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3 Tech Adoption Rules for Health Systems to Follow

Hospitals’ finances remain incredibly tight as they continue to battle the rising costs of labor and supplies. New technology can help providers improve operational efficiency and alleviate clinician burnout, but hospitals don’t have much money to invest in shiny new solutions at the moment.

Not surprisingly, hospitals are being more careful than ever when scrutinizing the return on investment for new technology. To weed out the not-so-promising solutions from the plethora of options available,  Ashis Barad — who recently became Allegheny Health Network’s new chief information and digital officer  — gave three pieces of advice during an interview last week at ViVE, a healthcare innovation conference in Nashville. 

Don’t waste too much time on companies that can’t clearly articulate the problem they’re seeking to solve.

Barad, who spent years as a digital health executive at Baylor White & Scott Health before switching to Allegheny, has taken countless meetings with vendors keen to sell their products to hospitals. Sometimes, he has found himself in a situation where “we’re three meetings in and they still have not been able to eloquently tell me what their tool is actually trying to solve,” he said.

If a company can’t be clear about the fundamental issue it is tackling, it makes it much more difficult to answer the questions that come next, such as inquiries about workflow integration and scalability. 

Fogginess about the core problem at hand can also make ROI calculation difficult. If a company can’t communicate the pain point on which it is focused, it makes it hard for health system executives to pinpoint which metrics to track to determine if their investment is worth it.

View Big Tech as potential partners — not threats.

Big Tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google are moving further into the healthcare sector, and Barad views these disruptors through a partnership lens rather than a competitive lens, he declared.

“I look at what they’re doing in the space, and as they evolve, I don’t think that they really want to get into the game of offering the full breadth of healthcare services. I just don’t see that, so I think that there’s a lot of capacity to partner with them,” Barad said.

Big Tech companies aren’t seeking to replace traditional healthcare providers, and they aren’t saying that they can deliver care better than hospitals can. In Barad’s view, they’re simply trying to help the traditional healthcare system solve decades-long pain points through technology. 

Through partnerships, both providers and Big Tech companies can focus on what they’re good at. Providers can focus on providing quality care and increasing access, while Big Tech companies can work with them to co-develop user-friendly tech stacks and solutions for better data management.

When developing or adopting new technology, make sure clinicians are involved.

If a technology doesn’t seamlessly fit into a clinician’s existing workflow, they won’t use it, Barad pointed out. That’s why the C-suite shouldn’t make decisions about which technology to roll out across their enterprise without consulting the clinicians who will end up using the solution.

“Having a clinical leader that understands technology and clinical workflows involved early in the design phase is something that I think a lot of health systems are still working on,” he declared.

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images

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