Global Lean Healthcare Network

Global Lean Healthcare Network

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Brad P.

Brad

Have you seen IT functions that are leading the way in their companies to make cross-functional process innovation happen?

Management Consultant in Process Innovation, Partner at FCB Partners

At some leading companies IT developers have migrated from traditional step-by-step software development approaches to using cross-functional teams to make quick, small changes to systems. This new approach has worked very effectively at a team level, and some companies have expanded this approach to their IT organization and engaged their business partners. I see a big opportunity for senior executives to embrace the process innovation successes that are bubbling up from their IT organizations.

Suppose you're a senior executive at a large financial services company such as Nationwide Insurance or ING. Would you look to your information technology organization for ways to improve customer service? Would you ask IT to...

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  • March 16, 2012
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  • Kevin M.

    Kevin

    Kevin M.

    Healthcare Performance Improvement Leader

    Good article. While it's not targeted to health care, it's certainly prevalent that the best performing healthcare organizations understand this and look to IT to lead the way in aggregating data in the most efficient way to positively influence care giver and leadership decision making... ultimately providing better care for the patient.

  • Brad P.

    Brad

    Brad P.

    Management Consultant in Process Innovation, Partner at FCB Partners

    Kevin: Can you share any examples of IT leaders in healthcare? In my experience, hospitals are hyper-invested in clinical medical technology, but under-invest (relative to other industries) in IT. There seem to be particularly huge missed opportunities in managing the information flow at handoffs -- what I guess electronic medical records are meant to address.

  • Kevin M.

    Kevin

    Kevin M.

    Healthcare Performance Improvement Leader

    Yes. I am a contributing author of a book just released (published by HIMSS) entitled "Rethinking Return on Investment - The Challenge of Accountable Meaningful Use," that speaks to this topic exactly. I don't believe hospitals under-invest in IT - it is the largest industry in the US at ~18% of GDP and according to Peter Drucker "the most complex business on the planet." Electronic Medical Records (EMR) will have a profound positive change on healthcare because it will improve the handoffs as you mention, but the transition we are going through now is painful as we all try to optimize the system.

  • Brad P.

    Brad

    Brad P.

    Management Consultant in Process Innovation, Partner at FCB Partners

    Kevin: Can you share examples of how electronic medical records have made profound positive process changes? Is this seen as an instance where IT is driving big process innovation that will ultimately reduce healthcare costs, or as a big expense that will only help a bit with administration?

  • Kevin M.

    Kevin

    Kevin M.

    Healthcare Performance Improvement Leader

    Yes - any patient that has multiple conditions, or takes multiple medications, or needs a "long time" to fill out all of the typical medical paperwork when arriving at an ED or physician office for the first time will benefit. The clinicians are relying on the patient to get most (if not all) of the information correct (keep in mind the 86 yr old who is on 12 medications will not remember the name of each, much less the dosage, etc). So the medical staff need to contact the PCP or other care givers to have medical records faxed (yes, businesses still use the fax) or scanned over. Then the caregivers need to search the medical records to find the relevant information... and try to read and decipher it correctly. This is all wasted time, because information is available but not in the right format. With an EMR/EHR, this information becomes instantly available - the ED physician can know all of the exact medications and dosages, they can see the relevant history of the patient and therefore make the best clinical decisions to care for the patient. On top of that, the physician can use clinical decision support criteria to know with certainty the best practices and most recent studies completed for any care given. This will drastically reduce "defensive" medicine because physicians are making decisions with much more knowledge about the patient and illness. However, the inter-connectivity of the systems is 5+ yrs out for most communities, but we're moving in that direction. In short, EMR/EHR eliminates information silos which prohibits sound decision-making in any environment.

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