Mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare industry have evolved over the past decade as organizations expand across region-specific boundaries in an attempt to provide continuity of care.
As the landscape continues to change, IT integration is no longer a final consideration for a healthcare merger and acquisition based on business and clinical priorities, but a core function. As companies consider mergers and acquisitions to expand patient care capabilities, from acute care to post-acute care to long-term care offerings, IT integration is an essential part of making it all work.
Although mergers and acquisitions can be a difficult process, companies don’t have to go it alone. By involving a partner early on and having a strong framework, companies can ensure a smoother integration process, especially when it comes to cybersecurity. Consider these four questions to help you find the right partner for your healthcare mergers and acquisitions.
1. Which parts of the M&A process should companies target more?
Organizations should spend more time with their people and make sure everyone understands why an M&A is happening and what goals are being driven.
In particular, more time should be devoted to updated training and incentives for career advancement rather than dusting off old documentation and procedures.
A team can benefit from new signings, especially if they can train right away. How can you ensure that all employees are familiar with existing and new technologies? How can you integrate M&A specific training programs? It’s an opportunity to recognize different skills and adapt accordingly when acquiring new technologies and talents.
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2. How can a partnership support an M&A process?
Engaging an IT partner with knowledge and experience specific to healthcare M&A can help organizations meet the demand for scale, especially in larger M&A. For example, a competent partner knows that thousands of endpoints are involved in clinical processes. These endpoints are not limited to a single workstation, but include any patient-facing device. As part of a migration plan and security infrastructure assessment, a partner can help an organization identify all of these endpoints and the versions of the associated operating systems, and identify any vulnerabilities that may be breached.
For example, from our experience we have industry-specific runbooks and playbooks that demonstrate CDW’s in-depth knowledge of this sector. When a healthcare system contacts us to notify us of an upcoming acquisition, we can help with due diligence and scaling on their behalf.
EXPLORE: Why planning is key to managing healthcare IT integration during an M&A.
Due to CDW’s expertise, we consider health-specific aspects such as the intake cycle and clinical workflows. We know how to work with data and electronic medical record system conversions, how to manage identity migration and how to minimize the impact on business operations and clinical experiences. As a partner, we take the time to understand a healthcare system’s culture and ensure we remove all operational burdens.
3. When should a healthcare organization involve an IT partner?
Ideally, a partner should be involved in the M&A process as early as possible, prior to any public merger announcement. But coming in directly after an announcement can also work. From our experience, we were involved in the pre-planning phase alongside the healthcare systems.
A partner brought in early understands the business and IT integration goals from the start, facilitates integration, and can do a lot of work. A partner established before day zero can conduct unbiased assessments sooner and ensure safety is the focus.
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4. What is the most important safety advice?
Having a plan is crucial. You might not always stick to it, but this framework is key so you have a base to work from when surprises inevitably crop up.
For initial acquisitions, keep in mind each organization’s security capabilities. Perhaps the acquired organization has better security processes, solutions, and partnerships that should be adopted overall.
DISCOVER: Advice from CIOs on navigating healthcare mergers and acquisitions.
The lesson we’ve learned over and over again in the healthcare M&A space is that companies don’t always know everything they’re about to take on, especially when it comes to security. There will be surprises popping up on day one and possibly even six months into an integration. Have a day-zero plan for initial security posture and capability assessment, including assessment of any managed services or security operations center.
Outlook on future mergers and acquisitions
Healthcare mergers and acquisitions aren’t going away, especially as traditional providers compete with big tech companies looking to expand. And in the face of staff shortages and consumption trends, investments in clinical automation and data analytics continue.
As healthcare organizations increasingly rely on the cloud, it will simplify the process for mergers and acquisitions as data can be accessed more efficiently when it is not stored in a central location. Implementation time shrinks because less is spent on purchasing hardware on-site for standardization. Capital expenditures will decrease as departments budget more for operational expenses that are easier and more predictable to manage. There will be less infrastructure, fewer contracts and a lot less bureaucracy.
This article is part of HealthTech‘s MonITor blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using #WellnessIT.