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And the Winner Is ...

September 2, 2008
by aguerra
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For the past few years, HCI has run our “Innovator Awards” program; last year we even held a reception at HIMSS to honor the winners.

Since we’ve truly embraced the idea of reevaluating everything we do, this project has also come under the microscope. We’re interesting in hearing from you about how it could be done better, or whether a different type of program would be more relevant and compelling.

The main challenges any awards or ranking programs face are two-fold:

  1. Can the system be gamed?
  2. Is it too subjective? (This is why rankings based on hard numbers are much easier to justify)

On the first point, even if we do stick with the current format, there will be some changes to improve the credibility and manageability of the program. First off, we will no longer accept nominations from vendors or PR agencies. For example, many vendors feel compelled to nominate (or have their PR firms nominate) every single client they ever signed. I’m telling you the truth, certain vendors probably nominate upwards of 20 clients. So, only nominations coming from healthcare organizations themselves or uninvolved third-parties will be considered — no matter what we do this year.

Secondly, we don’t want to design something that is savaged like the recent HHN Most Wired Ranking. I’m fairly certain that I saw more negative press about the ranking than releases from those included in it.

At our edit meeting this morning, some ideas were tossed around, such as recognizing the entire IT staff of a hospital for teamwork, rather than just the CIO or a single individual. We discussed forming a judging board of esteemed HCI readers to add credibility to the outcome. Of course, we’ll need more criteria around any possible program for the IT team (must have implemented an EHR, CPOE, etc). Even though they understood that the idea needed refinement, the new concept stuck some of our staff as a bit lackluster.

So I’m enlisting the help of you — our readers. Do you have any ideas for an awards program that would be compelling? What types of qualities or accomplishments do you think should be recognized when it comes to healthcare IT executives, or their staffs in general? We’re open to anything. And if we do decide to continue our Innovator Awards in its current form, I’ll be perfectly happy with that outcome. Remember, it’s not about change for change’s sake.

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Comments

Maybe you should do case studies and award the best problem solving. It will almost inevitably involve technology and usually it will be an innovative use of technology. More often than not, new technology isn't the key to innovation, rather it is how technology is applied to further the organization that makes the difference (see Jim Collins' "Good to Great," I think chapter 7).

thanks Travis that has been along the lines of our Innovator Awards recognizing a novel use of what is often tried-and-true technology. Often this involves using more basic applications to solve complex problems in a low-cost way.

aguerra

Anthony Guerra is Editor-in-Chief of Healthcare Informatics. His blog contains story lineups for...