BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Issue: Adopting and implementing innovative technologies in the health care industry.
The promise of information technology in health care has been evident for many years, yet the industry lags far behind others in its adoption of innovative systems.
For example, visual control systems have been used in a variety of industries such as manufacturing, transportation and retail to improve operations and increase productivity—but are not yet widely implemented in health care. Visual control systems use at-a-glance displays to provide real time information on numerous work-related variables. The systems commonly use standard layouts, graphic displays, signal lights, kanban systems or other methods to communicate with workers. With visual control systems, communication is rapidly and continually executed by line of sight.
Scott McFarland, CEO of Awarix, Birmingham, Ala., says: “The healthcare industry always takes awhile to warm up to new technologies. There is always a period of skepticism following the introduction of a new technology: Will the concept work for me? Will the technology be adapted to my environment? Will staff members recognize its value? And, of course, the most common doubt: What will we do if it doesn’t work?”
The Solution: To successfully implement innovative technologies in the health care setting, vendors need to carefully produce systems that are tailored to meet the specific needs of health care organizations. In addition, vendors need to work closely with health care organizations to ensure that information technology implementations result in a verifiable return on investment, according to McFarland.
For example, the Awarix Patient Care Visibility System replaces manual, departmental white boards with large computerized graphical displays that provide enterprise workflow information. The power of the “electronic whiteboard” is its ability to bring together key information from various clinical, administrative and location systems all in “at-a-glance” map displays. Using large screen displays mounted at key places throughout each unit, clinical staff can see stat-orders and lab results while support staff can see how to prioritize service tasks. The Awarix system reduces nursing steps, eliminates phone calls, and dramatically improves patient flow, thereby increasing capacity and improving public health by decreasing the need to divert patients to other facilities.
Although it is important to produce a technology that is appealing to health care staff members, it is equally vital to prove that the technology delivers quantifiable results.
“Before we produce a proposal for a prospective customer, we investigate every aspect of the hospital environment to determine if there is a business justification for the acquisition of the Awarix solution. If we don’t create value for our customer, we won’t deliver a proposal. It’s that simple,” McFarland says.
In addition, it’s important to verify to health care organizations that the technology is continuing to deliver value as it is implemented.
“We won’t accept money up front for value we intend to deliver later. It sends the wrong message and instills the wrong behavior. Finally, we think a relationship is only sustainable if both parties can see the value. Our customers may enter into shorter, variable length agreements that allow them to see the value for themselves before executing a long term contract for our solution,” McFarland says. This unique approach has enabled Awarix to add new customers year after year, achieving an annual growth rate of nearly 600%.
The Expert Perspective: Via media interviews or through by-lined articles, McFarland can offer his opinions on the adoption of innovative technology in the health care industry. McFarland has more than 15 years of experience in health care technology and has been responsible for introducing a number of innovative systems to the health care market.