HEALTHTECH: What is a healthcare IT leader’s main role during the M&A process?
BROWN: The first role of IT is to make sure you complete assessments around the current environment of the acquired organization, aligning it with compatibilities or incompatibilities in your environment. The second thing you do is look at the infrastructure and come back with an understanding of the current landscape, determining what things need to be absorbed. And the third piece is the integration of talent management.
FRENZ: One of the fundamental roles of a person in an information security position is to raise awareness that, when organizations merge, there’s not just the chance for taking on business and financial risks, but there is also the potential for information security risks.
SLICK: You have to think about your role in phases. To start, it’s important for a CIO to be involved early in the M&A discussion. This will enable proper planning, the ability to ask a lot of questions and document the current state of your technology landscape as much as possible, and it will help set the stage for operations integration and application rationalization along with understanding the costs and synergies potential. It will also help avoid “gotchas” later. During the M&A process, the role of a CIO is about more than the IT team — it’s about being a leader across the entire organization and being a business partner. You have to recognize that M&A is stressful for everyone. Then last, it’s all about execution. The list of projects is long, and it can seem like you’re never going to get through it, but if everybody’s on the same page, you’re going to have success.
HEALTHTECH: What are the greatest challenges to ensuring strong and uniform services for care delivery across newly merged facilities?
BROWN: You have to respect what the incoming organization is already doing well. I like to get on the ground as soon as permission is granted to learn about the organization and its leadership. Then I work toward developing guidelines that I establish with their IT leadership on the process and plan to go forward. I believe what makes or breaks success is how transparently you treat the process and work through it in the beginning. It’s important to lay the groundwork for trust.