Contemporary Issues in Medical Informatics: Good Health IT, Bad Health IT, and Common Examples of Healthcare IT Difficulties
If I were CIO pigs would be flying and the earth would cease to rotate but the IT staff would be pleasant and helpful

If I Were CIO …


I received this final comment from a student in one of my online informatics courses via the Blackboard discussion board.  The student has a high-level clinical IT management role at a major regional medical system.  Used with permission.  It perhaps exemplifies the frustration healthcare professionals working in IT feel.  It is entitled “If I were CIO”:


… If I were CIO pigs would be flying and the earth would cease to rotate but the IT staff would be pleasant and helpful.  The helpdesk would actually be helpful.  They could suggest something besides restarting my computer for every malady.  They would know what was running on my desktop, not sound shocked and not refer me to other people because they "don't know about......".  Helpdesk tickets would not disappear into a black hole.  My staff would not flip open tickets into another staff members' assignment without a really good reason.  I'm thinking death.

The IT staff would understand it isn't about the stupid software that came from Mt. Olympus.  It doesn't matter if Zeus himself programmed it.  If it doesn't better patient care; if any part of it hinders patient care, it is out of here.  Optimal security is not attained with different combos for each system.  14 username/password combos makse sticky notes under the keyboard, on the wall and on the monitor itself.  It makes docs yell down the hall to staff members asking how to get in.  The IT staff would understand that life doesn't stop at 3:30.  There are needs after 3:30 and what in the world do you do if you come in at 0600?  How many issues did you address while it was still dark out? 

The system has to help the users do their work!

The IT staff would understand their supporting role in care.  They will respect the users and the work and act in a manner worthy of reciprocal respect.  They have to look like they want to help.  They have to help.  The IT staff will accept the clinical folks and Informaticists not as threats to their secured domain and jobs but as resources to better themselves.  They have to want to better themselves.  There is a symbiotic relationship potential here.  The IT folks know the systems (hopefully but that's a topic for another class) but don't know the work.  The clinical folks don't care one bit about the system but they know what they need to be able to do.  We are somewhere in the middle but still for the most part outside that locked door. 

The IT folks need to be like the Environmental Services folks assigned to cover a specific unit.  They are there in a supporting but vital role.  No potential to say "not me".  Your unit, your patients, your problem, your staff to make functional and happy.  I'm thinking lock them out of the IT department, too.