Scalpel vs. Machete

Scalpel vs. Machete

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How do you Attack your Healthcare Technology Needs?

When it comes to Healthcare Information Technology there can often be more possibilities than there are real solutions. I have worked with a variety of hospital and physician groups and the complaint is always the same; they are all left with feeling as though they are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

On any given day a physician can be approached by a variety of technology vendors promising technology solutions that are sure to meet their every need. From EMRs to Social Media, there are more potential solutions than there are answers. Each vendor promising something different…each one assuring you that their tool is the best, can do the most, and is the most affordable. Let’s face it, all of us have purchased a technology solution that over-promised and under-delivered.

With so many solutions available and a booming Health IT community, how do you fight through the weeds to find the solution that is right for you?

Below are some simple rules to help you navigate safely through the woods:

  1. Understand available solutions in any given area. If you are looking for an EMR tool, know what is out there. Will you have to work within an existing workflow or are there open source solutions available that will allow you to customize fully a solution that will be fit to your specific needs?

  2. Understand your vendors and their relationships to other vendors/software tools. Some vendors may not play well with other tools. Following our EMR example, many vendors like to use only their applications to meet all of your needs. However, if you work for a major hospital organization with many different locations statewide, this may not be realistic. So be sure that you select a vendor that works well with other vendors in the same arena. I promise, this does exist!

  3. Understand your limitations. What FDA approval requirements exist? If we continue with the EMR example, is the tool you are selecting compatible with other vendor EMR solutions you may have within your hospital organization?

  4. Understand compatibility with portable devices. In today’s world of iPads and smartphones, it is important that you select a tool that offers compatibility options.

  5. Understand Image and Data formatting and limitations. What type of quality do you need for your images? Will data be accessed remotely? What potential pitfalls or security risks exist?

  6. Seek professional assistance. When you are feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are companies out there that specialize in understanding Health IT solutions and have zero (you heard me right…zero) vendor affiliations. Work with a vendor neutral consultant to find and implement the right solution for your team.

With so many solutions available and the possibilities ever growing, Healthcare Information Systems can be a fun, yet sometimes overwhelming, area for many. Just remember, if you enter in prepared and armed with knowledge, anything is possible.

~Michelle Burton