In the workplace, people are grouped together or join a team so they can impact an individual or a group of people. In healthcare, it should be evident that we, regardless of the discipline, work together to help the patient get better. Whether you work on the front lines, behind the scenes, or a combination of both, the well-being of the patient is always front and center. Sometimes, the days go smoothly, and then there are those days when you just need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and determine how to move forward (here’s looking at you, Dr. Greg House).
For those of us not in the healthcare world, we watch House, E.R., Scrubs, Untold Tales of the ER, etc., and get a exaggerated version of life in the hospital and imagine what it would be like to be in the role of the provider. However, do we really know what is occurring behind the scenes? What happens on a daily basis and what challenges are encountered?
Healthcare technology managers and their colleagues encounter many challenges such as:
- Being unable to execute duties adequately in their role
- Balancing work priorities
- Pressures from patients, peers, and supervisors
- Role conflicts
- Lack of influence and authority
- Job insecurity
- Maintain government regulations/policies
- Technology (HIS/EMR and/or HIE implementations)
Some of these issues are well known to all those that work in the healthcare field. HIPAA and other privacy measures are enforced based on the understanding and interpretation of the laws. Other government regulations, such as Meaningful Use measures, have changed the way the certain clinical processes are performed and clinical data is captured. Other issues are more subtle, such as pressures by clinical peers and the inability to perform duties in their respective roles.
Exactly what would we consider as “pressures” by clinical peers? Humans are complex, and the health world we operate within is as just as complex. When caregivers from multiple disciplines team together, more than a science education is needed to make this successful. Unfortunately, traditional academic settings are not as conducive in integrating knowledge across fields, and sometimes, this knowledge must often be learned on the job very quickly. Different disciplines have different teaching standards and nomenclature, and there are few benchmarks or criteria available to help bridge these divides.
Communication and listening must be on the edge of each relationship, but this is not always applied in some cases and ends up causing strife within or between teams when providing care. These pressures and the differences in academic teaching may also be a cause for providers not to perform their duties adequately and unable to influence any changes. Add budgeting constraints to this mix, and it becomes a potent recipe for burnout and employee turnover.
This information assymetry exists not only within teams at hospitals or clinics, it is also seen at the international and national levels . Numerous regulations and/or policies that govern health care can be overwhelming to people who work in the healthcare industry. Almost every facet of the field is overseen by one or more regulatory bodies. As a result of this network of oversight bodies, providers and managers, subject to differing and/or conflicting regulations, must turn to multiple competing authorities for guidance. Along with regulations, healthcare technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate, and with many providers working at multiple locations, the training and use of multiple EMRs and HIS systems can bog down morale.
These challenges, as listed above, are not all always seen negatively or seen at all at every hospital, clinic, or business. They are sometimes seen positively – a chance to provide a process that will help the team achieve quality care and improve clinical workflows. Providers and managers tackle these issues and many more on a daily basis, using either existing or innovative solutions unique to the clinical workflow.
How are some of these issues addressed? Some of these challenges are addressed within the organization by providing additional training opportunities and addressing culture issues. Others experiment in small groups to discover new ways to take care of patients more effectively by analyzing data and then implementing the solutions into action.
How do you choose to tackle these challenges? What challenges do you see in your organization?
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