7 Most Common Problems with Healthcare IT

Regardless of how you stand in the on-going debate regarding the passage of President Obama’s Healthcare Reform Act, one thing is clear, automation and so called Healthcare IT (HIT) such as Electronic Health Records are still the wave of the future. The question for healthcare practitioners of all types is no longer if they will implement a HIT solution but when.

Even when setting clear goals of what you want from your HIT solution, many clinics implement a solution, only to have a clear case of “buyer’s remorse.” Here are 7 of the most common reasons why HIT can fail, often leading to requests for de-installation.   

1. Lack of follow-up from solution vendor – More often then not, after an HIT solution is up and running, many practitioners get the feeling that the honeymoon is over. Faced with a lack of good follow up from the vendor, and new processes that leave the staff with many questions, a lot of clinics resort to guessing how to perform certain tasks, which results in an overall lack of confidence in the entire system. 

2. Infrastructure Issues -- Despite available subsidies for the implementation of certain HIT solutions, setting up a strong and reliable network infrastructure can be costly. Not every clinic has the ability to set up an IT infrastructure robust enough to maximize the full feature set of the solution.

3. Not enough training – Some vendors do not provide adequate training, or practitioners may not have budgeted enough for the amount of training really necessary to bring all staff up to speed on the solution. This again leads to a lot of guesswork, often leaving a bad taste in the mouth.

4. Not very user friendly –Some user interfaces are just overly complex with way too many bells and whistles that can be overwhelming.  

5. Problems with interoperability - Interoperability is essential for a sleep lab to be able to coordinate with referring physicians and hospitals. 

6. Return on Investment – Many HIT solutions require large-scale investments in hardware and software, with a very slow and painful ROI.

7. Loss of confidence – Often all of the above lead to a complete loss of confidence and sometimes open rebellion by the staff, who just refuse to use the system, sometimes insisting it be ripped out!  

No matter what type of HIT solution you are thinking about or who you are thinking about purchasing it from, the old adage holds very true, if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. By watching for these seven common mistakes, your sleep center practice stands a much better chance of success.

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