NHIT: Top Reasons to Embrace HIT in Your Community Hospital

“All I care about is that I’m the same. If I’m the same as I was a year ago I’m happy.”

A sentiment that may work for Ron Swanson, the overtly masculine, no-nonsense Director of the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department from the hit TV show on NBC. However, it won’t work for small community hospitals facing the many challenges of modern healthcare delivery and their associated costs.

In the current climate of a fluctuating healthcare industry, community hospitals must start thinking about placing themselves at the forefront of technology, or risk being left to fend for themselves in a quickly evolving landscape.

A Celebration of Healthcare Information Technology

The driving force behind National Healthcare IT Week is a growing mindfulness that healthcare organizations need to adjust their listless approach to adopting new technology. HIT is something all hospitals should actively pursue, especially hospitals who serve smaller communities all-to-often left to dwell in the fast-moving shadow of obsolescence.

Unsure about the benefits of healthcare technology for you and your patients? Not quite ready to dive-in headfirst? Understandable. Let’s alleviate those concerns by addressing the most common objections.

HIT: A Challenge for Community Hospitals

In a world where business moves forward at the speed of innovation, healthcare organizations are notoriously slow to adapt. Innovation in EHR and EDIS systems can often cause hospital CIOs and CFOs alike to pump the brakes. An article from Medium expands on the top barriers to adopting new tech, pointing to safety and workflow:

Common Objections to HIT Adoption

Change can be very challenging in the healthcare industry, however, by incorporating new healthcare technologies and informatics, community hospitals can squash many of these fears in a relatively short amount of time.

1. Risk, Security, and Expense

Often intrinsically connected—for instance a marginally expensive investment in a highly-secure EHR solution—we can knock these three arguments out together.

While the upfront costs of an enhanced EHR system can look overwhelming, a breach of your EHR, depending on how many records were stolen, can cost much more.

According to a recent study, EHR breaches now cost upwards to $157 per record–that number doesn’t even touch on resources spent towards recovery and brand damage control.

On top of other responsibilities, most IT staff at community-sized facilities don’t have the time or resources for proactive threat analysis. Working to ensure your EHR is an impenetrable fortress is a full-time job. If you aren’t going to fully invest in technology or services designed to protect your data, you may find yourself paying dearly down the road, wishing you had.

2. Complexity

Learning a new system can be a pain. However, with the right training and buy-in from leadership, the entire implementation process can re-energize your team.

A renewed dedication brought on by the excitement and potential of a highly capable system will count big towards improved staff satisfaction, which can result in higher levels of care.

3. Customization

It is true that some healthcare IT vendors just want to sell you a boxed solution. In these situations, you can often end up paying millions for a solution that has no application to a significant part of your workflow.

Investing in healthcare technology has many long-term ROIs, but not all HIT is created equal. If you work with a vendor who takes your unique needs into consideration and works with you and your team to fully-integrate a solution into your workflow, the impact will be felt facility-wide and returns will come organically

A HIT investment is not something you should go into lightly; it requires surgical dissection with laser precision.

4. Harm to the Patient Experience

Given a recognized shift to value-based care, most of today’s HIT is designed to improve the patient experience, not take away from it.

Online community scheduling tools, patient-physician portals, downloadable apps, wearables—all of these add that extra level of consumerism patients now demand as part of the care experience. Where there are disconnects in the patient-provider relationship, much of today’s HIT works to bridge those gaps.

A Change That Makes Sense

Small community parks and recreation director Ron Swanson wasn’t totally against change, like when a tree became a canoe or when a juicy steak made its way from grill to plate. For him, and many others in similar leadership roles, embracing change means changing when it makes sense and not at the expense of their values.

A core value for every hospital is making sure their communities are getting the best care possible. Excellent care can be hard to achieve without a consistent line of revenue.

Healthcare information technology can help fulfill both those missions—promote a healthy community and offer greater ROI. It is a change that not only makes sense for your core values, but also a necessity for providing an optimal patient care experience in a fast moving world.

Learn More:

EDIS Explainer Video Blog: Better Information, Better Care [VIDEO]

Building a Modern Emergency Department Information System