As CIO for Quest Diagnostics, the diagnostic testing company, I not only have to keep information technology operations running, but I also have responsibility to use IT to create competitive advantage and to deliver value-added services and products for our customers. Developing market knowledge -- that is, gaining a better understanding of the healthcare industry and our customers' needs -- isn't a sideline activity. It's part of my role and it's critical to my company's growth.
A broad and deep understanding of your business, your market and your customers enables you to identify the products and services that will create sustained value for your customers and sustained competitive advantage for your company
A broad and deep understanding of your business, your market and your customers enables you to identify the products and services that will create sustained value for your customers and sustained competitive advantage for your company. Such understanding, along with knowledge of technology trends, is essential to aligning IT and business strategies to drive growth.
As a healthcare company, we provide services to multiple customers including physicians, hospitals, health plans, employers, insurers and pharmaceutical companies -- and of course patients, who are at the centre of everything we do. Because we work with all of these constituents, we have a 360-degree view of the healthcare market and its trends. Seventy percent of healthcare decisions involve laboratory test information, so laboratories such as Quest Diagnostics are at the centre of many healthcare IT initiatives. We spend a lot of time with our business partners and customers understanding their needs and how technology can have the most positive impact.
From Market Needs to Value-Added Services
Here are some examples of how we have used our understanding of customer needs and market drivers to deliver value-added IT services:
We recognized that online services could make it easier for large numbers of our patient and physician customers to do business with us, and so we identified and developed several new Internet-based services. For instance, thousands of patients visit our patient service centres (PSCs) to have blood drawn for tests. We know that a key factor in creating a positive patient experience is to minimize a patient's wait time in the PSC. So we implemented an online appointment scheduling service. A patient can quickly identify PSC locations that are convenient, schedule an appointment and retrieve driving directions. According to our surveys, patients love the convenience of the online service, which puts them in control of their busy day.
Another online service is the Care360 physician portal. The portal is used by more than 100,000 physicians to order tests and receive test reports electronically. Recognizing that electronic prescribing would be a major thrust in the healthcare industry to reduce medication errors, we integrated electronic prescribing into our Care360 product. The integration of labs and meds in the Care360 physician portal gives physicians critical information when they need it -- and helps improve the quality of care.
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