Barely a week goes by without seeing a new report detailing physicians’ dissatisfaction with their hospitals’ IT systems. EHRs are the #1 target. The good news is that a well-managed EHR implementation improves clinical processes and provides the right clinical data at the right time — and can even result in thumbs-up evaluations by clinical staff. In HealthcareITNews’ most recent survey on EHR satisfaction, users reported fewer complaints and more positive responses than ever before, but with a wish list that is directly related to how well initial implementations are conducted. The critical nature of an EHR implementation prompted us to publish a special downloadable EHR implementation guide that shares time-tested procedures for managing an EHR implementation that includes strong collaboration with user staff from day one.
IT outsourcing is literally a very “big deal” for hospitals: it represents a significant multi-year financial investment, potentially great benefits — and certain risks. Managing an IT outsourcing contract diligently and sensitively from day one is essential both to the success of your partnership and your hospital.
Let’s say your hospital like many is considering the potential value of outsourcing its IT department or several IT functions. Or, you’ve already signed a contract with an outsourcing partner and may be replacing an unsatisfactory vendor. But don’t think a full takeover should occur as soon as the ink is drying. The partnership’s success requires a well-planned and orchestrated transition phase. Outsourcing partnerships affect many hospital systems, processes and people — even data security. A well-executed transition-in will protect against disruption and loss of existing efficiencies and will enable the opposite: smooth change, enthusiastic buy-in and early wins that pave the way for long-term successes. Learn about four critical steps that will set the stage.
By any measure, superior IT departments with highly specialized staff have become an essential factor in the success of today’s healthcare industry. Across several recent surveys of hospital leaders, all have reported operational priorities that include, indeed require, a strong IT component. Three years ago, employment of HIT professionals was predicted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow more than 15% from 2014 to 2024, and that prediction remains on track. But the IT workforce pool is not keeping up, and today’s healthcare IT labor shortage has become a huge and even debilitating challenge for hospitals. Over half of the hospital IT leaders responding to HIMSS’ 2018 Leadership and Workforce Survey claimed their organization either scaled back or placed an IT initiative on hold in the last year due to a workforce challenge.
Any HR Director will tell you it is very difficult to recruit skilled HIT staff, and as pressure continues to fill specialized positions for critical projects, hospitals’ most skilled team members are often recruited away by other hospitals and IT vendors. How can this frustrating demand vs. supply situation be mitigated? Read on for our recommendations.
Straight-shooting, tough, provocative and discerning. That’s you. These words should describe your M.O. when vetting any firm or individual your hospital is considering for an HIT consulting engagement.
Consulting is big business, which could mean a big investment — or a big waste of money and time. We’ve put together a a list of ten indispensable questions and other words of advice that will help you ensure a sound vetting process before you sign on the dotted line.
Sad but true. We all love our laptops, the technology sidekicks that we use for seemingly everything, and tweak with our own idiosyncratic brands of organization, file names and passwords. So, handing over a suddenly uncooperative or erratic laptop to your hospital’s IT staff for repairs — whether physically or through remote intervention — can be unnerving and for some of us, close to panic producing.
Why such apprehension? Because we’ve all had bad experiences with PC support. We know something insidious is going on inside that laptop, but we don’t want an outsider to muck it up even more — or put us through frustrating days of confusion and non-productivity. Such experiences are unnecessary. If your hospital’s users are reluctant to use the IT department’s PC support team, than it needs to up its game. And it easily can.
Healthcare IT staffing shortages have become a huge challenge for hospitals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare IT jobs will increase 15% to 37% by 2020. It has become very difficult to recruit skilled IT personnel, and as pressure continues across the industry to fill positions for critical projects, hospitals’ most skilled team members are often being recruited away by other hospitals and industries.
This extreme job expansion is a direct result of the healthcare industry’s ever-increasing use of electronic health records, data analytics and new technologies, as well as worsening security risks and changing compliance initiatives. So how can this frustrating demand vs. supply situation be mitigated? Maybe a staffing analysis is in order — an assessment of your current overall IT staffing needs, using a “blank slate” approach that drops the needs assumptions under which your hospital has been operating perhaps for years. Read on for a recommended assessment approach that could result in major labor cost savings and talent availability. (more…)
With so many IT initiatives on your organization’s plate today, the IT department must be performing at its peak potential. Every hospital IT shop goes through ups and downs — the latter often due to unanticipated changes, new expectations, over-taxed staff or other circumstances that can spiral it into a breakdown, if not caught quickly enough. Your executive team must be sure that the hospital’s IT infrastructure, operations and projects are under top-notch, sustainable control, and that the hospital is getting the best return on every dollar invested.
How do you know when it’s time for such a review? See Part 1 where we explored our first five potential tipping points when hospitals are in greatest need of an objective IT assessment. Read on for the second five…
(PART 1 OF A 2-PART SERIES)
For healthcare executives, there are three realities about the proliferation of IT within their hospitals that should command attention. The first is that without well-managed IT systems, any hospital today would be challenged to deliver quality patient care. Second, any hospital without IT would be virtually unable to generate claims to get paid for its services. Third, despite IT’s central role in hospitals, it seems to live in a separate world, with its own unique demands, timelines, skill sets, and vocabulary — making its activities and performance levels difficult for laymen to understand. This combination makes for a potential perfect storm when the right (or wrong) conditions occur within a hospital.
Today, your IT shop must be performing up to its potential, and your executive team must be sure it is getting the best return on every dollar invested. The team must be able to understand and evaluate IT performance — without geek-talk, internal bias or fuzzy answers that cause heads to shake. This calls for an objective, highly methodical and thorough assessment by a qualified independent professional. How do you know when it’s time for such a review? Every hospital goes through internal transitions or circumstances that should be recognized as strong smoke signals. This 2-part series explores potential tipping points when hospitals are in greatest need of an objective IT assessment.
Many EHR components were developed as early as 30 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the federal Meaningful Use incentive program precipitated wide-spread implementation of robust EHRs across healthcare. If the EHRs themselves are young, interoperability is still in its infancy. A large majority of acute care hospitals and other providers now have an HHS-certified EHR, providing the needed critical mass to make interoperability even possible. But many barriers remain, not the least of which is a lack of standardized patient identification. Many industry leaders agree that achieving interoperability is one reason why it is time to move to a national patient identifier — but not the only reason.
Let’s face it, for providers, the Meaningful Use (MU) stage 2 requirements related to patient portals are not exactly onerous.
With minor variations, providers are required to make health information available to half their patients within four days of a visit, and either one patient (2015 – 2016 reporting period) or more than five percent of patients (2017 reporting) need to view, download or transmit that information to a third party.
But this is just the foundation for more extensive electronic communications between patient and provider—a tiny seedling that will hopefully blossom into a collaborative relationship. Right? So, what functionalities should patient portal tools have beyond these federal stipulations?