Sunday, February 04, 2007

Promising Trends in Health Care

I'm noticing a major cultural shift occuring in my health care organization.

Doctors, in general, tend to be very independent creatures. They work the way they want to work. More functional departments work together, but still stay within their own little specialty fiefdoms. "We're different" is the cry I have heard with every single Electronic Medical Record implementation and change management project I've been on since I started doing this 5 years ago.

The walls are breaking down.

Why now?

I suspect the docs see the advantage to seeing each other's notes. Reduced duplicate tests, a more comprehensive picture of the patient, better quality of care, greater patient safety, happier patients.

More crassly, I think the docs are finally realizing that electronic health records, computerized physician order entry, etc. are not going away. Insurance companies are threatening that if they don't adopt these technologies, they won't get paid. Money is very persuasive...

For the more recalcitrant, I think the CEO and Chief Medical Officer have sent down the command "Work together or else....." These guys are on contract so this threat is not idle....

Those of us who have been in the health care industry awhile are happily shocked at this turn of events.

I only write about it because this "working together" thing seems to be sticking.

Between more time and the fact that the clinicians seem to now want to drive this IT project - I think we have a fighting chance of succeeding with the upgrade.

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