I should start by mentioning the fact that I clearly hit a nerve on my last blog post about the huge cost “Decision by Committee” adds to the healthcare system. People agree with me, yet are hesitant about being as straightforward as I was….so be it.
Having said that, I should be straightforward about my next point – “decision by committee” impedes progress. If you know Moore’s law, or have seen the new Best Buy commercial about the “outdated world” (which I must admit is funny) you know that technology advances very quickly. Not just in retail or gaming and entertainment, but in almost every industry. Therefore, healthcare executives are inherently doing themselves a disservice by delaying their technology upgrade and new purchasing decisions. This problem isn’t restricted to just hardware and software either, but integration technology (SQL Server), business rules engines, data warehousing, knowledge management sites (SharePoint), patient relationship management applications (Microsoft CRM), patient portals, etc. By the time an organization identifies the need for new technology they have a short window to capitalize on the benefits without sacrificing some of the downsides of waiting to implement. Whether the driver is to achieve a competitive advantage, meet the demands of an evolving market place, comply with regulations, or satisfy individual stakeholders, they all would benefit from a faster implementation schedule. So why does everything take so long?
Everyone knows time is money. The problem is no one is cognizant of the opportunity cost associated with delayed and prolonged decision making. They think the money clock starts ticking once the project starts. What an outdated way of managing! The clock starts ticking as soon as you’re organization has agreed that the need exists and you need to find someone or something to meet it! This isn’t rocket science people.
“Progress” in the context of this blog is when healthcare finally starts to achieve the efficiencies from utilizing IT that retail, banking, and even life sciences did 20 years ago. The main point we should all agree on: “healthcare should be run like a business” and the last two blogs I’ve written speak directly to this. If for some reason you think this is a bad idea because “it takes away from the focus on the patient” then stop reading because I know you don’t work in healthcare or understand where the inefficiencies in the system lie and we shouldn’t be talking anyway.
Unfortunately, efficient and appropriate decision making is an important organizational component that is not characteristic of large committees in healthcare organizations. There is typically a concern that too much risk may be made that could compromise patient care or safety. However the opportunity lost with indecision may be as much or more costly.