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You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers

September 16, 2009
by Joe Marion
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I’m sure at some point you may recall the famous Radio Shack commercial, “you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.” That got me thinking about healthcare. In this age of rapid technology change, how does one get answers to one’s questions? Which technology should I acquire? How will it integrate with my current systems? Is my workflow optimal? How should I budget for new technology? Etc. etc.

From the perspective of those in charge for making healthcare technology decisions, there are multiple avenues for getting answers. Certainly, discussing with one’s peers is an option. There is a wealth of knowledge available via the World Wide Web and publications. Vendors can frequently be a good source of information. And, consultants are always an option. All these sources potentially introduce a broader perspective than an individual site may have, as they can represent experience from multiple locations. The issue I would like to raise is how can one conveniently identify potential resources to assist?

Aside from asking a vendor for assistance, the other sources can be more difficult, and can involve considerable time and effort. Who has the time to search the internet and read every publication? How does one identify viable consultants? And aside from trade shows or other meetings, how does one find the time to contact other sites or entities with regard to their experience? And, most importantly, how does one address a specific topic? The information generally available may be generalized and not specific enough to one’s need.

Certainly forums such as the blog I am using to convey these thoughts are an effective avenue for idea exchange, as are the other resources of Healthcare-Informatics, such as their web casts. Listserv’s are another source of information where one can obtain multiple perspectives to a particular question.

Relative to imaging, another source I would like to highlight are services offered by the Society of Imaging Informatics in Medicine, or SIIM (www.siimweb.org). There are two tabs on their home page that facilities might find useful. The first is the “Expert Hotline” that enables members to ask questions and have industry experts respond. Another useful tab is the “Technical Resources” tab that includes a number of useful resources. One in particular is a listing of SIIM member consulting organizations that are available to assist the membership. Instead of doing blind searches for an industry consultant, the SIIM site consolidates consultants with a wealth of experience in one location so they can easily be compared.

Of course the SIIM site is specific to imaging. I am curious if there are parallels to other healthcare IT technologies. Or, is SIIM unique in its library of resources? Perhaps this represents an opportunity for other technology organizations to offer similar services to their membership. Emerging areas such as cardiology information systems, and enterprise imaging, may represent particularly good opportunities for improved resource access.

As usual, your perspective is valuable. If you are aware of similar services in other technology areas, speak up! The more information sources that can be shared with prospective technology adaptors, the better the outcome. And for prospective industry organizations, I welcome the opportunity to collectively work toward improving available resource access.

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Joe Marion

Founder and Principal, Healthcare Integration Strategies

Joe Marion

www.hisconsultant.com

Joe Marion is founder and Principal of Healthcare Integration Strategies, specializing in the...