HIMSS 13: It’s More Than Just the Technology

March 11, 2013
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How many times have we heard someone at places we do business with announce that “we are bringing on a new system…” in a tone that portends imminent doom and the demise of their organization?

How many times have we heard someone at places we do business with announce that “we are bringing on a new system…” in a tone that portends imminent doom and the demise of their organization?

The selection and adoption of new technology is often viewed in the same light as being devoured by alien life forms—sometimes even by those of us whose passions and livelihoods are dedicated to the design and evolution of technology for the greater common good of society. And yet when the implementation of a new IT system is successfully completed, we wonder how we ever survived without this new incarnation and soon become its greatest ambassador.

HIMSS 13 conference Bill ClintonIn a brilliantly delivered presentation on “Trending Health: Using Information Technology to Deliver Clinical Outcomes” during the HIMSS ’13 conference, Dr. Manuel Lowenhaupt discussed how healthcare IT is “foundational to transforming healthcare and essential to leveraging better clinical outcomes.” He described that for many healthcare facilities, the path to deriving the greatest patient benefits from new healthcare IT systems is often a multi-year journey and is about much more than just the latest IT systems.

He went on to say that culture is at the core of such change and very often, the bigger the organization the bigger the challenge. If the culture is one where there is a genuine commitment to keeping care sacred and free from internal politics, then the process has a much higher likelihood of success, and the journey can be one of excitement and continuous learning that sets the stage for significant improvement in how care is delivered. A new healthcare IT system that stands the test of time is only part or the challenge. A culture of “making it easy to do the right thing” can direct people to a common goal that leads to successful adoption.

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Technology's Vital Role in Healthcare Improvements

In his keynote address at HIMSS ’13, President William J. Clinton opened by saying that “healthcare information technology and how we manage it is critical to healthcare in the 21st century.” He provided examples of how his foundation is playing a global role in improving the lives of millions of people around the world. Citing numerous examples of how IT systems can increase access to care, lower costs, and improve the quality and deliver of care, he emphasized that “these are exciting times and it’s what you do that matters.”

What are you doing that will pave the way for successful adoption of new technologies? Is your organization culturally ready for change?