Today’s “IT-Enabling Philippine Hospitals” forum was very energetic. The participants, composed of chief information officers / IT heads of various hospitals in the metro, had a wealth of information and insights that were very valuable — one single post won’t suffice, so I’m going to take a shot on an overarching approach before I drill down on specifics.
What is unique in healthcare that makes it challenging and exciting for IT projects and implementations?
Nobody deals with life and death situations as much as the healthcare industry. That alone makes everything challenging.
There was research (in the US) that reported that 100,000 people had died every year because of hospital failures. That’s more than the # of automobile accidents (annually). Just imagine a scenario where the left leg was reported to be the one that would be amputated when it’s supposed to be the right leg. If that patient dies, that can’t be the fault of the last person (or persons) who executed the procedure. It’s [healthcare] a system [there are processes]. This report awoke the healthcare industry — people realized that it’s far behind in technology compared to aeronautics, that the industry doesn’t think about quality as much as car manufacturers do.
It [healthcare industry] is definitely not for the faint of heart. There are big challenges BUT this is the place where you can really cast your vision from an IT standpoint. This is the place where you have an opportunity to see how far agile development methodology can go. This is the place where you can play with the most advanced technology, or at least think about it. In most of the other industries such as finance & banking, or manufacturing, everything is laid out (in terms of what technologies may be used). Healthcare is an open field.
The delivery model of healthcare services varies from different parts of the world. An application may be efficiently implemented in the US, but its chances of working in the Philippines will be low. Healthcare requirements are often varied because there are just so many components that have to work together. There are so many standards but nobody’s enforcing/regulating these standards. And a lot of times, management doesn’t know nor understand what they want.
There are always things that you’ve got to do, problems you need to fix. If you solve something, you’ll find yourself stumbling upon another problem. But that’s what makes it exciting is that continuous education.
Your creativity, problem-solving skills, and people skills will be tested. You have a lot to understand, have people to deal with. You have the chance to empower people. As a health IT practitioner, there is that unique sense of fulfillment when you see things happening, when you start to see the results.
For the Pinoy IT professional, if you really want to shine, healthcare is the place to be. It’s like a blue sky. Most of the healthcare systems out there are in need of change and that spells opportunities for innovation.
The forum, organized by ComputerWorld Philippines together with Exist, was attended by Asian Hospital, St. Luke’s Medical Center, The Medical City, Cardinal Santos, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. The official event report will be published in the September issue of ComputerWorld, which will focus specifically on Healthcare in the Philippines.
Check out our healthcare product, MEDCURIAL, and see how it helped some of the biggest hospitals in the country provide better patient outcomes.