Wednesday, July 14, 2004

IT in Health Care – More Talk than Do

Information technology in health care continues to be a popular topic.

The June 28, 2004 issue of AHA News, the weekly hard copy bulletin of the American Hospital Association, featured an article by Scott Wallace, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Health Information Technology. Wallace reported with enthusiasm the various pronouncements and studies attributable to his organization during the past year.

Just after seeing that, I happened to pick up the May 24, 2004 issue of Modern Healthcare, which included an article on the same general subject. The article reported the result of a survey of 73 CIO’s belonging to the Ann Arbor, MI based College of Healthcare Information Management Executives. The group was asked to indicate the “most prevalent” reasons for “not generating value from IT.”

The results were as follows:

Lack of process and IT alignment; inadequate process change (51%)
Lack of executive ownership and accountability (49%)
Lack of understanding of expected business benefits (41%)
Communication breakdown or failure (28%)
Bad business objectives (24%)
Lack of outcome measurements (24%)
Lack of strong of adequate project governance (23%)
Failure to align business vision/goals with IT (22%)
Lack of understanding of what computer users really needed (20%)
Volatile situation: Organization’s needs changed ((18%)
Poor project management (17%)
Costs exceeded benefits (16%)
Nothing significantly improved (14%)
Users did not want the IT solution (12%)
Poor performance by vendor or consultant (9%)
A problem of timing: The opportunity was lost (5%)
Technical failure of software or hardware (0%)

When it comes to operational achievements, the health care field has long been notorious for more talk than do. The subject of IT seems to fit right into the pattern.

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