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.)

Tom Peters posted this on September 12, 2006, in Healthcare.
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