Healthcare IT Leadership Requires a Thick Skin

Scott Mace, September 25, 2012

Healthcare is in crisis, and I'm here to report that IT is no panacea.

In fact, if you're in a healthcare IT leadership position, doing your job may feel a bit like running the gauntlet. In this ancient, barbaric practice used by both Europeans and Native Americans, prisoners or wrongdoers were forced to run between rows of soldiers or warriors who administered beatings.

Contrast the bright, shiny promises of healthcare IT vendors with the brutal, unforgiving punishment of making wrong choices in IT program selection, training, budgeting, and deployment and you get the picture.

There's a reason they call it execution.

The right technology, deployed wrongly, can burden providers with crushing workloads, plummeting morale, and bad headlines.

It's tough to gain the confidence of payers and patients if laptops packed with hordes of personal information are being lost or stolen. When patient wait times go up and customer satisfaction goes down, the public isn't going to be satisfied by excuses blaming "technical difficulties."

And yet, technology may be the only thing that gets and keeps healthcare costs under control. In all my travels, I keep encountering dedicated healthcare executives who have spent their entire careers growing up with technology, making it do the seemingly impossible.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.


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