Imagine if you will, the sight of your boss walking down the hall, bursting into your office and saying, “You know that initiative you’ve been harping to me about for two years? Well, you’ve got the green light. Make it happen by next week!” Welcome to the COVID-19 world of today’s hospital digital executives.
Becker’s Healthcare, one of our industry’s most respected news aggregators, recently conducted interviews with eight leading health system CIOs. The topic: The most dangerous health IT trends in America today. The answers could have been predicted months ago.
- Now more than ever, we’re being asked to do more with less, and at break-neck speed.
- We’re not moving fast enough. We need to embrace cloud computing, AI, big data and new technologies and processes to improve outcomes for patients and make clinicians more productive.
- Security, security, security.
- The integration of clinical data across different sources and from different organizations without a national patient ID is dangerous.
Almost all of those interviewed also talked about telehealth and how years of planning and discussion were put into motion almost overnight. What they didn’t talk about was process.
Within healthcare, we must recognize that no matter how fabulous the technology, if the care teams perceive the technology as a “tripping hazard” within their workflows, they will create work-arounds, which will impede full adoption. Those detours are costly and render the perception that the technology is obtrusive or broken. In today’s change-by-the-minute world, that’s a recipe for disaster.
While technology is often the catalyst for change, we need to recognize that it is only one of the many tools and influences built into the human aspect of delivering healthcare. At its core, clinical decision making, and the delivery of care is in the hands of humans. Humans, who must process, prioritize, and act upon a multitude of information sources disseminated through disparate systems of alerts, alarms, interventions, and communication. Regardless of how amazing the technology, the biggest dependency will always be the human factor. And that goes for patients as well.
Dr. Edgar Chavez (CEO of Universal Community Health Center in Los Angeles) treats underserved communities in California. He says, “one of the biggest challenges we’ve had is to be patient with our patients and become educators as to the benefits of telehealth.” If we don’t, I’d venture to say we’ll see an increase in those patients delaying often-times critical treatment because they don’t or can’t participate in a face-to-face visit.
I recently joined Dr. Chavez in a webinar that brought together those of us in the digital innovation and transformation space. Luma Health, an important player in telehealth and patient engagement solutions, hosted the discussion.
We talked about how the pandemic has forever changed the delivery of care, forcing patients (especially those in underserved communities) to learn and accept technology that may have been totally foreign to them just 6 months ago. We discussed how larger hospitals are trying to reduce the length of stay in hospitals by conducting multi-specialty rounding, using technology with an entire care team to better coordinate a care plan to get patients better, faster. And, we touched on patients asking about remote scheduling and check-ins, providing more access, and improving communications pre and post-visit.
With change, comes opportunity and danger. Understanding where one becomes the other is our challenge in the months and years to come. The Luma Health-sponsored webinar is entitled, Reopening Healthcare Across America. You can see it here.