By: Ward Priestman
Healthcare IT Consultant, Priestman Consulting
If ever you needed proof that the Government’s Tech Fund was having a positive impact on healthcare organisations’ engagement with technology, this year’s Healthcare Efficiency Through Technology Expo (HETT) was it. A lot busier than previous years, IT professionals and clinicians alike were looking for ideas for how technology could make a difference to their business. To that end, I am delighted to say that there was a lot interest in our presentation about how to empower the end user.
From Apple and iTunes to Amazon, technology powerhouses have completely redefined our expectations about how easy it should be to access services and data. They’ve achieved this by simplifying how they engage and respond to customer requests. In the online consumer world, consumer experience is king. This ethos, however, does not translate into the corporate world.
Instead, users are confronted with elongated, cumbersome processes that have numerous hoops that need to be jumped through. It is not uncommon to request an application needed to help with a project that week, only to have it signed off and delivered to you two weeks later; when you no longer need it. Or when a locum is drafted in to cover a shift at A&E, they are rendered useless until they have computer access because they can’t view notes or see a patient’s history. Yet, because this is a manual process, it can take a couple of hours to get them up and running. This is not exactly the dynamic and responsive working environment that clinicians – who simply want to get on with treating patients – crave.
So what if we automate these manual processes and seek to create an Amazon-like store for IT services? Users could solve their own problems. They could order and get software they need in a timely fashion, utilise existing licenses rather than paying for more, and generally spend more time with patients; less time on the phone to IT. And what of the IT team? Well rather than using their extensive knowledge to hook a user up to a printer, they can work on projects that create a more proactive IT environment.
There are a lot of lessons that IT can learn from the consumer world and putting the end user experience first. Get that right and you eradicate a lot of operational pain points. And the great news is that this doesn’t have to mean losing control or compromising on compliance. Far from it. IT can still manage the process – they just don’t have to be physically involved. Creating a one-stop-shop for IT services is the future of increased productivity in a multi-device and multi-screen world. Judging by the conversations we had at HETT, it would seem the majority in healthcare agree.