Since we are already talking about productivity I thought it would be worth spending a few minutes trying to understand why large numbers of hospitals seem to have acquiesced to the notion that operating with a productivity loss is their new steady state.
Imagine for a second that you were to discover that your least costly resource, say the person who answered the phones was spending twenty percent of their day updating their Facebook page. Were that the case, you would know two things with a high degree of certainty;
- The productivity loss had a measurable cost
- The productivity loss would be corrected quickly
Now imagine that your hospital spent eight or nine figures on an EHR system. Imagine that the hospital’s most expensive resources, the doctors, are spending most of their time entering data into the hospital’s expensive EHR system, so much time in fact that they are only able to see eighty-percent of their patients. Now imagine that you do not have to imagine these because they are real.
Headline: EHR results in a twenty-percent productivity loss.
Any hospital executive should be able to answer the following two questions:
- How much does each percentage of productivity loss cost the hospital?
- What is the name of the project to recover the lost productivity?
The project has no name because there is no project, and that is a shame. The project to create the productivity loss had some stellar name, it had a war room, and it probably even had its own T-shirts. The project to lose all of that productivity was a massive undertaking.
Should not the project to recover the productivity receive a little attention?
There are those who believe the lost productivity is gone forever. Productivity is not like energy; it can be created and destroyed. All kidding aside, there is a way to retrieve the lost productivity, all of it. If you would like to know let me know.
Still waiting to find out your answer to this question ….
I’d like to know how to retrieve the lost productivity.
The lost productivity comes about from the fact that the EHR was designed to support a generic hospital process model. Since no hospital operates their business the way the EHR was written the hospital creates new processes and work-arounds to run the software. That results in duplication, waste, rework, and ineffective and inefficient efforts, efforts which kill productivity.
The way to retrieve the productivity that was lost, and to even see productivity gains is through engaging a firm that specializes in focusing on designing technology applications to accommodate actual users work interactions and business tasks. This uses methodologies to transform businesses, streamline processes and lower software development risks and costs. Some of this is process, and some of this involves systems.
But if you are a two-hundred million dollar hospital, a twenty-percent productivity loss costs about forty million dollars. You could probably recoup all of that for a cost of about one million which is a whole lot better ROI than what you saw on the purchase of your EHR. My firm does this work, please let me know if you would like to learn more.
I’m definitely interested in this answer.