For community hospitals with small operating margins, clinician time and productivity are at a premium.
Yet, today, clinicians still lose an average of 78 minutes per day to ineffective technology use.
If your hospital's information technology hurts time and productivity, here’s some more bad news: Your patient care and revenue suffer, too.
But, don’t despair. We’re here to help you spot troublesome IT symptoms in your organization, diagnose the problems and, most importantly, treat them.
Symptoms: Signs Of Poor IT
If your hospital’s clinicians are raising the hue and cry over your IT, you already know there’s trouble afoot.
But, to restore lost productivity (and profitability), you must take stock of your surroundings and see exactly where your technology and processes are falling short.
Here’s a short list of things to look for:
- Paper still dominates. Paper-intensive processes dictate most of your workflow after EHR implementation is complete.
- Manual processes abound. Users don’t trust your systems and resort to manual data entry where automation exists, costing you considerable time.
- Duplicate or missing data. Patient, medication and billing information is inaccurate or incomplete, leading to mistakes in patient care and/or billing delays.
- CPOE delegation is the norm. Physicians routinely delegate CPOE to nurses or other staff, slowing down the entry processes and increasing the risk of error.
- Workarounds are commonplace. In general, users are going around your technology and completing tasks based on preference, not protocol.
Do any of these situations sound familiar? If so, your hospital’s technology is likely creating productivity, care and revenue barriers.
Diagnosis: Who (Or What) Is To Blame?
In most cases, these issues can be traced back to people, processes and technology.
People. Frequently, the source of your IT woes isn’t the technology itself, but rather the people using it. If an anti-IT mentality pervades your hospital, the shiniest, most expensive HCIS in the world won’t deliver value. User workarounds are the most common culprit behind poor data and operational delays.
Processes. If your infrastructure and applications don’t align with required workflow, users will find other ways to complete their tasks. Implementing an EHR or any other HCIS for a single purpose – such as meeting compliance requirements or acquiring a new system version – inevitably leads to incongruity between your technology and workflow.
Technology. Sometimes, your technology is actually to blame. If your organization has implemented IT best practices and disciplines but still grapples with slow systems or downtime, your technology might not be performing. Certain vendors may be slow to provide critical updates and fixes, further exasperating the issue.
Treatment: Make Your Technology Valuable
It’s time to reclaim your hospital’s productivity, time and profitability.
First, implement effective hospital IT governance and make it the driver for any IT-related decision moving forward. Effective governance looks like this:
- A leadership team committed to the use of IT as a care and business facilitator
- Technology purchasing and implementation based on a long-term strategy that’s aligned with patient care and business value
- Endorsement of best practices and user adoption at all levels of the organization
Working with an experienced, qualified healthcare technology consultant is the best way to create effective governance and align people, processes and technology with business goals. A non-biased third party can be useful for assessing your IT budget against business needs and making strategic recommendations.
Once you’ve established strong governance, align your technology and workflow by surveying day-to-day operations and eliminating obstacles wherever possible.
By following a physician as he or she works, you’ll learn volumes about the impediments, large and small, that impact productivity and time. Then, you can use IT to drive positive change, producing tangible benefits for clinicians and staff.
Triage Your IT Now
If you recognize red flags and think your hospital’s technology is directly impacting productivity and time, don’t wait until the consequences show up on your balance sheet. Take action today and help your clinicians deliver the best care possible.
Learn how to measure your hospital’s IT effectiveness and create value.