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Advisory Panel: Handling Information Overload

May 29, 2013 Advisory Panel 1 Comment

The HIStalk Advisory Panel is a group of hospital CIOs, hospital CMIOs, practicing physicians, and a few vendor executives who have volunteered to provide their thoughts on topical industry issues. I’ll seek their input every month or so on an important news developments and also ask the non-vendor members about their recent experience with vendors. E-mail me to suggest an issue for their consideration.

If you work for a hospital or practice, you are welcome to join the panel. I am grateful to the HIStalk Advisory Panel members for their help in making HIStalk better.

This question this time, as requested by a reader: How do you manage information overload about new devices, new software, and new services?

"Make the users producers." A good way to keep up with all the new stuff is to engage end users in affinity groups to bring forward their recommendations within a context of a strategic plan. Personally, I keep abreast of new stuff through conferences, reading, talking with physicians and clinical staff, and occasionally meeting with vendors.

It is a zero sum game and always something-else has to give. Like not going to the gym as much or sacrificing some extra time with the family to go to an extra meeting in the effort to stay in the know how. Or reading “Medical Economics” instead of a fiction novel hoping that it will pay off someday by making a smart decision or help  someone else making a smart one for an organization. Or reading your blog instead of watching a show on TV because your blog is so much more fun.

If I’m not talking or listening, I’m reading constantly, 16 hours a day. HIStalk is a very important source of news — very important. I also watch the Advisory Board, Chilmark, and Circle Square. Twitter is a great source of news because of its brevity with links to more detail.

The amount of information we get is absolutely insane! We have taken a formal stand on this. We split different areas up and made them the responsibility of individuals. For instance, one person reads up on new devices, another person reads up on new software, another on new services. Everyone knows who is responsible for which area and forwards pertinent information to them. Once a month, we do an update with each person reporting on what they feel is important. This way, we are all not drowning in e-mails, snail mail, webinars, and conferences. We even split up at HIMSS and AHIMA to explore our own area of update responsibility.  It works for us and no one is overwhelmed with trying to sort through it all.

I try to first see what the demand is from our end users – what are they asking for and for what purpose is the technology needed for? After that I  generally look at KLAS reports to see opportunities to identify best of  breed and go from there.

I make sure to keep my popular blogs to a mall number and read them when time permits. That  is mainly on the weekend or while eating breakfast.  ;)  Boy Genius Report and others on device/mobile. HIStalk on the HIT front, of course! 

We have an Enterprise Architect. Among other things, his job is to stay ahead of new technology and evaluate what might work for our organization and just as important what technology to stay away from. He has a budget to acquire new technology and test it with small pilots (usually using the IS department.) Anytime I get an interesting e-mail (which is rare) regarding new technology, I send it to him for evaluation. I always tell him he has the best job in the organization since he gets to play with new toys.

We let the information enter our consciousness, but only do deep dives if we have a need for a solution or a product replacement or if someone tries to buy something and they need our opinion. It is a never ending task and the first step to not losing your mind over it is to admit it is a never ending task!

(sigh) I don’t have a good answer for this issue. The best I have been able to come up with is regular networking with peers. I tend to target the items that will meet the needs of my current business problems when conducting research. Networking gives me the opportunity to hear about solutions that others have used for problems I have not yet experienced.

Just try to keep from drowning. It is nearly impossible.

You can’t read everything and we focus so much of our time on making sure what we read, communicate, and do is based on quality data. The healthcare space is changing very fast we have to keep up.

We don’t face this issue as frequently as you might expect  However, we rely on our staff to relay back to leadership the market trends – which we in turn take great effort to communicate back to the balance of the client facing staff.

Personally, I will always try something and if it makes my life easier quickly (e.g. within the day), I will stick with it. If it does not, I will move on. At the group level, we are careful to introduce new technologies and do lots of vetting and prototyping to make sure that when we roll it out we have a clear reason to do so and there is a clear ROI to the users.

I listen to everybody and look at anything that any colleague tells me is worth a look — that’s a look, not usually a meeting. Search Twitter, G+ and Google generally for any discussion about that tech.

I am sorry; what did you say? I was too busy checking my iPhone and didn’t hear you. 🙂

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Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. While most of you sound like you are sharing your new found knowledge, many are not. Frequently those at the top have meeting after meeting & rarely share all of that info with those in the trenches where the work is actually being done. And when a glitch or faux pas happens everyone wonders where the breakdown occured & many times the guys on the bottom of the totem pole are that ones that get the blame. It behooves those that are part of the upper echelon to involve & include those that do the work. Their experience & opinions are extremely valuable,

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