How to sink sinking ships

titanicIn the healthcare industry, the message is starting to get across that deployment of circa-1960 healthcare services delivery software does not improve efficiency, effectiveness, throughput or productivity.

The immediate impact following massive outlays of hard-earned money, is to see productivity slow down to a crawl. Doctors become “data trolls”, nurses and support staff no longer have time to spend with patients.

The principal reason for this deplorable state of affairs is that healthcare services delivery does not lend itself to cookie-cutter workflow management solutions.

Hospitals spend years developing “best practices” for the purpose, supposedly, of giving themselves competitive advantage and then have to put their best practices aside and adopt fixed protocols designed by 3rd parties.

Acceptance of offers from a smiling “Cheshire cat” sales representative to “customize” software to address specific needs does nothing but double or triple the initial cost of ownership and put the buyer on a “slippery slope” of never-ending fees to the vendor or to consultants.

Bottom line, if a hospital can get through the initial highly disruptive implementation phase (some, like Maine Medical, seem to be having great difficulty doing this), once the settling in period is over, it’s unlikely productivity will ever improve to where it was before the start of the software acquisition process.

What’s the solution?

We have today technology that allows any organization, not just hospitals, to graphically map out their best practices, carve these up into individual steps and post these to user InTrays at tablets and smartphones.  The technology is taking a long time to percolate down to the healthcare industry because of “not-invented-here” syndrome.

Committing a task along a patient care pathway in a system such as CiverMed ™ causes the next-in-line task to immediately post to the attention of staff that is available and has the required skill set to perform the task.  In many cases, the only required input from users of the new technology at steps is to click on “Done”.

If the core software environment has its foundation in Adaptive Case Management (ACM), users are free to skip over steps, re-visit already committed steps, record data at steps that are not yet current and invent steps that are not in a particular protocol.

Bottom line, the organization is able to do the right things, the right way, at the right time, using the right resources at a cost that is affordable.

Don’t expect to be able to get to this level using hierarchical database technology.


Management consultant and process control engineer (MSc EE) with a focus on bridging the gap between operations and strategy in the areas of critical infrastructure protection, connect-the-dots law enforcement investigations, healthcare services delivery, job shop manufacturing and b2b/b2c/b2d transactions. (C) 2010-2018 Karl Walter Keirstead, P. Eng. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed here are those of the author, and are not connected with Jay-Kell Technologies Inc, Civerex Systems Inc. (Canada), Civerex Systems Inc. (USA) or CvX Productions.
This entry was posted in Adaptive Case Management, Case Management, Database Technology, FIXING HEALTHCARE, Process Mapping, Productivity Improvement, Software Acquisition. Bookmark the permalink.

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