Hello out there in the blogosphere. I am excited about having this forum to bring my perspective to bear on the world of information technology. I have been going through my own eye-opening experience over the past three months having just migrated from overseeing IT in a multi-hospital system to overseeing IT in a multi-facility long-term care system. Long-term care is in many ways very different from acute-care and it has been quite something to have to rapidly absorb the nuances of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) that drives virtually everything in the long-term care space. The MDS is a requirement both for reimbursement as well as for clinical benchmarking, which is actually in many ways is much further along in long-term care than it is in the hospital realm. The MDS is a dizzyingly detailed assessment of all aspects of patient progress that consumes many hours of clinician work and has to be strictly managed as far as timelines, completion of key sections, and identifying areas where additional patient intervention is needed and creating formalized workplans for addressing those areas.
In general, too, there is less penetration of technology on the long-term care side of the fence than there is in hospitals so there is always the aspect of making our users comfortable with technology as a vital part of their day-to-day work lives.
Having noted the differences between acute care and long-term care, there are still real similarities. The notion of cultural transformation of an organization is huge. The notion of having to interface disparate systems (no matter how integrated a solution you may wish to purchase) looms large. Being mindful of all components of workflow and having a true continuity-of-care paradigm – all similar across both types of enterprises.
I am about to have the good fortune to select and implement a MAJOR clinical system for the SECOND time (and we are doing financial/revenue cycle systems as well, this time around). We are in the final stages of completing the RFP for these new systems as I speak to you. Few people have the opportunity to do this kind of project twice. Yes, sleepless nights and major challenges await, but I am very excited to be able to embark on this again. I am a big believer in the ability of technology to have a huge positive impact on both patient’s lives and caregiver’s lives. Fasten your seat belts, we are off and running.