There Needs to be No Shortage of Smarts

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The impending shortage of cardiologists – some 16,000 by 2050 – not only calls for more medical students to enter cardiology. It also calls for those currently in practice to work smarter. One of the best ways to work smarter is through the proper use of information technology.

Of course, not many cardiologists or staff will be actively involved in IT. And that’s where the chief information officers (CIOs) come in. A report from the IBM Institute for Business Value found that CIOs wisely spend much of their time developing innovations for their organizations.

The CIO, according to the report is a combination of visionary and pragmatist, creator and cost cutter, business leader and inspiring IT manager. It’s good for everyone from technologists to department heads to CEOs to understand the value that CIOs bring to their facility. If you want to work smarter, talk and listen to your CIO.

For many, the promise of a robust, healthy IT system seems remote at best. Editorialists in the Annals of Internal Medicine laid out a few caveats about the implementation and expectations of an IT system.

The first caution, although quite basic, needs to be repeated often: garbage in, garbage out. If the data captured at the various input sites is incorrect, no amount of sophistication will correct it. Multidisciplinary teams need to work together to ensure all aspects of data input, transfer and retrieval are flawless.

Another important aspect of working smarter through information technology is having all the various elements of your informatics network seamlessly “talking” with each other. More and more, patients receive care across a wide spectrum of providers. Each patient record from each provider should be available to the current provider along the continuum of care. This is the direction of healthcare and the sooner you and your organization plan such interoperability the better it will be for patient care and your bottom line.

What is clear about health IT is that it doesn’t work in a vacuum. All stakeholders throughout a facility need to plan and strategize its implementation. How successfully they do that depends on several factors including strong leadership, a dedicated vision and creative and savvy initiatives.

There are many more articles in the Practice Management portal. I hope they enlighten and inform you.

On these or any other topics, feel free to send me your comments.

Chris Kaiser, Editor
Cardiovascular Business