10 quotes from 4 healthcare executives on HIT and clinical leadership

Although intended to enhance the clinical care process, technology often has the adverse effect of creating new barriers for healthcare providers.

Brian Silverstein, MD, managing director of BDC Advisors, moderated a discussion at Becker's Hospital Review Health IT + Clinical Leadership conference, May 10, in Chicago, to discover how the industry can propel health IT forward to benefit, not disadvantage, providers and patients.

Four healthcare executives joined Dr. Silverstein to discuss the current state of HIT, where it's headed and why it's critical to patient care.

Here is what they had to say.

1. On the current state of HIT and clinical care.

  • Jordan Shlain, MD, internal medicine physician, managing partner at Private Medical and founder of HealthLoop: "We have to have the courage to do things here in health IT because lives and safety and outcomes depend on it. We've spent a lot of time on health IT 1.0 — building the freeways, buying the expensive equipment, making this work for the system — and we're at the point of health IT 2.0 right now, and that's like how do we help the doctors and patients?"
  • Katherine Walsh, DrPH, RN, chief nursing officer at Houston Methodist Hospital: "In 1998 when I was a brand new executive of a children's hospital, there was a medication error that resulted in the death of a six-week-old baby…We did a root-cause analysis and as we started dissecting what happened, we found numerous systems failures…How do we make systems safer for our patients and how do we make them safer for the second victim?"
  • Mitesh Rao, MD, co-founder and CEO of OMNY: "I think a big thing we need to think about when it comes to technology, clinical redesign or safety/quality, is how can we get what's in play around our physicians and nurses to work for them and bridge this data together so that we can have actual insights and do things with it rather than having the background noise?"

2. On using technology to improve patient care.

  • Dr. Shlain: "Communication architecture is the stepchild of HIT, because we've mostly cared about databases…What I realized is healthcare missed empathy codes; it missed how concerned am I about this person once they leave here? How could we imagine communicating with every patient, everyday that is contextual and relevant to them?...We need to trust our patients, because they are the ones on the receiving end of all the care and IT that we do. That's a missing piece here."
  • Dr. Walsh: "One of the projects I'm most proud of is incorporation of an early warning system into the clinical care provided by nurses. This early warning system interfaces with the electronic medical record and it takes data from 26 different variables that are documented…it distributes a numerical value that is graphed and can be displayed in real-time…And the difference between this early warning system and several others we looked at is this takes into consideration nursing assessments."
  • Dr. Roa: "There is a human element to how technology needs to be built and incorporated, and we need to actually understand the users…You can't just turn something on, push it out and expect everyone to use it and expect it to actually drive change. Sometimes, clinical care needs to be redesigned while technology is being implemented."
  • Catherine Costa, RN, AVP client delivery organization, Allscripts: "If I can have a good transition from what IT intended to how the technology is being used to give better care, that's the golden mile, and that's really where the gap is."

3. On key factors for HIT and clinical success.

  • Ms. Costa: "Bottom line, clinicians need to be at the table with the IT team having these conversations…Vendors should be having conversations with clinicians and helping you establish the outcome goals technology is there to help you achieve."
  • Dr. Roa: "Bottom line, when technology is implemented and scaled in clinical environments, we need to really think through not only how to engage clearly and continuously the physicians and nurses, but also how can clinical care be redesigned around and with the technology so it's done right."
  • Dr. Shlain: "I'll go back to courage because I think it's so paramount. Clinicians in the room should bring their IT people on rounds on patients and understand what happens at the problem surface of medicine and how this all works. Ultimately, technology can be the digital iodine that is actually a safety tool."

More article on Health IT:
VA, Cerner strike $10B, 10-year deal on EHR overhaul
Telehealth integrated with hospitals and retail health is the wave of the future
Faith Regional Health Services to deploy Epic EHR

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