We all know that Physician Burnout is a big problem in healthcare. Not only is it impacting physicians, but that has a trickle down effect on patient experience as well. That’s why we see so much focus on how to improve the physician experience. While I’ve seen a lot of great efforts, I’m quickly realizing that there’s a kind of hidden world of IT DevOps that could play a much bigger role in improving the physician experience than most people realize.
For those not familiar with IT DevOps, it’s basically creating a beautiful synergy between the development of the software you use and the operations that’s required to support that software. Turns out that you can develop the best EHR software in the world, but if the IT DevOps is poor, then the EHR software could run really poorly.
This disconnect is why I’ve known EHR companies that have wanted to control the full IT stack in a medical practice from desktop to network to server and everything in between. It was the only way they could ensure that the customer had a great experience with their EHR software. It’s also why Epic is so restrictive and controlling in how and where you can use their software. They understand that how you host their EHR is going to make a huge impact on the experience you have with their EHR. So, they require a certain IT DevOps infrastructure to ensure you’re getting the best experience possible.
While software vendors are making some efforts in this regard, I still believe that these types of IT DevOps efforts are often falling short in many healthcare organizations. This provides a huge opportunity for healthcare organizations to improve their physician experience by shoring up their IT infrastructure.
This was illustrated really well when I was attending the Pure Storage user conference in Austin. At the event, I had a chance to sit down with Gil Keller, Director of IT Infrastructure at Children’s Hospital of Alabama. In our discussion Gil shared an astounding outcome he experienced after moving their old storage to a new Pure Storage solution. Gil shared that the change “Cut logon times in half thanks to new storage.”
Think about this. Slow storage was causing their users to have to take twice as long to log into their systems. No doubt this is making every doctor and nurse cringe since they know how many times they have to login to their systems every day. Cutting that time in half is a tremendous savings for front line clinicians. Unfortunately, most healthcare organizations don’t think about this type of IT DevOps optimization when they think about how to improve physician and nurse productivity, but they should.
Let me share a few other examples we’ve talked about previously. Regular readers might remember this valuable takeaway I shared from the HIMSS19 conference after talking with Christian Boucher, Director of Healthcare Solutions at Citrix:
Citrix had a number of solutions including streamlined login, macros, virtual desktops, deep integrations with EHR software, and much more which improved doctors and nurses efficiency in a big way. Then, he highlighted how giving 5 minutes back to the doctor also gave 5 minutes back to the patient. Those efficiencies really make a big impact on the patient. Especially if it means less time waiting for the doctor because they’re more efficient.
Are you thinking about how your desktop virtualization software can improve clinician productivity? If you’re not, you should.
Another great example of this was shared by a company called Soaring Eagle at the EXPO.health conference we host. For those not familiar with Soaring Eagle, they’re a database consulting company. If you didn’t think about your database slowing down your clinicians, you’ll likely be surprised by all the ways a database can slow down your health IT applications. Jeff Garbus and Alvin Chang offered these 5 ways in this great article on ways healthcare applications slow down and what to do about it:
- Poor indexing #1 – Unused Indexes, Missing Indexes can cause problems
- Bad queries #2 – Too much data returned by a query
- Bad queries #3 – Overuse of temporary tables
- Bad Queries #4 – Attempting to do it all in one Giant Query.
- Large Reports #5 Combine reporting and transactional activity
I could go on with other examples of how IT DevOps might be slowing down your healthcare applications and how that’s making your doctors, nurses, and patients’ lives worse, but I think you get the point. IT DevOps is certainly not responsible for a lot of the burnout that physicians, nurses, and patients are experiencing. However, it can be one important part of the effort to improve burnout in organizations.
Note: Soaring Eagle was a sponsor of the EXPO.health conference and Pure Storage covered my trip to their user conference.