When I was a little girl, my mother had a book of two-minute talks for children. These talks were simple, and taught a quick moral lesson in a short poem or story. There is a line from one poem that was about appropriate behavior that I still think of sometimes. The line was, “What if everyone did just like you, and slammed the door like a dinosaur?” Every time that I am tempted to stay in my lane and merge at the very last minute or not return my grocery cart to the corral in the parking lot, that line pops into my head, and I think better of my behavior. Several events in the past few weeks have led me to believe that it might not hurt to have every vendor in healthcare IT memorize this poem, and think twice before they do some of the things they do.
The healthcare industry is one of the last to make the shift from analog (paper-based systems) to digital. As a result of healthcare reform, this transformation is happening quickly. The good news is that the availability of digitized data has opened up the landscape for new solutions and innovation. The bad news is that it can be hard for customers to discern the differences between vendor solutions. …
To continue reading, check out the personal blog of JaeLynn Williams, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Client Operations for 3M Health Information Systems.
Another residual effect of technology changes, especially in recent years, is that the work “silos” to which we have all become accustomed start to become vulnerable and sometimes break down completely. For individuals in transcription, coding, clinical documentation improvement, and so on, it can be scary to think that someone else now has access to and can affect our turf. At the same time, however, trimming the walls between functional work groups provides many opportunities for collaboration towards improving quality and efficiency in the overall HIM function of the organization. Increased communication benefits the providers and patients on the front lines of healthcare with better outcomes and improved safety. And from the administrative standpoint, better flow of information through HIM means better cash flow—a win-win for all of us. As Henry Ford said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.”
As standards, technology, organizations, and roles change over time, you should never feel that you have to defend your value because your value as a health information management professional does not change. What does change is how that value is packaged and marketed so that it fits within the context of the current phase. After all, the goal of any change should be to take the best parts of ourselves and what we do from phase A to phase B, leaving behind what no longer serves us well and improving upon what makes us valuable as we move forward. Continue reading
When you are tempted to go negative about a situation that has arisen due to a technology or organizational change, remind yourself of the original intention or point of the change. Yes, there may be a negative consequence or two during a phase, but its appearance is an invitation to do something about it in preparation for the next phase. Don’t just settle for enduring an issue until it goes away—make it your mission to come up with a solution that will move you and the organization forward.
The best way get past pining for the way things used to be is to make the future your cause and put all of your energy there rather than in defending the past. Float with the current, but don’t resist unless Niagara Falls is up ahead, and in that case, paddle as hard as you can and scream your head off. Seriously though, if you have concerns or suggestions about a change that is in process or recently implemented, speak now or forever deal with the consequences. Continue reading
As I sit down to write, I can hear my three-year-old and seven-month-old nieces making a lot of noise in the other room. The three-year-old is protesting being told “NO,” and the seven-month-old wants to know where her lunch is. While my brother and his family are here, I really enjoy revisiting the fun parts of those young ages, but at the same time, I am reminded how glad I am that my son is well past diapers and the terrible twos. That’s not to say that a seven-year-old is low maintenance or anything, it’s just that the challenges and rewards of raising a child evolve over time. I’m sure many of you can relate.
Life is like that, too. While it’s fun to reminisce about the “good ol’ days,” if we are being honest, there are aspects of those days that we’d rather forget or at least never want to return to. And it’s also interesting to reflect on “if I knew then what I know now” and speculate on what we would have done differently and what we would do all over again. Continue reading
When troubleshooting technical problems, I recommend answering six questions regarding the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the situation. In this post, I will discuss WHEN and WHY.
When does the problem occur?
WHEN an issue occurs, it’s helpful to know the date and time of the onset, and if it is a recurring issue, how often it reappears. At what point did it go from working acceptably to not? Does it happen every time you perform a certain function? Does it occur at the same time every day? Is it constant? Does it get better or worse at certain times of the day? Continue reading
When troubleshooting technical problems, I recommend answering six questions regarding the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the situation. In this post, I will discuss WHAT and HOW.
What happened? And how did it happen?
The WHAT of the problem is the specific issue and the HOW is context around it. It’s great to write down or capture a screen shot of an error message, but that’s only part of the story. Telling the help desk, “I got an error,” is like a patient telling a physician, “I am having pain.” The doctor isn’t going to stop there, and neither will a technician. The error message is WHAT happened, but the steps you took to get the error are the HOW. Here are some examples of how the conversation with a technician could start: Continue reading
When troubleshooting technical problems, I recommend answering six questions regarding the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the situation. In this post, I will discuss WHO and WHERE.
Who does this issue concern? And where does it occur?
Asking WHO and WHERE is important because it helps to understand how widespread or isolated an issue is. Is it one user who gets an error message? Is everyone noticing a delayed response? Is one group of users experiencing the problem and not another? You can figure out who is impacted by doing a quick survey or some cursory testing. Continue reading
Merriam-Webster defines technology as “a capability given by the practical application of knowledge.”
So, if technology adds knowledge and capability to our lives, why does it often make us feel like all those “For Dummies” books were written just for us?
These days we take for granted that our work tools are going to get faster, smarter, and more efficient. But every new feature, device, or integration can add a degree of complexity to the detective work that is necessary when something goes wrong. How can we work through those error messages, performance issues, and other hiccups that occur on occasion while maintaining both our good humor and good sense? Continue reading
Regardless of where your data resides, it needs to be protected. It may seem more secure to house your software and patient health information on a server within your facility, but this assumes you have well-maintained hardware, good backups, a bulletproof network, and secure remote access. It seems scary for confidential data to be “floating around” the internet, but that’s not what really happens in a hosted environment. Hosted systems are often as secure, if not more, than deployed, because of the dedicated performance monitoring, redundancy procedures, resilient connectivity, and both physical and virtual security measures. Continue reading
If your system is housed on the servers within your facility, it seems that your access would be more secure, practical, and reliable than if it was in a data center in another state. This, of course, assumes that your hardware is well maintained, your network is in good shape, and that your IT staff is on the ball. If most of your staff drives to your facility and works in-house, then a deployed network system is ideal. But these days many transcriptionists and other HIM professionals can work from home, so server-based in-house applications have to be made accessible to remote users in a secure, efficient way. So, after all the time and money to set up a deployed system, you may have to expend further resources to ensure internet access that protects patient information while also facilitating quick turnaround. If your organization prefers to have control over all aspects of infrastructure, connectivity, and security, then this is the way to go. Continue reading