A three-pronged plan can carry IT leaders thoughtfully through the integration of several healthcare IT systems. Consolidation in the healthcare industry continues to accelerate: 115 transactions were announced in 2017, the highest number in recent history, according to consulting firm KaufmanHall. This means more healthcare IT executives are facing the data and IT challenges that arise from mergers and acquisitions (M&A).These executives need to find a way to consolidate a complex mix of business and clinical applications such as electronic health records (EHRs), picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), on-premises infrastructure, cloud services and data backup applications. Moreover, they have to do so in a way that delivers the consolidation cost benefits the merger or acquisition was predicated on.Further, IT teams have to do this while dealing with growing volumes and various types of data all of which must be fully protected and stored in compliance with data privacy regulations. On top of this, they need to develop an IT environment that enables the use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies to activate this data for clinical decision support, population healthcare analysis, precision medicine and other strategic healthcare digital transformation initiatives.While these challenges are significant, a strong IT M&A integration plan, in combination with a powerful data platform, can enable healthcare IT executives to chart a path to success. Such a plan should feature three phrases:

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