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Time Capsule: Why Put Monitoring Cameras Only in the OR? Improving Your Career Outcome with an eCIO

November 1, 2013 Time Capsule 2 Comments

Why Put Monitoring Cameras Only in the OR? Improving Your Career Outcome with an eCIO
By Mr. HIStalk


Rhode Island’s health department recently ordered an error-prone hospital to install video cameras in all of its ORs. They will be monitored by a non-surgery employee who will oversee all the cases to make sure the surgical teams do the mandatory time-outs and site marking.

(They didn’t do it before because they were they were too busy harming patients. Here’s a clue the situation was all fouled up: in one case, surgeons were supposed to repair two fingers, but instead operated on the same finger twice. Doh!)

I like this monitoring idea. It’s like having a guardian angel looking over your shoulder, ready to whisper into your ear when you’re about to do something unwise.

In fact, I’m proposing that this observational benefit not be limited to that one hospital’s OR. We IT people need help, too, because we sometimes make embarrassing mistakes. What about a CIO-cam?

I hereby lay claim to the eCIO business model, in which centrally staffed consultants (probably in India, although I haven’t worked that out yet) monitor the plush offices of hospital CIOs to prevent them from doing something stupid.

Imagine this. Contract negotiations are winding down. The final change-tracked document has been printed off, pens have been produced, and the vendor’s executive sales VP (your best pal today who won’t take your calls as soon as the ink dries on your signature) is back-slapping anything that moves, anticipating a tropical vacation and home remodeling courtesy of the elephant (you) he or she has just bagged.

Suddenly, the CIO (you) looks away, frowning and clearly troubled. Mahesh the eCIO has just whispered in your ear from the opposite side of the globe. "You are NUTS if you sign that deal without a penalty clause, change-of-control terms, and striking through the arbitration and jurisdiction clauses. Take a time out and think about it."

Just like in the Rhode Island OR, the observer may have just saved a life. Or a career, anyway.

Mahesh can ensure that the layoffs and promotions aren’t mixed up, urging you to mark an X on the head of the otherwise indistinguishable employees who are about to receive their final wishing of well in their future endeavors on their escorted stroll off-property. The eCIO can monitor your heart rate and respiration, making sure that calm prevails when the network is down and angry surgeons are lining up with scalpels and the intent to first do serious harm. The eCIO can even monitor dangerous conditions at the HIMSS conference, where a few too many reception drinks might invite disaster (like saying what you really think about your vendors or the opening speech read laboriously from the TelePrompter).

I’m pretty sure Mahesh can even cover your vacation, wiring up to the not-to-be trusted IT directors and sending them advice (or maybe a few punishing volts) if they get too full of themselves in your absence. ("No, Steve, you are not authorized to create new positions or to move to a nicer office. Put down that pen and step away.")

Best of all, the rock star CIOs who already dominate every conference and publication could extend their celebrity reach even further in an inshoring model variant. Instead of wiring up Mahesh from India, the eCIO company could strike a deal with John Halamka, Martin Harris, or other bigwig CIOs who never seem to be at work anyway. Pay them, say, $2 million a year (only a slight raise) and make them the CIO of everywhere!

Even poor and rural hospitals could then afford to get a timeshare piece of John Halamka’s satellite-borne emanations, strutting him proudly around town in his half-day visit once per year. The rest of the time, he’s sitting in his eCIO center, keeping a watchful eye on his far-flung underlings who do the real work with the confidence that he’ll warn them when they are about to screw up.

I need to cut this short. The publisher of Inside Healthcare Computing just whispered in my earpiece that, from what she’s seeing on my screen, I need to dial it back a little.

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