Ever since I wrote my post about the Old Boys Club of Healthcare IT, I’ve been meaning to write a follow up piece about healthcare pros learning IT. In fact, many of the following comments came from or were inspired by discussion with Tom Roberts. So, let’s give him credit where credit is due.
The discussion of whether to only hire someone with healthcare experience and no IT experience versus someone with IT experience and no healthcare experience is a complicated one. Let me provide some quotes that will hopefully cause some hospital CIO’s and other senior level IT management to pause and think about their hiring choice.
First a few quotes that could apply to the idea of being multi-disciplinary:
“One thing we know about creativity is that it typically occurs when people who have mastered two or more quite different fields use the framework in one to think afresh about the other.”
— Marc Tucker, pres. National Center on Education and Economy
“We begin where others leave off” George Szell
I think one thing that’s generally been missing from healthcare IT has been people with an outside framework that can apply afresh that framework to healthcare. It’s amazing what fresh eyes can do to help find creative solutions. Funny thing is that in hindsight they don’t seem that creative, but we’re so blinded by tradition that we can’t see even simple creativity.
This next story is one that will strike many at the heart.
I know of an RN who had quite a bit of IT background that was working for one of the early adopter hospitals. One day he put a set of scrubs on his managers desk. When the manager asked what they were for he said ‘ I thought you might want to give them to one of your IT guys and we’ll give him an assignment on the floor today. The manager said ‘what? Are you crazy’ ? To which he replied ‘ well you just gave IT analyst positions to some RNs here!’
The reality is that learning has to take place in both directions. Someone who can cross the chasm is unique, but it is doable and will be needed in the future. Instead of only hiring those with healthcare experience or only those with healthcare and IT experience, we should consider creating processes that allow you to hire either side of the chasm and provide a bridge for those people to learn both sides.