If your community hospital recently invested a lot of time or money on IT (or is planning to in the near future), you must know how to effectively determine if your investment is paying off and delivering value to patients, clinicians and your organization.
An excellent way to determine clinician value is to measure your hospital technology’s availability, responsiveness and user adoption. Here’s a quick crash course on how to ensure your shiny new IT system is well-oiled and that your drivers aren’t stuck in neutral.
System Availability & Responsiveness
If there’s one IT effectiveness metric your community hospital is probably aware of, it’s system uptime and downtime. When your IT isn’t working or is painfully slow, you notice it.
Deeper insight is gained by looking at login information (how often do users need to log into your HCIS to do their jobs, and how long does it take them), screen to screen performance (how long does it take the screen to refresh and provide users information) and screen efficiency (how many different screens does a clinician need to cycle through to complete a certain review event or order process).
You should also:
Analyze network data packets to determine if infrastructure, servers, workstations or wireless networks are causing delays.
Observe clinicians in action to discover how long user behaviors take, and importantly, how consistent processes are from user to user.
Assess database and server maintenance and management routines, re-indexing scripts to ensure the system performs optimally.
By taking these three actions, you get a more complete sense of your operations, analyze technology performance against user behavior and create an opportunity to improve reliability and the end-user experience.
As a best practice, consider bringing a technician and clinician together to observe workflow inefficiencies alongside technical data flow, identify a root cause and figure out exactly how process and technology impacts your care and business. Looking at your IT from a purely technical standpoint might improve your machines. However, it’s not enough to drive meaningful change and deliver real value across the entire organization.
User Adoption & Satisfaction
Even the best technology in the world fails to deliver its value when users don’t embrace it.
If you’ve invested time and money into IT, the only way to accurately determine ROI is to find out if your clinicians and staff are actually using established systems and processes. Your goal is to incorporate best practices, not workarounds.
For example, if you’re auditing EHR use and discover that medication reconciliation isn’t happening electronically, you know where best practices need to be reinforced or created.
Users see value in systems when technology, protocols and strategy align with your community hospital’s patient care and financial goals.
Once you start measuring your hospital’s IT availability and responsiveness, assess user adoption and figure out if low adoption is the result of misaligned technology or bad processes (usually, it’s a mix of both). From there, start developing a long-term IT plan that gets your technology, people and processes aligned toward a common goal: patient value.
Learn even more ways to measure your IT effectiveness and create a plan for organizational success by reading our whitepaper, Measuring IT Effectiveness: Your Community Hospital’s First Step To Operational Excellence.