Building a Business Case for Hospital IT Projects

Do you have a Healthcare IT project in mind for your hospital? Do you need help justifying it and getting it approved?

Here’s my quick tip: Use IRACIS to identify the advantages, benefits and value of the IT project. It is a concept I found in a book many years ago.

IRACIS is an acronym that stands for:

IR: Increase Revenues
AC: Avoid Costs
IS: Improve Services

Build your business case by using IRACIS as an anchor point. Brainstorm, draft ideas, and expound on each item. Try to be as concrete and tangible. Use actual numbers and figures, if at all possible.

Do you have a Health IT project in mind for your hospital? Do you need help justifying it and getting it approved?

 

Let’s go through each item one by one:

Increase Revenues

Let’s accept it — all projects in the hospital should contribute to financial viability. That’s why this part of IRACIS is important. Possible areas you can look into:

  • Turn-around time: Streamlining queue-based processes and reducing waiting times help patient throughput.
  • Additional services: IT projects can introduce new hospital services, for example telemedicine.
  • Value-added service: Basic services, including laboratory, can be ‘converted’ to premium services once enabled by IT services.

Avoid Costs

Hospitals are pressured to manage costs. IT projects are often set in place to help avoid cost and reduce overhead in the long run. Possible ideas include:

  • Eliminate paper: IT projects can eliminate many paper-based requests and processes, e.g. logbooks, request slips.
  • Reduce manpower requirements: This may be a sensitive issue but some IT projects, not all, might eliminate several job functions.
  • Lesser redundant services: IT systems can catch redundant orders and tests. They also help manage inventory and supply chain.

Improve Services

This IRACIS component is often the most difficult to quantify. However, hospitals looking for opportunities to differentiate and expand their market cannot ignore this component. Some potential areas include:

  • Reduced waiting times and queue management: Hospitals can learn from innovative restaurants and banks about how to handle queueing, registrations and order-taking.
  • Patient engagement: Emails, SMS and Websites can increase range of patient engagement activities.
  • Customer service: Keeping databases on patient details and preferences can make the hospital visit feel more personalized.

The IRACIS approach is a quick-and-dirty but extremely useful tool when proposing and justifying IT projects to management. When building your business case, remember to be as concrete and tangible as possible in each specific component.

 

Question: Do you have tips, advice and recommendations for proposing and justifying hospital IT projects? What worked for you to get them approved? 

 

Written by Michael “Doc Mike” Muin MD

 

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