By Dan Dillman, A2U CEO
The digital transformation—computerizing health records and processes – has promised to make care better, easier, more efficient.
In many industries, it has simplified tasks, but IT doesn’t always get a good rap in healthcare.
A 2016 study from the American Medical Association found that physicians spent about two hours doing computer work for every hour spent face-to-face with a patient. This points to not having the right tools and infrastructure in place, costing clinicians time, hospitals money and patients satisfaction.
Technologies should optimize, not complicate, clinicians’ ability to provide faster, personalized, quality care.
We’ve got to close the gap between IT and improved care. And, we have to start realizing that we work in healthcare first and IT second.
To deliver better care through IT, it starts with being clinician-centric. In order to reduce wait times, improve care coordination and increase overall patient satisfaction – IT personnel must really get their arms around the clinical workflow.
Far too often, we tend to design technology primarily with patients in mind (not those using it). In IT, we often sit behind computer screens all day creating systems and tools from an informed, technical perspective aiming to theoretically improve patient care. Yet, sometimes we lack the true knowledge of what a day-in-the-life looks like for a clinician.
As an industry, we have to shift the paradigm from idealistic to realistic by shaping technology with the user – primarily the clinician – in mind. So, how do we do it?
First, get out of the ivory tower. Yes, this means leave the IT department and literally walk down the hall and find clinicians on the job. Watch what they do and how they do it. See what steps you can simplify and areas that you can make more efficient.
By putting ourselves in the shoes of doctors and nurses, IT personnel can begin to understand everything a patient’s visit entails and the unique nuances of clinicians’ jobs.
Next, talk to your doctor/s (that’s probably not the first time you’ve heard this piece of advice). It’s critical to involve clinicians in the planning phases of IT development and adoption – don’t pull the trigger on a new application or shiny new tool before engaging them. This not only ensures effective application of the technologies but also secures buy-in.
In healthcare IT, the bottom line is this: we cannot create the best possible healthcare experience for patients until we talk to clinicians. To be patient-focused, we have to be clinician-focused. And when CTOs commit to this approach – then patients, clinical staff and IT personnel – together – will reap the benefits.