“You want more for us than we want for ourselves.”
These words have remained with me, playing over and over in various client situations, for the past 20 years. Spoken to me by one of my all time favorite healthcare clients who, by the way, runs an impeccable shop on every measurable level. Imagine a moment in which an outside consultant could be told to want or perform less for their client. Twenty years later I shake my head often when I encounter client situations where it appears that once again I want more for them than they want for themselves.
But, let’s be clear as this blog message is not about me. When it comes to healthcare IT I have realized that this sentiment, spoken by my client 20 years ago, resonates as strongly today as it did then because it is a direct reflection of an organization and its capacity. Healthcare organizational capacity is a multi-factorial concept in which IT has become the thread that underpins virtually every business decision and operational function.
How effectively is the IT organization is staffed?
How much change can an organization absorb at a point in time?
How well does the organization understand and embrace technology?
How creative or courageous an organization permits itself to be with technology?
These are significant questions that must be answered before organizations can fully realize the benefit of technology. In every conceivable healthcare media outlet we are reminded daily of how IT has failed the industry in some way — the wrong EHR, a bad implementation, failure to train end users, the high cost of technology, vendor relationships, user experience, workflow and productivity challenges, clinical efficacy, security breaches and the like. While there are many legitimate areas in which to assign blame, organizational capacity remains at the top of the list for me. I have seen it play out in large vs. small, private vs. public, and specialty vs. community health systems — the same technology solution is successful in one place but fails in another.
Organizational capacity is always the common thread.