Pointed Article that Proves Healthcare is 10 Years Behind Other Industries

A common theme among Healthcare IT is that a lot of areas are 10 years behind other industries.  This is one example of data warehousing (not termed “big data”) not being utilized.

In the healthcare sector, 80 percent of patient data is unstructured—meaning it’s not being organized in a predefined manner. The Center for Disease Control estimates 42 percent of all physicians have an electronic health record system that meets federal standards, but in the healthcare field especially there are many hand written notes and charts, which can’t be easily processed by traditional computer programs.

Pointed Article that Proves Healthcare is 10 Years Behind Other Industries

Will the Hospital Room of the Future Be A Reality by 2020?……Doubt It!

Last week, Wired published an article entitled, “What Would the Ideal Hospital Look Like in 2020?” which portrays the the patient room with very futuristic technology concepts.  This article is based upon the “Patient Room 2020” project from NXT Health.  While this project depicts a very impressive technological room concept and has valid points for improving patient care the reality is that this room won’t come to fruition by 2020 for the following reasons.

Healthcare is 10 Years Behind Most Technological Advancements

For anyone that works in healthcare IT will quickly realize that most of the industry is 10 years behind in adopting technology that other industries have had in place for years.  For example, hospitals are just now focusing on establishing a consistent EMR across all their facilities.  This equates to manufacturing implementing ERP systems (aka, SAP) 15 years ago.  Also, healthcare is just now implementing data warehouses to assist with patient care.  With the focus being on EMR implementation to gain government reimbursement the likelihood of hospitals implementing patient room technology is unrealistic.

The Capital for New Hospitals Won’t Be There

As part of the healthcare reform, the reimbursements from the government will continue to decrease which will impact the capital available for healthcare systems to do major projects.  According to a Standard & Poor’s 2011, 

“Essentially, hospitals are holding off on major capital projects as new healthcare reform measures unfold. For instance, hospitals and health systems would rather postpone building a new inpatient bed tower to see if that type of project is necessary in an environment that discourages inpatient stays.

"The average age of plant has gone up, but it’s not the end of the world,” Mr. Arrick says. “Volume pressure has relieved some of the need for plant updates, at least for inpatient beds. Everybody is waiting to see where volume goes, and people are being cautious with big capital projects right now.”“

via http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/

The Cost to Retrofit Existing Hospitals will be Too Expensive

Knowing that the capital for new hospitals won’t be there until the healthcare reform unfolds then healthcare systems would have to attempt to retrofit this proposed patient room experience in existing environments. Trying to retrofit an existing patient room with this technology would be extremely costly and require extended downtime to implement.  For example, the typical cost to implement a simple wall mounted PC costs $2k – $5k and requires a patient room to be down for a whole day.  The technology pictured below is highly unlikely to implemented in a day and at a cost that the healthcare system could absorb.


While these technological concepts are impressive to look at and discuss, the reality is that they won’t happen any time soon.  Almost a decade ago I walked through a patient room of the future from a major EMR vendor and just now are some of those concepts now being implemented in hospitals. Keep the good ideas coming and hopefully healthcare will eventually get the ideal patient care environment.

Not So Fast CDW, Way Finding Signs Are Not Always Successful

In the linked article, CDW lays out 5 ways that digital signage helps patients/visitors/staff in daily navigation in healthcare facilities.  Having digital signs in place is not a new solution for bigger healthcare entities that have had them in place for several years.  The reality is that larger facilities still have the challenge of making way finding easier and digital signs aren’t always the answer.

For those larger healthcare facilities they are looking for mobile applications to assist in navigation through the facilities by leveraging location services of their wireless infrastructure.  Earlier this year I wrote about how Boston Children’s Hospital was implement their MyWay mobile app to address this challenged.

image provided via Boston Children’s website.

Not So Fast CDW, Way Finding Signs Are Not Always Successful

Where is Healthcare IT in Relation to Technology Cycles?

Last week, Mary Meeker delivered her yearly report on Internet Trends at the All Things D – D11 Conference. One of the slide she presented is the above Technology Cycles and I began thinking about where is Healthcare IT in relation to current cycle.  For anyone working in Healthcare IT it becomes very obvious that this industry is at least 10 years behind when it comes to the use of enterprise tech to equip clinicians for their daily jobs.  For this reason, I annotated the slide to indicate that Healthcare IT is currently somewhere between the late 1990s and early 2000s.  This doesn’t mean there aren’t healthcare organizations that are more current but rather a reflection of the entire industry.

Picture courtesy of Mary Meeker & All Things D