Those of you that follow my blog know that I occasionally weigh in on healthcare issues – mainly due to my unique healthcare background where, in the course of my career, I managed IT for insurers, physician practices, and hospitals …
So it’s not surprising to see some of the initial feedback on ACOs (Accountable Care Organizations), which have gathered steam under Obama’s Supreme-Court approved (with Medicaid qualifications) Affordable Care Act. Or the lessons learned from prior healthcare initiatives that have had mixed results, like HIEs (Health Information Exchanges). Not surprising, to me at least, is that the visioning and even funding for these efforts are easy when compared to the complexity of the system challenge.
The press is rife with stories, like the bumpy start for Medicare’s ACO because of data integration issues, particularly around patient identifiers; or challenges with data delivery and distribution hiccups. Some reports blame the complexity of systems, data management, and systems integration in ACO struggles. Although I have no doubt about healthcare IT’s ability to overcome some of these problems, I also am enough of a realist to say “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.
Early stage HIEs hit the same issue. This interview almost smacked of a “technology caused us to fail” mantra, intimating that how we manage data and systems may not be ready for health information exchanges.
I don’t think so.
There are a lot of lessons learned from other IT disciplines that can be applied (banking is probably ten years ahead of healthcare in some of these issues – but account balances are different from life-in-the-balance). Oh, but wait. When something goes wrong in finance (like a Facebook IPO related trading glitch or runaway automated pricing of CDOs) they tend to blame IT too….
At Gartner we have some very strong healthcare coverage that focuses on the healthcare IT enablement – and how to make your IT efforts a success. At our Catalyst conference, we try to look at tech first, and focus on verticals second (if at all). This year, though, we have some excellent health-care speakers lined up in the mobility track, focusing on mobile apps and architecture. Like clinical mobility using virtual desktops at Seattle Children’s hospital, or the mobile apps strategy at Genentech. Worth the visit.