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Un-complicating Healthcare IT

A call to ACTION in 2011!

Feb 14, 2011 6:57:11 PM Posted by Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left behind by those who hustle.”

Image: Carlos Porto/FreeDigitalPhotos

Earlier this week, a friend sent me the above quote from his fortune cookie (I think it’s actually from Abraham Lincoln).

One thing I am noticing now that we are a little over a month past the turn of the calendar is that there is far more significant activity in and among community hospitals. What I mean is that it appears more hospitals are quickly moving from talking about what to do to get their clinical automation projects off the ground to actually taking action in the form of software implementations, shoring up IT infrastructures, recruiting and mentoring those clinical analyst resources, etc.

This is encouraging.

There has been so much talk about Meaningful Use and Health Information Exchanges and Electronic Health Records, it’s been mind boggling. I think each of us could attend no less than 15 webinars per day if we wanted to. The problem with this is, all of this talk gives us the feeling that we are accomplishing something when we aren’t.

From my perspective, 2010 was pretty much all about talk and not enough about action. The Interim Final Rule went into effect in December of 2009, but I really didn’t see that many facilities jumping in the deep end of the IT action pool in 2010 as a result. This isn’t a condemnation, it’s just a recognition of the fact that an entire year went by and little progress has been made. The point is this – none of this talk (the webinars, the e-mails, the reading, the conversations) accomplishes anything tangible unless we produce real on-site, in-hospital ACTION as a result of the talk and the learning. Maybe as a result of all of the talk we are now more aware, but awareness only leads to gross negligence if it isn’t acted upon.

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So what kind of actions should we be taking?

Action today means your staffing approach in IT needs to change to meet current demands. Action today means your IT capital and operating budgets need to increase. Action today means you can’t manage that network infrastructure only when you have time. Action today means you can’t assume that installing software will automatically qualify you for meaningful use. Better yet, action today means we should focus on actually investing the resources and effort to make sure the software, systems and technologies actually produce their intended result and compliance will become second nature.

The Year of Action

So, if 2010 was the year of talk, let’s make 2011 the year of action. No question, going forward in haste can lead to mistakes, but not going forward at all, doesn’t just lead to a dead end, it means you have already arrived at your destination. Is where you are now, where you want to end up? If the answer is no, you need to start putting one foot in front of the other and quickly.

Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

Phil Stravers, Partner and EVP of Strategy & Market Development at ICE Technologies, Inc. has been in consulting and management roles within the information technology industry for over 25 years and has spent more than 20 years helping hospitals and clinics “make IT work better”. Phil has had the opportunity to act as an Interim CIO for numerous hospitals which gives him a unique perspective on their challenges and associated solutions. Phil really enjoys sharing lessons learned and frequently presents at various hospital associations, HIMSS events and healthcare board rooms all over the country. In addition to his passion for improving Health IT, he loves baseball (die hard Cubs fan) and has spent more than 15 years coaching young baseball players. Phil lives in Pella, IA and often shares concepts learned from his background in coaching along with the Dutch farm culture and work ethic that his home town is known for.