Friday, July 29, 2011

The ER Visit Blog

As some of you saw in a recent tweet, I had to journey to the Emergency Room for a brief visit.  While it wasn’t intended to give me material for a blog post – it has provided me with some thoughts that are worth sharing to my fellow technologists.

During the visit one of the questions I was asked by my fabulous nurse was "Who is your primary care physician?" This should be an easy one, right?  Well, it’s easy if you have been to a PCP more recently than your last year of college.  Yes, a little known fact about me is I have a terrible phobia of Doctors (ironic right?) As part of my discharge process both the Nurse and the Doctor said I needed to followup with a PCP.   I told them I understood and thanked them for their help – fully knowing in my mind that I had no intention of going to see a PCP….that’s where sick people go and I am not sick…I am healthy, OCD about eating right, I don’t need a doctor.   My husband had other thoughts and soon I was scheduled to see a PCP.

As I bemoaned the coming doctors visit I had a call from my conscious the voice of reason since age 12  (her name is Carrie) and without belittling me she made mention that you can’t improve when you don’t know where you start.  Then, in a way only she can, she reminded me that I preach to dozens of clients and businesses.  "Kourtney, don't you tell people there is a need for “baseline” data before starting an improvement process.  Yet there is not one ounce of data pertaining to your medical care over the past 10 years."   (other than my calorie counting iphone ap)

Sometimes, even when we are healthy we need a doctor.  Technologist, do you make products that make sick hospitals better or do you create products that enable the on-going health management of hospitals?  At some point isn't the goal for the hospital to be well - doesn't that somehow work you out of a job if you are always focusing on sick?  
Even if you are focused on fixing a pain - How do you know that your technology or service has improved their facility?  Do you know specifically what processes you impact and what things within the processes you are measuring that link directly to patient satisfaction and improved care?  Can you measure them? Will you measure them?  Or are you satisfied with the status quo technology buying cycle where people by a feature and are not guaranteed a result.
Technology enables a process.  A process is NOT worth changing or implementing if the steps are not measurable and the data derived is not linked to a meaningful goal.

Technologist, if you are not providing a baseline that is documented with data directly from an existing technology prior to implementing a new technology then you are doing the hospital, it’s clinicians, and it’s patients a huge disservice. 

In case you were wondering - There is value in driving the wellness of organizations as well as fixing a pain.

In the end – I did go to see a Primary Care Physician. To all of you doctors out there, I chose him on a few factors - he was recommended by someone I trust, time spent with patient exceeded the norm, but my final decision point for choosing him..... what made the biggest portion of my decision?  He was part of the network of the hospital that I visited and he had automatic access to my electronic patient record from my Emergency Room experience.  No phone calls – no faxes just a few clicks and there I was in all of my single entry glory.  I drive 35 minutes to his office.

I know my Data is important in decisions and that on-going my data available to my care providers for logical diagnosis decisions is critical.

1 comment:

  1. Well said; 'Technology enables a process. A process is NOT worth changing or implementing if the steps are not measurable and the data derived is not linked to a meaningful goal.'

    We cannot improve what we do not measure and improvement can only be validated by what was measured and continually measured.


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Kourtney Govro