A young african american doctor works on hud

How health organizations can use ecosystems to break down silos

Surmounting silos in health care demands collaboration as much as innovation.

In brief
  • Identifying key players fosters collaboration at the onset of the ecosystem building phase.
  • The benefits that an ecosystem approach offers one department can often be replicated in others.
  • Innovation, when applied appropriately, leads to better care and improved patient outcomes.

Innovation and health care go hand in hand. From finding cures to improving the quality of care, today’s health care leaders are pushing the industry toward a healthier future. And patients, providers and communities all stand to benefit from better health outcomes.

But the industry is rife with silos, which stifle progress.

The antidote? Ecosystems.

Specifically, ecosystems – underpinned by supporting technology, systems and processes – bring together the strengths of multiple organizations to create more value than they could generate alone. An ecosystem approach is suited to meet the needs of health care organizations struggling with systematized silos.

In siloed environments, we often see organizations with disconnected, disparate technology accumulated over decades of growth. These systems don’t play nicely together, creating frustrating experiences for customers and employees. Or, if they do play nicely enough, they’re not optimized, letting opportunity languish on the table.

Ecosystems: infrastructure for innovation

In industries like health care, growth by acquisition is a useful and popular part of an overall strategy. If this type of growth strategy isn’t implemented with an ecosystem mindset, intended benefits of the deal could get lost in unintended inefficiencies and create more silos.


But something else I see with regularity is altogether more positive: ecosystems. In nature and in business, ecosystems bring bespoke benefits that can mete out desired organizational results. The way ecosystems do this is by aligning key players.


When I think about the success that ecosystems engender, I recall one client in particular, a widely respected regional health system. They had experienced significant growth through acquisitions. When they decided it was time to sink their silos, the EY team was ready to orchestrate an ecosystem that would foster connection throughout their organization.


The client wanted to position their digital infrastructure for innovation. To achieve this, they needed to establish a cohesive technology environment across their systems.


Instead of disconnected data sets, patients and providers alike would benefit from efficient access to integrated communications and information. But their commitment meant that they needed to find an adept and agile collaborator, preferably one with the technological prowess and business acumen to fully adapt — and mobilize — a solution.

EY-Microsoft Alliance

EY and Microsoft generate long-term value by unlocking the power of data and combining business ingenuity, industry expertise and intelligent technology, like Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.

A system integrator that sets you apart

It was the EY team’s genuine relationship and deep capabilities with Microsoft that enabled us to help the client unlock their potential and showcase the power of ecosystems as a differentiator. The EY team demonstrated their vast understanding of the health care industry, along with the future outlook of the digital health landscape. More importantly, they illustrated how such meaningful knowledge could be used to orchestrate a change-making client ecosystem.

Ecosystem insight is a health care game changer

Particularly in health care, in which departments can function so very differently, ecosystems can be exponentially beneficial across an organization. Adopting an ecosystem mindset focused on driving collaborative value can engender a more cohesive business. This can eliminate silos, which increases communication and helps to replicate progress made in one department to others.

This approach allowed EY to gain a fuller picture of the client’s concerns and enabled them to bring together a team uniquely positioned to address the pervasive challenges of change management and transformative thinking. This was strengthened by the EY team’s deep industry experience and technology capabilities.

Thanks to the EY team’s know-how, they could best orchestrate and configure Microsoft’s technological capabilities, like the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, which factors in industry-relevant compliance, security and interoperability standards.

The strength of the EY-Microsoft alliance and powerful communication technology helped convey the benefits of the ecosystem approach to client stakeholders at key touch points — from the C-suite to the exam room. This can lead to new opportunities and efficiencies for our client for years to come.

The power of EY-orchestrated ecosystems: proving greater than the sum of our parts

I feel certain in the belief that the future of health care is the future of humanity.

But silos, along with the distance within and among departments, can stand in the way of a better future. By applying an ecosystem approach, the health care industry — every industry for that matter — can surmount obstacles and move closer to a brighter tomorrow.


By applying an ecosystem approach, health care can move beyond silos and propel organizational and patient health forward.

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