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Un-complicating Healthcare IT

The Importance Of Having Human Touch In Healthcare Technology Today

Sep 8, 2016 4:00:00 PM Posted by Phil Stravers | Partner, V.P. Strategy & Development

Cerner CommunityWorks Nebraska Rural Collaboration Event

Untitled-1.pngAbout a week ago, ICE had the opportunity to participate in a collaboration event that was put on by Cerner in Kearney, Nebraska. The concept behind the event was to bring some of the rural Nebraska hospitals together to learn about the latest and greatest from Cerner CommunityWorks, but also to facilitate some collaboration among the attendees. In addition, Todd Searls, from WideRiver (formerly the NE Rural Extension Center) presented some information about the pending final rule for the next stage of Meaningful Use, MACRA (Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act) and MIPS (Merit-Based Incentive Payment System).

I thought it was a great event for those who attended to get a picture of what Cerner is working on and be able to share challenges, ideas and strategies for success. It’s always surprising to me how much collaboration happens when a group of people get around a table together and maybe even share a meal or two.

Remember, Healthcare Is A Human Touch Business

Having said that, and by including this Dilbert cartoon you might think that I am pessimistic about leveraging technology for collaboration. Not true at all. ICE provides IT Services all over the country to healthcare organizations and some of those organizations are very rural and remote. Technology tools for collaboration, management and support are critical to our ability to deliver services effectively and economically, and we continue to identify new and better ways to use technology tools for that purpose.

However, the cartoon makes an important point, which ties me back to the event last week. Healthcare is a human touch business. It’s about personal care, trust and compassion; so we have to be careful that we don’t remove those things when we implement technology.  

There’s No Collaboration Without Human Touch

Collaboration takes on many forms. The patient, family, physician, nurse and technician communication loop for the patient’s health are all an example of collaboration. Events, like the Cerner meeting last week, are a completely different form of collaboration. ICE’s video conferencing, remote administration tools and fractional expert FTE’s for IT Services is another. In all of these cases, we have to remember that human touch is still at the center of effective collaboration.

One of the greatest advantages rural and community healthcare providers have to gain over the rest of the healthcare world is to maintain the personal touch while utilizing collaborative solutions to meet the ever increasing demands of the industry. Cerner’s Community Works solution is a bit of a step in the direction of collaborative computing. However, there is much more opportunity to expand on that concept.

Preserving Human Touch In A Technological World

ICE has been in the business of providing collaborative IT solutions for years. Our entire premise has been to provide the fractional expertise you need where and when you need it; and our focus on the community and rural market allows us to do so in a way that respects your need to be the organization that doesn’t lose that sense of “touch.”

We are constantly striving to find new and innovative ways to create collaborative solutions for our clients that preserve that human touch in an efficient and effective way. If you have ideas or would like to explore that concept further, leave a comment or drop me a line. I would love to collaborate with you!


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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.