The 'fatal cost' of poor IT rollouts

'They expect technology to somehow electronically solve complex human and managerial issues'
By Mike Miliard
11:10 AM
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Too often, health organizations "make rookie mistakes" in their technology implementations, writes Leapfrog President and CEO Leah Binder. And too often, these rollouts leave hospitals vulnerable to serious patient safety risks.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal on July 1, Binder lays out a familiar list of complaints.

"They assume everything is plug-and-play, then panic when things go wrong. They set unrealistic timelines that demoralize staff. They rely too much on vendors. And they expect technology to somehow electronically solve complex human and managerial issues."

Beyond causing "widespread dissatisfaction – sometimes outright revolt" – from clinicians and nurses, Binder shows how poorly-considered implementations have the potential to be fatal.

Leapfrog offers hospitals a test to assess the efficacy of their order entry systems, for instance, she notes.

One-third of the orders tested each year at more than 1,000 hospitals "don’t properly alert to errors," Binder writes. "Worse, one in six of the orders we test that would have killed the patients don’t get stopped by the systems."

Read Binder's column at WSJ.com.