical IT leaders earlier in the process will lead to a smoother adoption all around.
  2. Unexpected costs around the IT merger/migration Unless a consultant or in-house project leader has deep merger experience, a host of “gotchas” can often lie in wait. For example, one acquiring organization made the assumption that they would reap certain economies of scale savings without realizing that the acquired organization had iron-clad supplier contracts that would extend for another 5 years, essentially negating that anticipated savings. This is not to say that an acquiring hospital can’t have aggressive goals for merging IT organizations. For example, Brennan Lehman, CIO of Mosaic Life Care (St. Joseph, MO) informed his team that they would have exactly 97 days to on-board a newly-acquired rural hospital in Maryville. The story of their successful implementation can be viewed in this video, but one of the keys to success was setting up cross-functional workgroups to address individual IT solutions. Additionally, a build reconfiguration—identified by S&P—provided immediate and ongoing savings.

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About S&P Consultants

If your IT group is struggling to perform under remote-only conditions or due to resource losses (from budget cuts or illness) we welcome you to contact S&P Consultants for help. Our people have the kind of real-world experience that allows for hyper-efficient interventions—often performed remotely—with broad expertise across dozens of installations like yours. Our dedication to doing right by our clients has earned us recognition by KLAS including a 2021 “Best in KLAS” Award for Implementations requiring eight or fewer resources. Learn more