Don’t Automate Your Paper Processes to Achieve Meaningful Use!

My last post explained how the system in healthcare IT was flawed and how it was important for buyers of healthcare IT systems to understand the limitations of the system in order to achieve the results they expect from the system.

I posted that vendors are optimized around getting customers to commit to transactions where customers need optimized workflow, maximized adoption and flexible applications and technologies.   If you are following along with this line of thinking, you will then understand that vendors are not well positioned to ensure that their customers are implementing their systems effectively.  It is a shame, because you would expect that vendors should be the most qualified to optimized their product.

Oh contraire, because vendors spend so much of the licensing and maintenance fees on their sales team, they are not well equipped to perform well on the implementation (and maintenance) sides of their companies.  So, what do they do?  Generally, they will send their implementation team to understand your current processes so that they can model the same processes in their system!  Their standard approach is to put the rocket on the dog.  This is the worst possible scenario.  Why would anyone pay $1M, $10M or even $20M to do things the exact same way?  As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is defined as doing things the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

So what is a buyer to do?  Here is what my teams have done to ensure that our clients consistently achieve their intended results from systems implementations:

  1. Recognize that the vendor is not the best resource for optimizing your workflow and maximizing adoption and take ownership for both of these (a great role for your vendor is to provide subject matter expertise on the functionality of their products)
  2. Make sure your intended results are gathered, documented and measured regularly;
    1. Hold your vendors and your consultants accountable (via payment terms) to business results in addition to meeting milestones
    2. Establish a project outcome dashboard at project initiation and report the results regularly;
    3. Hold leadership (both IT and Clinical or Administrative) accountable for the results
  3. Follow my unique and proprietary vendor selection approach that puts less focus on the sales team from the vendor and more focus on the “delivery team”.   Please contact me if you would like more information on this.
  4. Use concepts such as Lean to design optimized workflow taking full advantage of the new system’s capabilities
  5. Develop a “marketing-like” approach to adoption that includes great communication, education, and hand’s-on support during and after go-live;  Tier levels of communication, education and support based on expected use of the system
  6. Supplement your implementation team with people that have implemented the system MANY times in several different types of environments so that you get a team that does not have a “one-size fits all” approach.
  7. Ensure that you incorporate a proof of concept phase in your implementation so that you can see the vendor’s product work in your environment with your data and all your other constraints
  8. Compress your implementation timeframe as much as possible;  Multiple year efforts are sometimes necessary but not optimal;  it is very hard for any organization to keep focus on a large scale change initiative for over 12 months.

Feel free to contact me if you are this all sounds good but you are having difficulty getting it going at your organization.  I would be happy to brainstorm with you.

PLEASE do not put a rocket on your dog!

About the author


Joe Lavelle

Joe Lavelle is the Co-Founder of intrepidNow. Prior to that Joe was an accomplished healthcare IT executive and career coach with a record of successfully meeting the business and technology challenges of diverse organizations including health plans, health delivery networks, health care companies, and several Fortune 500 companies.

Joe is also the author of Act As If It Were Impossible To Fail, available on Amazon.