Healthcare Technology Featured Article

December 08, 2023

FinOps in the Health Industry

What Is FinOps?

FinOps is a new operating model for cloud that combines systems, best practices and culture to increase an organization’s ability to understand cloud costs and make informed business decisions. It is a discipline that brings together IT, business and finance professionals to manage and optimize cloud resources. The ultimate goal of FinOps is to create a culture of financial accountability across an organization.

FinOps is not just about cost management. It is about understanding the value that cloud investments bring to the business and making sure that every dollar spent on cloud is driving business value. FinOps practitioners use data to drive decisions, and they work to create a culture of financial accountability across the organization.

The Core Principles of FinOps

FinOps is based on a few core principles. The first is that teams should be able to make informed decisions about cloud usage and costs based on accurate and timely data. This requires visibility into cloud spending and usage, as well as the ability to allocate costs to the appropriate teams or projects.

The second principle is that of shared responsibility. In a FinOps model, everyone in the organization has a role to play in managing cloud costs and optimizing cloud usage. This means that IT, business and finance teams need to collaborate and work together to manage cloud costs effectively.

The third principle is that of continuous improvement. FinOps is not a one-time initiative, but a continuous process of learning and improvement. This involves regularly reviewing and analyzing cloud usage and costs, identifying opportunities for optimization, and making adjustments as needed.

Challenges in the Health Industry Addressed by FinOps

Managing Complex and Variable IT Expenditures

One of the primary challenges in the health industry is managing complex and variable IT expenditures. The health industry relies heavily on IT systems for everything from patient records to billing. These systems are often complex and costly, and managing these expenditures can be a major challenge.

FinOps provides a framework for managing these expenditures more effectively. By providing visibility into IT spending and usage, FinOps allows health organizations to better understand where their money is going and how it is being used. This in turn allows them to make more informed decisions about their IT investments and to allocate resources more efficiently.

Navigating Regulatory Compliance and Data Security Concerns

Another major challenge for the health industry is navigating regulatory compliance and data security concerns. The health industry is heavily regulated, and organizations must comply with a variety of laws and regulations related to patient privacy and data security.

FinOps can help health organizations navigate these challenges by providing a framework for managing IT resources in a way that is compliant with regulatory requirements. This includes ensuring that IT systems are secure and that patient data is protected.

Balancing Cost Efficiency with Quality Patient Care

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the health industry is balancing cost efficiency with quality patient care. Health organizations must constantly strive to provide the highest quality care possible, while also managing costs and maintaining financial sustainability.

FinOps can help health organizations achieve this balance by providing a framework for managing IT resources in a way that is both cost-effective and supports high-quality patient care. This includes ensuring that IT systems are optimized for efficiency and effectiveness, and that resources are allocated in a way that supports patient care.

Best Practices for FinOps in Healthcare

Align FinOps with Healthcare Objectives

The first step towards implementing FinOps in the health industry is to align it with the overall healthcare objectives. It calls for understanding the core principles of healthcare delivery, which primarily revolve around patient safety, care quality, and cost-effectiveness. To achieve this, financial operations should not only focus on the bottom line but also consider the implications of financial decisions on patient outcomes.

In practice, this might involve incorporating clinical metrics into financial planning, ensuring that cost-cutting measures do not compromise quality of care, or investing in tech innovations that promise better health outcomes. Aligning FinOps with healthcare objectives also means fostering a culture where all stakeholders understand the financial implications of their roles and contribute towards the financial health of the organization.

The alignment of FinOps with healthcare objectives is not a one-off process but a continuous cycle of planning, implementation, review, and refinement. It demands open communication channels, regular financial reports, and a proactive approach to change management.

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Cross-functional collaboration is another essential best practice for implementing FinOps in the health industry. Given the multifaceted nature of healthcare delivery, financial decisions cannot be made in isolation. They need to consider clinical, administrative, and technological perspectives, which necessitates collaboration across various departments.

Effective cross-functional collaboration begins with creating a shared vision and common goals. It also involves breaking down silos and encouraging teamwork. For instance, finance teams should work closely with clinical teams to understand their needs and challenges. Similarly, IT teams should collaborate with finance and operations to ensure that technology solutions align with financial objectives and operational realities.

Cross-functional collaboration also calls for shared accountability. This means that all teams should understand and own the financial implications of their decisions and actions. It is about creating a culture where everyone feels responsible for the financial health of the organization, leading to more informed decisions and better financial outcomes.

Utilizing Data Analytics for Decision Making

Data analytics is a powerful tool for financial decision making in healthcare. It can provide insights into cost drivers, identify inefficiencies, predict financial trends, and inform strategic planning. Therefore, utilizing data analytics is a best practice for implementing FinOps in the health industry.

Healthcare organizations generate vast amounts of data from various sources, such as patient records, billing systems, and operational processes. Data analytics can help make sense of this data, turning it into actionable information. For example, it can help identify patterns in patient care, such as the most common procedures or the most costly conditions. This can inform budgeting, resource allocation, and cost management strategies.

However, to leverage data analytics, healthcare organizations must invest in the right technology and skills. They need data analytics tools that can handle the complexity and volume of healthcare data, and they need personnel who can interpret the data and translate it into strategic decisions.

Emphasize on Training and Education

Finally, successful implementation of FinOps in the health industry requires emphasis on training and education. Financial operations in healthcare are complex and ever-changing, requiring ongoing learning and development. Therefore, organizations should invest in training programs that equip personnel with the necessary skills and knowledge.

Training should cover diverse areas, including financial management, compliance, data security, data analytics, and change management. It should also be tailored to the roles and responsibilities of personnel. For instance, clinical staff may need training on cost-effective care practices, while IT staff may need training on data security.

Education also extends beyond formal training programs. It involves creating a learning culture where everyone is encouraged to keep abreast of the latest developments in healthcare finance, share knowledge, and continuously improve their skills and practices.

In conclusion, the application of FinOps in the health industry is a strategic approach that can enhance financial efficiency and patient care. However, it requires alignment with healthcare objectives, cross-functional collaboration, compliance with regulations, utilization of data analytics, and emphasis on training and education. By adopting these best practices, healthcare organizations can leverage FinOps to optimize resources, reduce costs, and improve service delivery.

Author Bio: Gilad David Maayan

Gilad David Maayan is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Imperva, Samsung NEXT, NetApp and Check Point, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership. Today he heads Agile SEO, the leading marketing agency in the technology industry.


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