Video Game Theory applied to Healthcare IT

My twelve-year-old son overheard a conversation I was having about EHR, Meaningful Use, and ICD-10, and I watched his eyes glaze over.  So I tried to explain it to him in terms I thought he might understand.  Maybe this explanation is the one I should have used with my client.

John and Sally have a thousand dollars in the bank.  They pool some of their money and have a hundred dollars to spend on video games.  The game they really want, Project From Hell, costs sixty dollars.  About half the people who play Project From Hell never make it to the end, and never get the chance to claim their prize.  It takes two years to play, and one or both of them could be eliminated from the game for failing to play well.

The second game is a take-off on Faust, Sell Your Soul to the Devil.  To play this game, you must first beat Project From HellSell Your Soul costs thirty dollars.  However, the upside is that if you win, which is not very likely, you can earn two dollars.

The third game, Bet Your Savings, is the most intriguing.  All kids who have a computer must play Bet Your Savings, which costs thirty-five dollars.  The way Bet Your Savings works is that if you do not play, or if you play and lose, ten percent of the money in your bank account disappears.

I asked my son which games John and Sally should buy.  He said if they bought Project From Hell and Sell Your Soul, they would only have ten dollars left, and that the reward from Sell Your Soul, two dollars, was not worth much.  He also noted they do not have enough money to buy all three, and that since Bet Your Savings was mandatory, unless John and Sally wanted to automatically lose ten percent of their savings, they must choose Bet Your Savings.

He decided they should buy Project From Hell and Bet Your Savings.

By now you have figured out the Project from Hell is your EHR, Sell Your Soul is Meaningful Use, and Bet Your Savings is your ICD-10 initiative.

Resources are scarce.  Do you have enough money to do Meaningful Use and ICD-10 correctly?  Many hospitals do not, and yet they are charging full tilt at meeting Meaningful Use to possibly net a few dollars.  Many hospitals have not invested enough to meet ICD-10.

Where should you place your limited resources?  If you are still confused, feel free to ask my son.

Expert: Providers must make IT investments on their own, have new implementation strategies

Here is the link to an article in HealthcareITNews that quotes a few of the things we have been discussing on this site.

http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/expert-providers-must-make-it-investments-their-own-have-new-implementation-strategies

Should you meet Meaningful Use?

Here are links to two presentations I wrote on the topic.  Please let me know what you think.

http://www.slideshare.net/paulroemer/should-you-meet-meaningful-use

http://www.slideshare.net/paulroemer/nyc-health-20

Best – Paul

My thoughts on “One EMR Vendor’s View of Meaningful Use”

What if Meaningful Use turns out to be no more relevant to EHR than agriculture is to bull fighting?  Even worse, what if meeting Meaningful Use (MU) damages a provider’s business?

There is a world of difference between EHR and Meaningful Use.    It is a square and rectangle proposition.  All instances of MU require an EHR.  However, all EHRs do not require MU.

When I evaluate changing a business strategy, I like to do so under the following test:

  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it sufficient?

For the strategy to be beneficial to an organization it must be both necessary and sufficient.

Let us begin with whether MU is necessary.  Necessary for what—to make the provider’s caring for its patients better; to make their business better.  MU does neither.  Implementing an EHR, though it is optional, is important.  So is meeting MU.  The last time I checked, there were no long queues in Madison to grab an EHR, and no people camping outside of the CMS offices to be first in line for the ARRA money.  MU does not pass the test of necessity.

Does MU pass the test of sufficiency?  Is it adequate?  Again, for what?  The way to answer this question is to ask, “How would your organization implement EHR if MU did not exist”?  your answer to this question defines what is necessary.

Much of MU has to do with how EHR is implemented and adopted.  For all the attention vendors are paying to MU, it is a bit nonsensical.  Most of the onus on MU is tied to the provider.  The most the vendor can offer is that they will not do anything to encumber a provider’s chances of meeting MU.  Many of these vendors are the ones who will require you to implement an upgraded version of their product in order to meet certification.

In closing, will the MU money run out?  On the contrary, I think they will not be able to give it away.

The EHR Certification Myth

EHR certification inspectors will be dropping in on hospitals like UN inspectors looking for WMDs, only they’ll be slightly less congenial–like Kojak without the warmth.

Why is this a part of the overall plan?  Is this planned failure?  Do they have reason to believe that a certain percentage of EHRs will fail the inspection?

Of course they do.

Let’s describe two failure types; certification and Full test.  The certification test, by definition, is necessary.  The Full test is both necessary and sufficient.  It is possible to pass certification without passing the Full test.  Therefore, the Full test is a stricter test.  Build out to pass the Full test, and by default, one should pass the Certification test.

What is the full test?  Same as always.  Fully functional, on time, within budget, and user accepted.  Functional, for purposes of this discussion includes updated workflows, change management, and interoperability, and a slew of other deliverables.

Here’s what can be concluded just based on the facts.

Fact:  One-third to two-thirds of EHRs are listed as having failed—this statistic will get smaller over time.

Opinion:  The reason the failure rate will get smaller is that the failure rate will be artificially diluted by a large number of successful small-sized implementations.  Large implementations, those have far-reaching footprints for their outpatient doctors, Rhios, and other interfaces requiring interoperability will continue to fail if their PMO is driving for certification.  (Feel free to add meaningful use to the narrative, it doesn’t change the result.)

Fact:  Most large, complex, expensive IT projects fail—they just do.  This statistic has remained constant for years, and it is higher than the percentage of EHR projects that have failed.  Even a fairly high percentage of those projects which set out to pass the Full test.

Opinion:  Failure rate for large EHR projects—let’s say those above $10,000,000 (if you don’t like that number, pick your own)—as measured by the Full test, will fail at or above the rate for non-EHR IT projects.)

Bleak?  You bet.  Insurmountable?  Doesn’t have to be.

What can you do to improve your chances of success?  Find, hire, invent a killer PMO executive out of whole cloth who knows the EHR Fail Safe Points.  EHR Fail Safe Points?  The points, which if crossed unsuccessfully, place serious doubt about the project’s ability to pass the Full test.  The points which will cause success factors to be redefined, and cause one or more big requirements—time, budget, functionality—to be sacrificed.

This person need not and perhaps should not be the CMIO, the CIO, or an MD.  They need not have a slew of EHR implementation merit badges.  The people who led the Skunk Works had had zero experience managing the types of planes and rockets they built.  They were leaders, they were idea people, they were people who knew how to choose among many alternatives and would not be trapped between two.

The person need not be extremely conversant in the technical or functional intricacies of EMR.  Those skills are needed—in spades—and you need to budget for them.  The person you are looking for must be able to look you in the eye and convince you that they can do this; that they can lead, that these projects are their raison d’etre.  They will ride heard over the requirements, the selection process, the vendors, the users, and the various teams that comprise the PMO.

What do you think?

saint Paul M. Roemer
Chief Imaginist, Healthcare IT Strategy

1475 Luna Drive, Downingtown, PA 19335
+1 (484) 885-6942
paulroemer@healthcareitstrategy.com

My profiles: LinkedInWordPressTwitterMeetupBlog RSS
Contact me: Google Talk/paulroemer Skype/paulroemer Google Wave/paulroemer

The EHR Certification Myth

EHR certification inspectors will be dropping in on hospitals like UN inspectors looking for WMDs, only they’ll be slightly less congenial.

Why is this a part of the overall plan?  Is this planned failure?  Do they have reason to believe that a certain percentage of EHRs will fail the inspection?

Of course they do.

Let’s describe two failure types; certification and Full test.  The certification test, by definition, is necessary.  The Full test is both necessary and sufficient.  It is possible to pass certification without passing the Full test.  Therefore, the Full test is a stricter test.  Build out to pass the Full test, and by default, one should pass the Certification test.

What is the full test?  Same as always.  Fully functional, on time, within budget, and user accepted.  Functional, for purposes of this discussion includes updated workflows, change management, and interoperability, and a slew of other deliverables.

Here’s what can be concluded just based on the facts.

Fact:  One-third to two-thirds of EHRs are listed as having failed—this statistic will get smaller over time.

Opinion:  The reason the failure rate will get smaller is that the failure rate will be artificially diluted by a large number of successful small-sized implementations.  Large implementations, those have far-reaching footprints for their outpatient doctors, Rhios, and other interfaces requiring interoperability will continue to fail if their PMO is driving for certification.  (Feel free to add meaningful use to the narrative, it doesn’t change the result.)

Fact:  Most large, complex, expensive IT projects fail—they just do.  This statistic has remained constant for years, and it is higher than the percentage of EHR projects that have failed.  Even a fairly high percentage of those projects which set out to pass the Full test.

Opinion:  Failure rate for large EHR projects—let’s say those above $10,000,000 (if you don’t like that number, pick your own)—as measured by the Full test, will fail at or above the rate for non-EHR IT projects.)

Bleak?  You bet.  Insurmountable?  Doesn’t have to be.

What can you do to improve your chances of success?  Find, hire, invent a killer PMO executive out of whole cloth who knows the EHR Fail Safe Points.  EHR Fail Safe Points?  The points, which if crossed unsuccessfully, place serious doubt about the project’s ability to pass the Full test.  The points which will cause success factors to be redefined, and cause one or more big requirements—time, budget, functionality—to be sacrificed.

This person need not and perhaps should not be the CMIO, the CIO, or an MD.  They need not have a slew of EHR implementation merit badges.  The people who led the Skunk Works had had zero experience managing the types of planes and rockets they built.  They were leaders, they were idea people, they were people who knew how to choose among many alternatives and would not be trapped between two.

The person need not be extremely conversant in the technical or functional intricacies of EMR.  Those skills are needed—in spades—and you need to budget for them.  The person you are looking for must be able to look you in the eye and convince you that they can do this; that they can lead, that these projects are their raison d’etre.  They will ride heard over the requirements, the selection process, the vendors, the users, and the various teams that comprise the PMO.

saint Paul M. Roemer
Chief Imaginist, Healthcare IT Strategy

1475 Luna Drive, Downingtown, PA 19335
+1 (484) 885-6942
paulroemer@healthcareitstrategy.com

My profiles: LinkedInWordPressTwitterMeetupBlog RSS
Contact me: Google Talk/paulroemer Skype/paulroemer Google Wave/paulroemer