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The Biggest Challenge in Healthcare: Excuses

Posted on January 29, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

In one of my many conversations, someone told me the following quote that really stuck with me. I can’t remember who told me it and they didn’t want to be named, but I thought the comment was incredibly insightful.

The problem with healthcare is that it’s all complex. If people want to find an excuse not to do something, they can find one.

I think this quote is spot on. Is there anything in healthcare that isn’t complex? At least in healthcare technology, everything is complex. It’s not enough to just create a solution and roll it out tomorrow. You have to consider HIPAA laws, FDA regulations, reimbursement regulations, Federal laws, state laws, medical licensures, medical liability, etc etc etc.

Doctors principle of “first do no harm” is very real in healthcare and a generally good principle, but it can also be invoked easily to say no to anything you don’t want to do. Even if the thing that could be done doesn’t actually do any harm and could actually be beneficial to patients.

My prediction is the next 10 years, organizations are going to be defined by how an organization approaches this challenge. On the one hand we’ll have organizations that choose to use complexity as an excuse to not innovate. On the other hand we’ll have organizations that embrace hard, challenging, complex problems with solutions instead of excuses. It won’t be easy for these organizations, but it will absolutely differentiate them from their competitors.

I’m not suggesting that we should lower the standards of what’s acceptable to implement in healthcare. Instead, I’m suggesting that we make the effort required to explore new innovations and collaboratively work on solutions that handle the complexity of healthcare while providing incredible value to your organization and patients. After all, the very best things in life are challenging and difficult. Let’s embrace the challenging and difficult instead of using it as an excuse for inaction.

Major Theme from MGMA 2015: Collaboration

Posted on October 12, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

MGMA’s annual conference has just started, but I’m already starting to see what I think is a major theme at the event: Collaboration. To say it a different way, I think the theme is:

We Can’t Solve These Problems Alone!!

That’s a message that we need to resonate across all of healthcare. Atul Gawande’s keynote this morning did a great job highlighting this need along with the MGMA Presidents comments yesterday. He talked about how much more efficient an organization can be if everyone is rowing together. Although, I think his comment that struck me most was when he said that just scheduling the time for various people to get together and talk about how they can work together is the first step.

Far too often we get overly prescriptive on what we need healthcare organizations to do. When you do that it’s really easy for an organization to rationalize why their organization’s needs are different and why the prescriptive advice doesn’t work for their organizations. I guess that’s what made Atul’s advice to powerful. It’s really about getting the disparate parties together to talk about ways they can collaborate. They’ll figure it out. They know what will and won’t work, but they’ve just never really sat down to work on the challenges together.

The only other thing I’d add to this advice is to make sure that there are some common goals. A great example of this is seen in how hospitals have come together around hospital readmissions. That common goal has produced results. Atul suggested that a common goal might be focusing on improving care to the 5% of patients who drive 50% of the healthcare costs. He also suggested considering goals like improving patient wait times that will improve the experience for all patients as opposed to just a few patients.

Having everyone involved in a healthcare organization meeting together often to talk about how they can solve common goals is a magical formula.

The Common Purpose of Healthcare IT

Posted on October 2, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve been spending the last two days at a really amazing conference for the leaders (I’m a board member in Vegas) of the various BYU Management Societies around the world. The focus of the organizations around the world is to promote ethical leadership in business and our communities. A noble goal and the speakers and attendees at the event reflect that goal very nicely.

As I’ve listened to a number of extraordinary insightful speakers I’ve been struck by one of the recurring messages. Having a purpose in the work you do makes everything better. Workers are happier at work when they have a purpose. Workers produce more when they have a purpose. Workers do a better job when they have a purpose. The list of benefits go on and on. What’s amazing is that all of this was proven scientifically. It’s powerful when you see the rigorous approach they took to understanding what motivates a workforce.

I think we see the impact of this in many healthcare organizations. In fact, most of the people I’ve seen working in healthcare realize that they have a higher purpose beyond themselves. That inspires them to perform better work, go above and beyond in the work they do, and to generally be satisfied with their jobs. Although, I think it’s easy to forget some of those things when you get distracted by the minutiae. Remembering the goal of healthcare is always beneficial.

When it comes to healthcare IT I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I’ve seen many mission driven healthcare IT organizations that produce way above their resources. I see others that are missing the vision. You can imagine which ones I’m placing my bets on in the future.

I always hate when doctors talk about healthcare IT people’s inability to save lives. Sure, it’s done in a very different way, but that’s absolutely the possibility. Plus, doctors should want health IT people to feel that they’re working to save lives. Having that feeling will drive them do do more and be more. It will give them a mission which will produce better results for the doctors and the patients. Furthermore, it’s ironic that doctors would blame health IT for all their problems and dissatisfaction, but not then turn around and credit them for the times that health IT helped them save a patient as well.

Personally, I’d like to see more healthcare IT companies with ambitious goals around improving care and saving lives. Those missions will drive a company to perform beyond their expectations. That’s a good thing for healthcare and something we should welcome. As I’ve learned in depth these past 2 days, having a purpose to your work will improve performance. We should want that across every segment of healthcare.

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln Quotes

Posted on February 16, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I thought it would be fun to look at some quotes from Presidents on President’s day that might inspire you. I hope you enjoy the following quotes.
George Washington - EMR and HIPAA

Abraham Lincoln - EMR and HIPAA