Tech Talk: Framing the Use of Technology
A practical framework is needed to ensure your staff, resources, and processes are supported with the best use of available technology.
Mike Robey, MS, AAO-HNS/f Senior Director, Information Technology
Your practice is complex. Many interconnected parts must work together to serve your patients. For a smooth-running office, technology tools must align with your needs. A practical framework is needed to ensure your staff, resources, and processes are supported with the best use of available technology.
Like a blueprint, a framework identifies the subject area domains and how they interrelate with one another. This provides a model for better management of all interconnected parts. From a future perspective, a framework gives you the ability to see where newer technologies can be plugged in and what their impacts might be. The diagram shown here represents a high-level view of a generalized framework:
Strategy defines why you exist and what your vision is. Example artifacts found in this domain are:
- Vision and mission statements
- Strategic plan charting the organization’s course for the next 3-5 years
- Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats analysis
- Concept of operations scenarios
Business Processes aligns the Why, What, and How of your practice. Strategy defines the Why. The business domain defines What services are offered and How these services are provided. Example artifacts found at this domain are:
- Business continuity plan
- Organization chart
- Vendor list
- Chart of accounts
Technology is the infrastructure (hardware) and cloud services (applications) used to support your business needs. Example artifacts at this domain are:
- On-site cable plant and network diagram
- Computer inventory
- Applications inventory
- List of service vendors, including internet service and software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers
This article concentrates on the operations domain from a practical perspective. Operations defines what is needed to support the top three layers. Recognizing that this is not an exhaustive list, this article introduces three important areas of operations:
- Cybersecurity protection and awareness
- Infrastructure resiliency
- Data governance and protection
- Example frameworks for these operational areas are on the next page.
The Strategy, Business, and Technology domains need their own frameworks detailed so that Operations can be kept in sync. As any domain changes, it is good practice to review the impacts on the adjacent domains. Technology tools need to be honed. Using a framework will help keep your use of technology aligned with your practice needs.