Healthcare ranks as a high-knowledge and technology-intensive industry. The range of high knowledge and technology-intensive devices for healthcare diagnostics and treatments is immense and constantly growing. Similarly, software advances in data analysis, artificial intelligence, informatics, and telecommunication are becoming more pervasive and complex.
Yet the healthcare IT organization is often ignored, underutilized, underfunded, or poorly guided. Instead, it could be designing a systems infrastructure with more and better technology utilization across the entire healthcare spectrum, from patient appointments to the use of electronic health records to data analysis and diagnostics.
Like industrial production, most human workflows can be analyzed and redesigned into more efficient systems. So can healthcare, and it is just that no one has tried or thought about how to go about it. Healthcare may be one of our leading-edge industries, but it is likely our least well-systematized.
Henry Ford revolutionized automobile production by systematizing production by introducing the assembly line. Rather than build cars one at a time, he identified specific tasks or processes and then linked them together to construct cars. All production has an embedded workflow that determines the output, and healthcare is no different.
Imagining, designing, building, and deploying systems is what IT does and does well. Healthcare IT has yet to be asked to undertake this immense yet critical task of implementing technology to enhance workflows to achieve desired outcomes. It is time we empowered IT to start.
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