As we all prepare for HIMSS 14, which will be held February 23-27 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, I find myself considering a seemingly paradoxical question. Can you simultaneously have too many technological choices, yet not enough?
The healthcare industry is flooded with devices and equipment that blur the line between reality and science fiction. This ocean of high-tech options can often overwhelm administrators when making purchasing decisions. Some feel as though the task of wading through the spec sheets of new equipment while attending to their day-to- day duties is too daunting while others have a seemingly unquenchable thirst for every new drop of cutting edge technology regardless of its practical utility. This dichotomy is pervasive and disruptive within the healthcare community – and it is unnecessary.
Organizations can develop clear strategies for acquiring e-health tools that successfully meet their own individualized needs if they prioritize patient engagement within their decision making. Administrators routinely recognize patient engagement as an increasingly important component of healthcare delivery, but they sometimes fail to acknowledge the full role their facility’s technology plays within this area. Those on the front lines such as nurses, lab technicians and pharmacists, however, are reminded constantly how the mindful application of technology, no matter how advanced or antiquated, can be a tremendous asset in terms of creating a working environment conducive to effective patient engagement. Dialogues regarding such technological issues between these two stakeholders must be clear and sustained in order to develop an accurate picture of a facility’s true operational efficiencies and shortcomings relative to patient engagement. Only then can a new technology’s potential benefit to a facility be evaluated accurately.
Getting clinical leaders and staff members to be open to this sort of discourse is only a small first step in developing an efficacious technology acquisitions strategy. The results of these internal conversations must be shared with the manufacturing community as a whole so that they may design more potent products. Without this vital input from the field, the makers of new technologies may not fully address certain areas of need, thus limiting technology options in the marketplace and, in turn, creating a vacuum within the overall care at countless facilities.
Given that the entire healthcare supply chain has a vested interest ensuring such vacuums do not exist, there needs to be more open discussions detailing the questions, comments and concerns of practitioners who use technology to improve their patients’ level of engagement. We at Health Management Technology encourage the industry to avoid the “paralysis by analysis” that often occurs in any market that does not communicate within itself and we will work hard to provide a clear and fair forum for such conversations to occur.
I invite you all to stop by our HMT booth at HIMSS (#1875) and tell us how your organization is using technology to enhance patient engagement. You can also sign up for a free subscription to Health Management Technology and participate in TechTrek for a chance to win daily prizes. I look forward to seeing you there.