Passion leads to progress

Cycles of change follow predictable paths, often expressed with phrases like, “forming, storming, norming and performing.” We are squarely in the storming phase for healthcare reform implementation and its a good thing.

The level of passion is remarkable. As a member of the LinkedIn Group Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, AKA HIMSS, I’ve watched the post, “Top ten reasons why EMR/EHR implementations are failing” draw 2,542 responses as of the time of this writing. The responses run the range of medical doctors insistent that electronic records could never capture the “nuances” of patient health, to vendors blatantly promoting their products and approaches. There is cynicism, opportunism and a few other ‘isms as well.


This passion is a great sign of how ready we are to tackle these issues. If it were ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ with deadlines approaching, that would be a concern. The level of emotion is the best indication that we’re going through a painful change that can result in a much better way to manage healthcare in the US. With so much at stake, it has to be this way. Transformation can’t happen without passion as its engine and motivated leaders as the driver.


According to the HIMSS Enabling Healthcare Reform Using Information Technology  report that was issued in May 2009, there are two IT-related themes for healthcare reform:

  • Provide a solid infrastructure for health IT that harnesses strong federal leadership and the standardized electronic exchange of health information; and
  • Apply health IT as a means of increasing consumer and provider access to healthcare services and information, optimizing the efficiency fo care payments, and protecting the privacy and security of health information.

These are noble goals that it would seem everyone can support. The problem arrives in the ‘how’ of it all. No one solution has arrived to dominate the scene, and that’s not surprising considering where system development has been headed over the past couple of years. Monolithic systems are out. The new themes are light, flexible and adaptable.

  • Leave what you have in place and don’t create unnecessary risk. Replacement = risk.
  • Leverage the systems you have as part of the solution. Add capabilities where necessary.
  • Layer other technologies on and around existing systems. Social is a great example.
There are so many technologies that are ideally suited to these approaches, including business rules, complex event processing, social media, cloud, mobile and layering BPM above the transactional layer. All of these approaches support light, flexible and adaptable.

This is the formula for transformation that minimizes the risk, maximizes the reward and keeps the cost as low as possible. The three L’s are the pattern that is powering development at Apple and other very successful technology companies, and the same principles apply within technology consumers as well. With technology moving so fast, this approach allows for the most flexibility without being on the bleeding edge. That sounds like a good spot to be.


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Categories: Healthcare, Mobility, Social / Collaboration, Strategy

Author:Chris Taylor

Reimagining the way work is done through big data, analytics, and event processing. There's no end to what we can change and improve. I wear myself out...

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