Friday, June 3, 2011

An Industry in Flux

It strikes me that there are some fascinating industry changes occurring in the “middleware” space and more are on the horizon. Interestingly, its not aggressive competitive behavior - it’s shuffles, buyouts, ReOrgs, partnerships, major players leaving major organizations, and simply surprising business decisions.
Dramatic human capital changes as opposed to dramatic technology change.
But what does it all mean – is it that alarm notification tools are not doing the job they set out to do, is it that the alarm notification tools promised too much and delivered too little, or is it that creativity and design ability was not balanced with well researched deployment on the cause and effect of the disruptive technology.

My thought is well intentioned creative individuals saw an opportunity in the marketplace that allowed the perception of faster communications. (If you haven’t figured it out – I believe most people are well intentioned.) The crux is more than 10 years after Michael McNeals press to market with the game changing Emergin platform – the cluttered market space is starting to relax and mature into a “what’s next” mentality.

Major platform changes are needed to meet the demands of a healthcare ecosystem that has a broader expectation of what information needs to go to which person. The new mantra is not about “alarm notification” it is more about “information distribution” and “decision support”. “Notification” brings with it the thought of disruption while information distribution and decision support bring the picture of well balanced and focused approach to patient care.

The problem is alarm notification has not reached maturity before the next change. What I mean by that is we have started to move to a new thinking without truly looking at the data associated with the “old thinking”. We have no base line comparison to clearly identify how information distribution will affect the ability of the clinicians to serve better. The industry has no clear baseline of information to compare the emerging decision support capabilities of the patient communications platforms (aka Nurse Call) with the old way.

Technologists, ask yourself:

Are we making things more flashy, exciting, techy because we can or because it’s right?

I challenge Nurse Call providers – Middleware developers – and even you EMR players who get in the game to prove it.

Show us how a change to status quo solves….if it doesn’t make the patient’s and caregiver’s lives better in documentable, data backed ways – then don’t waste your development dollars.

My prediction – major change is coming – large players will be motivated to change their focus and new players will be motivated to create better platforms.

1 comment:

  1. Very perceptive and thought provoking article. Alarm systems are definitely evolving based on both customer feedback and the evidentiary event data gathered by their historical event databases i.e. the black-box theory also espoused by the visionary Michael McNeal. We all must hope, however, that the growth of Decision Support systems don't fall on the same sword - going to market with a "solution" before they fully understand the problem.


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Kourtney Govro