Customer Experience and Design

“The Tipping Point” – What one CNO shared with me at HIMSS

Looking back at the last two days of meetings, panels, vendor meetings and sharing I met up with a very close colleague of mine who is one of the brightest CNO’s I have ever met. Mary Jo and I decided to grab a bite to eat and digest what we saw and learned these past two days at HIMSS.

Mary Jo had a ton of stuff to get off her chest, so I ordered a bottle of German Riesling wine (our favorite) and asked her, “So what is on your mind?” Mary Jo took a look at me and said, “Are you sure you want me to share? I’ve got a lot on my mind and after these last two days I am now truly concerned about what we do when we both get back to work…” I poured the wine and got comfortable – and boy was she right, she had a lot on her mind. She started with:

“As we approach revolutionary changes for healthcare policy in the U.S., the industry itself is undergoing complex and confusing changes, many of which involve information systems. The use of IT in medicine has grown in the same way it is growing within the larger cultural landscape: technology is everywhere and though we are not sure what tools may come next, we do know that it is a mainstay. My problem, Steve, is that my nurses and doctors are not prepared to navigate all this change AND take care of their patients!

Information systems in health care practices have not just penetrated the exotic sciences of biotechnology and nanotechnology. The use of database management systems, network-based infrastructures and the significant growth of web-based systems- all paired with recent government legislation- is part of an industry-wide boom that will forever change the landscape of health care practices and administration. We are headed for the Perfect Storm.”

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I began to sense that this was no longer a casual conversation. Mary Jo had just shared some of the most persuasive comments regarding the state of technology in healthcare I had heard in quite a while. I looked at Mary Jo and said, “In which booth did you hear this?” Then I smiled and tried to bring some needed humor to the moment. She was not having of this, and said, “This is serious; we are about to expose our clinicians to all of this technology and we do not have the staffing we need to manage through this maze. We do not have the training dollars or the right methodology for adoption of this innovation onslaught.” As I poured a full glass of wine for Mary Jo, I smiled and said, “I think I have a solution to our conundrum.”

Realizing that I needed to bring some kind of solution to the table, I commented that have seen some very exciting solutions to our situation and asked Mary Jo if she had over the course of the last two days seen what was being done in the area of Web Portal Technology and Customization for healthcare, specifically the hospital-based Provider. Mary Jo took a drink (complementing me on my choice of wine) and said, “Do tell.”

I shared my story with her on what I saw and learned at the show regarding the Oracle and Microsoft customization of Web based Portal technology that allowed access to and use optimization of:

  • Electronic Medical and Health Records (EMR/EHR): With single sign-on and access from anywhere, any time. Currently, approximately 9% of US hospitals and doctors have deployed basic EMR systems, with that number predicted to double in coming years. With Web Portals, hospitals will have greater ability to use these exciting tools any time, from anywhere, by anyone with proper security access – doing more with less.
  • Regulatory and Legislative Trends: Two related and complex regulatory and legal requirements are ICD-10 and HIPAA 5010. These both require a sea of change in how healthcare organizations use technology to manage data. With the advent of Portal customization we can leverage our resources to accommodate these required changes in the delivery of healthcare.
  • The Information Technology-savvy healthcare professional: General healthcare infrastructure Operations Management, that is, how the healthcare system works. This includes managing and implementing successful projects in healthcare environments. The application of healthcare-specific IT management theory and practice needs a venue where anyone, anytime, from anywhere may access this technology and Web Portals accomplish this!

I took a breath, also taking a good healthy drink of wine, and said to Mary Jo, “We have seen and heard some outstanding presentations, spoken to industry experts, and taken away some just in time solutions, one of which is Web based Portal Technology.”

As I took my last sip of wine, I pointed out to Mary Jo that the current environment can be likened to the Titanic and the iceberg: much of what is inevitable is not in plain view, but is known to exist. Failure to plan a comprehensive execution strategy to address the above would come at a very high cost both in resources and revenue.

Therefore, those of us in healthcare management must be positioned to exploit the ensuing chaos and resultant opportunities for smooth sailing through the Perfect Storm and based on what I learned here at HIMSS, the use of Web Portal technology is one of the most powerful tool sets we could implement!

Later that evening, as I finished my last email for the night, I reflected on my sharing session with Mary Jo and realized that I had reached the tipping point in my quest for viable solutions for our clinical staff. When I get back to work, I must take a serious look at this new use of the web.

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