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Dirty Laundry

September 5, 2008
by daphne
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“Daphne, don’t you ever write about EMR fiascos?”

A CIO asked me that that question the other day, and of course I started thinking. Most of us know of a few enterprise EMR implementations that some have dubbed debacles, Kaiser being the first that comes to mind. But I also wonder, what exactly is a failure if the hospital is still going forward with the new system? Is that a failure? According to whom?


Would you be interested in the details of EMR catastrophes in our world—especially the ones that no one is talking about? I know I would. You know, an enterprise EMR implementation riddled with cost overruns, years behind schedule, and with zero user adoption--all your worst nightmares. How do these things happen?

I know what you’re probably thinking: “It’s the vendor’s fault.”

Not so fast. Because here’s what I tell my kid when she’s about to crucify someone: “Honey, hold up. There’s usually a back story to everything.” And I’m sure there’s a back story to some of these, too. Maybe the vendor didn’t deliver on its promises. But also maybe, a hospital spent all its money on product and then nickel and dimed the end game.

I don’t know. But I’d love to find out. And I bet you would too.

So, what ARE the big messes on record? Can we at least get a list going below in the comments?

The CIO who suggested this to me concluded his email by saying this story is a great idea, “…even though it may not be in the best interests of Healthcare Informatics.” Let’s clear that up right now (and I know I speak for Anthony and everybody else here) The best interest of Healthcare Informatics is sharing open and honest communications on our topics to help hospitals explore better ways to take care of their patients through IT. That’s it, get used to it. That’s my best interest--otherwise I’m not getting on the subway in the morning.

But back to the big-time failures. You’ve got one you’d like to talk about? Or read about? Were involved in? Drop me a line. This is one of those times that I’m happy to hear from you off the record, if you prefer. CIOs who know me know they can trust me for things like that. And by the way, I’d like to hear from both hospitals AND vendors. Like I always tell everybody, I have no agenda.

I hope I get some responses, because it’s not just schadenfreude going on here. This can help ensure other CIOs (and vendors) don’t make the same mistakes.

And that’s in the best interest of everybody.

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Thanks to everyone who wrote to me....

daphne

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Daphne Lawrence is senior associate editor at Healthcare Informatics magazine, covering the...