When a consultant is being a true partner to a client, they are like a sponge absorbing everything within the organization’s vicinity — from the people and the culture to the inner workings, technology, and processes. Working with the right HIT consulting partners can facilitate the selection of technology, simplify the process of using it, and help overcome the organizational constraints of optimizing its adoption.
One of the leaders at Pixel Health, Steven Cummings, a Director in the Strategy & Transformation practice, has a great understanding of the value of partnership and is passionate about working hand-in-hand with organizations to maximize efficiencies and enhance outcomes. After 35 years in the industry, he has helped many organizations get the most out of complex technology solutions.
With a nursing background, Cummings attacks the consultative role with his clinical hat on first. Healthcare’s priority is helping patients, and the information technology deployed by a healthcare organization was invested in for that very reason. It was intended to help clinicians and administrators be better equipped to help those patients coming through the door.
Being able to listen to and understand what clinicians are struggling with is an important piece of the puzzle. If a nurse needs to be at a patient’s bedside, chances are they also need to be able to communicate with other patients, families, staff and doctors, all without leaving the bedside. The technology needs to make their jobs easier, not add steps as they’re already overloaded.
This brings us to a common thread in healthcare, one that will have some heads nodding as you read this, but it’s colloquially referred to as vendor soup. So many healthcare organizations have been sold a mix of platforms and add-ons that are intended to solve their problems but instead have only contributed to the soup. There are many pieces to sort through to understand how it should all fit together to add value. The HIT consultant can help sort through the overlapping functionality with the clinical and IT teams. They can share combinations and techniques they have seen work well in similar settings to accelerate the client’s progress towards achieving their patient care and quality goals.
And interestingly, the consultant isn’t there to rip things out root to stem. It’s in the interest of the consultant to identify and fix the problems, sure, but also to make sure that when they walk away, the solutions remain in place and your healthcare organization has the ability to move forward independently and solve future issues.
One of the ways they do this is to help manage committees and groups already tasked with fixing the issues. Are the right people in the group? Are there enough IT and clinical people? Is information being shared in a way everyone can understand? What are the relationships like? If anyone has been on a family trip for over four hours, you know how important these relationships can be. They can go off track and undermine the whole mission.
There’s more to an HIT consultant’s role, and more to discuss, but for now I hope what you take away is that you’re not alone. Everyone struggles with integrating technology into complex clinical care. We are literally patching this raft while it’s already afloat. When we come to you, we’ve done this before, we know how to do it, and our goal isn’t to make change for change’s sake. Our goal is make sure your organization is running the best it can with the technology it needs to succeed.