From one continent to another, we are on an unsustainable healthcare cost curve that threatens our ability to address problems such as climate change, income inequality, and sustaining economic growth.
The revolutionary use of healthcare information technology unlocks the door to healthcare transformation. We—the informaticists, clinicians, management engineers, senior IT executives, IT specialists, and the diverse talents of so many others—hold that key. We must create the applications, processes, and workflows that improve quality, safety, access, and outcomes, resulting in greater cost efficiency.
We can make this transformation happen. Why? Because many other revolutions involving technology in the workplace occurred over the past century. Technology transformed the world’s manufacturing-based industrial economy into an information and knowledge-based service economy driven by data and analytics. It is the story of how savvy businesses began to share information quickly and inexpensively. These tech-savvy businesses effectively leveraged this information to deliver higher-quality products at lower costs to a global marketplace. By meeting the needs of their customers while innovating to develop new offerings, these businesses saw their profits grow while the earnings shrank for those who needed to adapt. Innovative companies thrived in this new data-driven marketplace while others, unable or unwilling to adapt, could no longer compete.
Does this sound at all familiar in our healthcare business?
While most industries became more efficient and streamlined due to new technologies, healthcare remained frozen in time in many ways. Healthcare still operates like the typical business of 1969: largely paper-based, it ignores electronic information tools that can facilitate evidence-based best practices, and it functions without employing data and analytics to qualify and quantify the care we provide. For proof, consider the ubiquitous use of fax machines in healthcare organizations. I know we can do better.
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