As an integrator of patient care communications technologies, we’re often sitting between systems that are sold, installed, configured, and maintained by others. To further complicate things, the framework and workflow design may be the province of a consulting entity—often a hired gun—that is gone once the project goes live.
It’s a hard place to be because it can become a turf war.
The manufacturers of platforms and/or their resellers want the world to be mostly about their product, their solution, or their company. The consultants have their own view of things. And, typically, there are lots of competing interests between different technologies, different manufacturers, different resellers, and even internal political conflicts.
It can be a mess, especially for those that need to live the “solution” once it’s in place.
The stakeholders (nurses, nurse managers, nursing directors, etc…) are generally as informed as they can be during the design and decision-making process, but there’s a lot that they guess at—and the various “selling” entities may only be telling them part of the story. During the planning, much ends up getting glossed over and kicked down the road to be figured out later.
Then it’s Go Live and there’s often not much of a plan to evolve, adjust, change, or iterate. The consultant is likely gone, the resellers have exhausted the requirements in their contract, and the manufacturer is typically not responsible for anything but bug fixes or technical support.
Five questions nursing should ask the solutions providers, the sponsoring IT organization, and the larger project team:
- What measurable goals and outcomes are tied to this initiative? Does the solution we have planned or deployed have all the necessary data points to provide us with the inputs and contexts for our outcomes?
- Once it goes live will we be able to report on our specific measures with what we have purchased? If not, what’s required? Can the solution providers show us concrete examples of what we will actually see and interact with that are specific to the way we operate?
- If this is an integrated solution that ties together multiple manufacturer’s technologies, have we examined the capabilities of all the players? Is a particular technology, manufacturer, integrator, or solution provider muscling out another one for their own benefit?
- If we need to make modifications to workflow, how are those handled? Who does them? If there are additional costs, how does this get scoped and charged for? Does our budget anticipate this?
- What kinds of post-deployment evaluation processes are in place? Have we planned to modify, iterate, expand, and enhance? How will we be supported by the various solutions partners through that assessment process? And will we be able to make inevitable changes that allow us to achieve our outcomes?
A lot of this is common sense, but in the heat of rolling out new technology, it’s easy to get distracted by the shiny new objects and be hopeful about the outcomes. Don’t be afraid to challenge what you don’t know or understand. And of course, insist on clear and specific details regarding how your specific requirements will be met.
Kenny Schiff is the Founder and CEO of CareSight. A 20-year veteran of the healthcare technology business, Kenny is considered by his customers and peers to be a no-nonsense, trusted resource who can be counted on to deliver complex solutions with high impact. His team pioneered managed services to clinical communications customers starting in 2003. Visionary always, but never afraid to be hands-on, CareSight is a great creative platform for Kenny’s entrepreneurial and technical passions.