7 years ago, I received a terrible phone call. It was from the manager of our hospital adverse events unit. I was CIO and responsible for IT to 10.000 people at a University hospital. He told me a little boy of 7 passed away due to IT malfunctioning and some other related events. The integration between our legacy Electronic healthcare record and our new application was broken, so the doctors thought there was no prior information on the boy – there were! He died on Tuesday morning in our acute care from massive bleeding. Dark clouds looked at me from above and the sky cried with me that day. Nobody connected the dots of information that were available – nobody saved the boy and IT failed to provide the one thing that could have saved him – the right information at the point of care. I am sad writing this, even though so many years have passed.
When I started in healthcare IT, a colleague of mine told me with a smile, that this job is about life and death! I laughed and thought that the banking industry might be as well. But if you have worked in healthcare IT you know that isn’t true. Healthcare IT is actually about the life and death of the patient, a fragile and sometimes not very resourceful individual, that leans towards our clinical professionals for guidance, treatment and care when they are most vulnerable.
In the last ten years, I have seen a significant shift in the adoption of patient centric, integrated and personalized care visions – lately with the value based healthcare paradigm. The patient is moving forward and not only as a vision but also in the real world. Healthcare providers all over Europe are moving beyond talk to actual implement organizational, business model and technological solutions to enable the paradigm shift. The patient centric healthcare organization is not a vision anymore it is part of most hospitals’ DNA.
For patients, it isn’t about hospital and other providers located in their siloes of care management, it is about the journey as a whole. Data created in one instance must be made available in others which will save lives and increase quality. In IDC’s latest survey (European DX Practice Survey, March 2017 ) on DX adoption 62% of the healthcare respondents answered that Digital transformation in healthcare is about connecting the stakeholders (including the patient), data sharing and aggregation – integrated care.
Digital transformation should have this patient-centric approach, and only products or services that can help improve appropriateness of care, patient experience and convenience will succeed. The patient is already at the center, the survey confirms with 50% respondents stating that “Improving patient interaction with digital experiences are their key priority in the next 12 months. ICT vendors and healthcare partners collaborate, align, and integrate their products and services based on a 360-degree view of the patient data through a platform approach. The path we are on is patient centric, and that is the value-based healthcare vision.
The boy passed away due to a lot of small errors leading up to a major catastrophe. Later, I came to understand that lack of communication between the divorced parents, lack of information handover between physicians, lack of shared data across the ecosystem and other smaller problems all accumulated into the tragic event. One thing is apparent though – we must work together or we will fail to meet the patient’s and our own expectations – and that would be disastrous for us all in our community and region.