Enabling success: The importance of IT infrastructure

By: Zahoor Elahi, Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Management, Optum

This is the 3rd blog of our eight part series “Bending the Cost Curve with Comprehensive Sourcing.”

What are payer stakeholders focusing on to achieve significant cost savings? The Everest research identified several imperatives, which likely resonate with your executive leadership team:

  • Focus on cost containment as the key lever to combat regulatory uncertainty.
  • Keep existing operations compliant.
  • Carefully pursue growth initiatives that align with the evolving regulatory climate.
  • Grow enrollment numbers and per-member revenue through value-added services.
  • Drive breakthrough cost savings by addressing both operational and medical costs.
  • Develop personalized products (beyond just insurance coverage) driven by member preferences and medical history.
  • Introduce technology to enable omni-channel consumer engagement and underlying operational efficiency.

Regardless of what each stakeholder’s imperatives are, however, all are enabled by technology infrastructure. We often see payers eager to build that “15th floor” with no foundational support. In terms of total cost of ownership, that means seeking cloud-based cost efficiencies without the technological architecture to intelligently access all your data insights. (Imagine downloading a movie to your tablet using a dial-up connection.)

Do you have the right infrastructure to support your imperatives?

It can be tempting to look beyond the “how” when setting objectives that are driven by technology. Here are three key questions to help determine if your current infrastructure can support your organization’s vision:

  1. How easy is it to pull data out of the cloud? For example, can you mine your population health stats to make them personal and actionable to an individual member? If not, you just have a data warehouse.
  2. How flexible is your architecture to take on new applications and demands?
  3. And how sophisticated is your technology team to support those applications and demands?

The longer the delay the wider the gap

There is a window right now for payers to get their technology infrastructure up to speed.  Beyond it, payers that are prepared will have the runway to grow and thrive. Regrettably, those that have not prepared their infrastructure cannot hope to effectively compete with those that have.

Moving forward, virtually every business decision will be based on the power of your analytics engine. Value-based medicine depends on it. Total cost of ownership strategies demand it. Optum partners with payers like you to provide the solutions and guidance to unlock your ideal cost-saving value drivers — using your technology or ours.

Learn more in this blog series and the resources below.



Read the Everest White Paper

Addressing Payer Costs through a Comprehensive Model: A Blueprint for Achieving Breakthrough Cost Savings

Watch Jimit Arora, Partner, Everest Group

Identifying the Most Optimal Sourcing Model from a TCO Perspective

View the Everest Infographic

Payers Can Save Up to 7x More through a Comprehensive Model

Connect with Optum to modernize your health care ecosystem


Catch up now on the articles you’ve missed in our “Bending the Cost Curve with Comprehensive Sourcing” series:

Part 1: A case for thinking big: Driving breakthrough cost savings 

Part 2: Beyond the back office: Why medical cost is so often overlooked

Part 3: Enabling success: The importance of IT infrastructure

Part 4: Beyond BPO: The next evolution to yield greater cost savings

Part 5: Reducing Total Cost of Ownership: Business intelligence is the differentiator

Part 6: Barriers to best-in-class: The case for articulating your full value

Part 7: Gaining traction: How to discuss comprehensive sourcing with stakeholders

Part 8: Achieve breakthrough cost savings: Five first steps


About the Author:

Zahoor Elahi, Senior Vice President, Strategic Product Management, Optum

Zahoor Elahi develops the company’s transformative, end-to-end health care IT and business process solutions. In his role, Zahoor leads thought leadership, ideation and product development using informed market- and client-centric strategic information and technology roadmaps. He is also responsible for ensuring the full suite of Optum products and solutions are optimized to maximize client value in the changing health care ecosystem.

Leave a Reply