Surgeons as Secondary Players

One of my favorite parts of talking to IT execs is the hospital CIOs. I call them "mass murderers" (with a smile, of course)—and I mean it (with a frown). We're finally making some halting progress in healthcare safety, but we still have a long, long, long way to go to tame the killing fields. And my point to my hospital CIOs was that they are far, far more important & central to the safety improvement process than a stadium full of surgeons. We are in desperate need of "EMR" (Electronic Medical Records); and the likes of DSS (Decision Support Systems) would help do the unthinkable—actually bring evidence to bear on docs' decision making!

Last year when I got my Medtronic pacemaker I survived the hospital—as I read the stats, I can only conclude that I was lucky. And I'd rather depend on something a little more solid than luck. Yes, damn it, I believe every word of what I said in Rancho Mirage yesterday: We are faced with an emergency, and a disgrace (we know how to fix the problem)—and the IT gang must lead the way out of the conflagration. Period.

(No surprise, some hospitals are doing a great job on safety and safety improvement. A couple of CIOs gave me their cards and invited me out; I will probably take them up on their offers, as I am determined to learn much more about this issue. Incidentally, the Veterans Administration's hospital system is, among big systems, leading the parade.)