Problems With Health Information Technology Implementation

1050 words - 4 pages

Without considering the human element, the implementation of health information technology in the healthcare system will fail. Health information technology (HIT), a tool to arrive at the best use of information. Informatics, the big picture, helps people using information to do cognitive tasks better with technology. (Hersh, 2009) Currently, implementation projects as a matter of routine will focus mainly on the technology. This review will examine two articles one from the United States, the other from the United Kingdom describing different approaches to considering the human element. The process of sensemaking utilized in the U.S article and the Normalization Process Theory (NPT) used in the U.K. article will increase the understanding of how people can influence the success or failure of an implementation project.
Currently, global efforts exist to incorporate HIT into healthcare systems. Efforts in the U.K. are plagued by differing levels of success, projects delayed and over budget and patient care at times experienced harmful effects (Murray, et al., 2011). The U.S. is suffering similar consequences which Kitzmiller attributes to the lack of studies available regarding how to contend with HIT implementation projects. The lack of available studies contributed to the slow inconsistent adoption of HIT by hospitals. This has created a void in the knowledge of how create and manage HIT implementation project teams (Kitzmiller, Anderson, & McDaniel, Jr., 2010). In the U.K., they have a large amount of data on successful implementations, but have little regard for the early studies because of the lack of evidence supporting overall improvement.
In the context of a hospital HIT implementation, the implementers should consist of a diverse mix of talents and knowledge from executives, supervisors, nurses, physicians, other hospital staff and vendor representatives. Inevitable unforeseen problems and challenges will occur during the implementation project. These events will defy project schedules, budgets and normal decision making in nearly all cases. Facing these predicaments requires reaching adequate decisions and induce course corrections “on the fly” based on new information. Sensemaking comes into effect here. When, these events come about everyone tries to “get their head wrapped around it” figure out what is going on, will this trigger a chain of events, what needs to happen now. This naturally leads to formal and informal conversations between the implementers. Critical to the success of this process requires egos to get “checked at the door” and no finger pointing these never brought a project in on time and under budget. Because of the diversity of the project team, members respected because of their knowledge and work ethic, others by knowledge and title will gain influence. These influencers affect the sense the other members make of the event which will drive their choices and actions. Now those other members, become...

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