Risk managers should be involved in the process of procuring IT systems and can learn a lot by visiting other hospitals and seeing different systems in action. That is the view of Dann Brown, immediate past president of the North Texas Society for Healthcare Risk Management.
“I think it’s worth a few thousand dollars to send the risk manager and a few of the staff members over to another hospital that’s already using a system and see how well it is working and maybe shadow a nurse to see what they have to do,” he said.
Brown believes that the sales pitches for health IT systems reveal little about how the system will work in practice. “The canned presentations you get are very smooth, everything flows very nicely, and while you may get some good questions it’s really hard to evaluate something you don’t get to see in real time,” he said. He added that the sales pitches do not usually reveal how the systems will work for people inputting the data.
“When they’re pitching the sales it’s always geared towards the end user, the people who are going to be pulling reports. Very rarely do we get to actually see how it’s going to impact the front end user.”
In order to minimise problems when a new system is introduced, there needs to be excellent communication between risk managers and the IT department.
“The risk manager and the IT department should become good friends,” he said. “If they haven’t spent much time together they really need to start learning how to communicate because we speak completely different languages.”
Risk managers, communication, IT staff