To maximize funding for the adoption of a health information technology (HIT) project, a simple formula should be followed, according to Michael Christopher, development analyst, Healthcare IT Transition Group.
The study meet case process “is the overarching strategy to acquiring external funding for IT projects, health IT projects in particular,” Christopher said during an audio Webcast, “How To Get Funding and Support For Your Healthcare IT Projects” presented by the Health Grants Information Center.
To begin, an internal study should be completed to determine what type of project your organization will take on.
Internally, this will allow your organization to objectify the need and pinpoint what areas are in need of improvement.
“Model the existing reality based on the processes you had in place. Then you simulate that model until you are familiar with it and then you discover the weaknesses, the bottlenecks, the ceilings, the waste, etc. Then you model a proposed reality, you look at that model and what you’d have to tweak,” said Christopher, a chief technology officer.
“You run your model again and see what you can do to widen the bottlenecks, eliminate the ceilings, the waste, etc. And then of course the final step in the process is to compare the existing with the proposed reality and see what the cost differential is getting from A to B,” he continued.
Once the needs are highlighted then the solution can be created by identifying the resources necessary to overcome the challenges.
“Now you take that internal model and you turn it into some language that you will begin talking to potential grant makers,” Christopher said.
The internal study will not only objectify the need, but will also prepare your feasibility study to determine what resources can be accessed and how the project should be designed to fit in with funders’ goals and objectives.
Christopher suggested talking with governmental offices at the local and state level as well as private philanthropists.
“You’ll want to interview them and tell them you’re looking for external funding but most of all you’re asking for their guidance about the project – Is this the project that we need in this particular community at this time? Is this the best way to meet these objectives? – You’re going to ask for guidance because they’re going to know about strategic initiatives and some shading on those strategic initiatives, health initiatives in our region.
“You want an understanding of those initiatives in your area that matches quite perfectly with the understanding of the funding committee,” Christopher pointed out.
“The real trick here is if there is a deep, dark secret, in how to fund health IT projects, it’s that there are health IT regional initiatives out there and there will [be] more of those kind of projects, so it’s a matter of getting involved with those initiatives, getting to understand them, borrowing their language, mapping your project to their accountability, needs, review and structures. And thereby getting their endorsement for your project,” he revealed.
After determining what the community needs are and what health IT initiatives may be in place, then your project should have the final mold to appeal to funders.
The feasibility study also begins the recruitment of support.
“Approaching grant makers is really about asking for their guidance first. The money request comes later; of course they always know what the discourse is going to be about. You need their involvement on that personal level, you need that connection and I’m talking in particular here about private funding resources,” he suggested to apply to private funders rather than government agencies to quicken the cash flow and to protect future funds.
“You engage the players in this process, potential funders by actually having them help you write this [proposal]. They become the keepers of the case. They have ownership in your project,” which could result in greater funds over time Christopher explained.
“Finding and closing those deals is about talking to those new friends, learning about the programs within their organizations, and opportunities that they know of outside their organization, maybe another foundation within their network, and of course getting introductions and endorsements leading to mobilizing that case for support and getting actual cash from it,” he continued.
“If there’s a best-kept secret, it’s that where the money is going to go is where other people wanted it to go long before your project ever came along. The best strategy of course is to find out where that is and be there to take that money, so you have to adjust your project sometimes to these initiatives as you begin to go through the process of looking at federal programs that are available you’re going to see that that’s not true there as well,” Christopher concluded.
Editor’s Note: A CD-ROM recording of the speaker presentations and all conference materials for “How To Get Funding and Support For Your Healthcare IT Projects” is now available to order online or by calling toll free (800) 516-4343.
For more information visit:
Address: Health Grants Information Center, Health Resources Publishing, 1913 Atlantic Ave., Ste. 200, Manasquan, NJ 08736; (732) 292-1100, www.healthresourcesonline.com.