The HealthIMPACT Southeast event took place in Tampa, FL on January 23, 2015. I served on a panel with John Christly, CISO of Nova SouthEastern University in Broward County, FL were we discussed Top Security Threats/Concerns (of course). HealthImpact was a spirited yet unique event in that most attendees were not IT folks. The few IT members in the audience were CIOs, while the majority of the population was made-up of clinical staff, mostly physicians.
The event aimed at evaluating technologies and their impact on care delivery and organizational performance moving past regulation and into the realm of optimized patient care. As you would expect, conversations centered around mobility, cloud and increasingly drove towards analytics. By the third or four set, in an agenda full of mini discussions, it was clear that despite the virtualization revolution, transition to cloud, adopting ubiquitous endpoint support, that at heart we continue to fail our constituents at the root of their needs. Every healthcare organization I’ve intimately known operates with literally hundreds of line-of-business applications (typically over 300- most still on-prem).
Probably due to the practice of best- of-breed, healthcare brought on what it deemed ‘the best’ products for different services and business units. The vast majority of these applications, if not all, lack any noteworthy interoperability and especially create considerable challenges when attempting to derive meaningful metrics and analytics. Throughout the day, physicians especially echoed frustrations at lacking real-time analytics in order to better diagnose and treat their patients. Major problems such as with sepsis (a severe infection that can lead to death) could be more effectively treated with the aggregation and analysis of simple data elements. Yet due to desperate systems and tools which currently don’t communicate with one another, hospital re-admissions and in-hospital issues and emergencies continue to proliferate.
The potential benefits to patient care and improved outcomes are limitless but despite all our data center modernization and endless cool gadgets, such as being able to control lightbulbs from our smart devices, we lack critical basic data at the patient bedside. This reality has caused a refocusing by some health systems away from ‘best of breed’ solutions to sticking with one or a very small number a vendors that will provide a vast array of clinical solutions. This poses some hardships as well. These ‘something for everyone’ solutions lack the maturity of their ‘best-of-breed’ counterparts and as a result pose challenges and generate dissatisfaction within the staff accustomed to using better solutions and at times simply break a good operational work-flow. Where do we go from here? At least for me, attending HealthImpact has served as a reminder of how truly passionate care givers and physicians are about the calling they’ve chosen. While all are not guilty of this, many in IT need to get their heads out of the sand and realize what we’re here to do. We are here to EMPOWER the organization/institution.
Let’s not continue to throw technology at the problem. I realize this statement is very cliché but I cannot help using what fits best in this situation. We must take a step back and work hand-in-hand with those we aim to serve and ensure we are working towards the same goals, improving patient outcomes which will drive the success of the healthcare system. Let’s listen to our clinicians and physicians, perform whatever realignment and process re-engineering needed, adopt the right technologies and do what we do best– Keep the lights on, and keep it safe! I will always remember an interesting message shared by one of the physician attendees as he got up on stage with a very passionate message about integration and standards– he said: When many believe in something it’s called a culture When some believe in something it’s called a religion When two believe in something it’s called love When one believes in something it’s called psychosis