Monday, April 20, 2015

Remember - Don't Relive

By Brian Kopack

“Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe closet?”

The Breakfast Club was re-released in theaters.

“Screws fall out all the time.  The world’s an imperfect place.”

It’s been 30 years since it came out.  Even though we’ve both seen it dozens of times, my wife and I still went to watch it on the big screen.  Not because we expected something different to happen – more for the nostalgia of it.

Remember where you’ve been.  Think about how far you’ve come. Be happy you don’t have to go back.

The best part was we could watch the movie in a 2015 theater – with better sound and more comfortable seats, and when it was over it was over, and – it wasn’t 1985 again.  The movie featured a K-Car and a 3x5 index card library catalog.  Pretty common in 1985, viewed through today’s lense, they both feel totally out of place.

Not that everything today is the very best whatever ever, but how many things do we have today that we would trade for the 20 or 10 or 5 year old version of itself?  Technology exists, we should use it.  It’s foolish to hang onto the past too tightly.

Hopefully, when you look at your business, you don’t see your 2005-self or your 2000-self, or worse.

Truth is – you might, especially if you are managing today’s information demands with some version of yesterware.  You’re putting your business at a competitive disadvantage if you aren’t hyper-diligent at managing the systems that provide you the information you use to manage your business.

Technology changes the world so fast, the longer you stand still, the farther behind you get.  Yesterware is at best a crutch, at worst an illusion.  Yesterware drains you of time and efficiency and happiness.  Yesterware denies you what’s possible.  Yesterware is what you settle for.

You can’t measure your critical business processes in days anymore.  No one has that much patience.  It’s wrong to create positions for people as work-arounds to your system’s limitations.  There is less tolerance for inefficiency today than ever before.  You’re not being proactive if because the support for your aging systems is limited, you have well-practiced, documented procedures for how to do business in the event of extended system down-time.  In an on-demand world, 99.5% up-time feels intolerable.

What’s the solution?  Finding a partner who knows content management, who understands process automation and who can deliver customized solutions customers really need to help them function in the information-centric world.

Expertise, creativity, agility.  IOS is that partner.

Our work doesn’t go out of style.

Preserving the Past.  Improving the Present.  Shaping the Future.

That’s IOS
Thursday, April 2, 2015

My New Audi Has No Workflow

By John Trimble

You are sitting across the desk from a reasonable imitation of a carbon based life form sales guy negotiating the final details of your luxury car purchase. Maybe it’s an Audi, maybe a Mercedes or the new Infiniti. It doesn’t matter because they are all pretty great. But then you are jolted because you realize you have neglected to discuss the sound system. Let’s face it, other than the driver’s door handle, accelerator and brake this will be used more than anything else.

You mention this and the sales automaton says,” No, don’t go with a name brand upgraded system. The reason you want a basic sound system made by the manufacturer is one word: integration.”

“Listen, I know for a fact that Audi offers Bang and Olufsen, that Mercedes offers Harman Kardon, heck, even Infiniti offers Bose. Those are great products.”

“Sure, they are available but I recommend you stick with the tried and true basic package. You don’t need premium. You just want it to work. Doesn’t that seem like a safer choice? Fewer hassles?  Of course they’re not as good but you won’t need all that functionality anyway…it’s good enough. Trust me.”

While this conversation seems unimaginable its twin happens every day in Healthcare. The big car equivalent purchase, of course, is the EMR system. Big money, big decision. But just like your sound system the hospitals also need document management, today more than ever. So much so that many EMR manufacturers are including a Document Management component, very often branded as part of the EMR. So what is wrong with that?

 I am going to tell you three main reasons and then you will tell me which one sounds the worst.

1.  In no way shape, manner or form are they as well designed and complete as high quality ECM products such as Hyland OnBase or FileBound. They too often lack the functionality of easily constructed workflows, audit trails, document routing, alerts and reporting tools all necessary for compliance in a highly regulated HIPAA environment.

2.  The scanning of documents into the Document Management module is a famously overlooked aspect; if the system’s scanning software is not able to do optical recognition, point and click indexing and batch scanning, all allowing the ingesting of documents very quickly, the improvement over paper filing evaporates. The bundled ECM modules are notorious for having little or no automation whatsoever. They also tend to struggle with importing different electronic image and file formats – particularly from older patient files - which are now abundant to say the least.

3.  Maybe the biggest and most misunderstood idea is that by buying the Document Management module that hangs off the EMR software someone is buying one station radio. While critical, the Medical Records area is only one challenged department; there is also HR, Accounting, Registration, Legal and more. When pressed many respond with ”I guess we will just get another system for those areas.”  Let that resonate for a moment to appreciate how both silly and unnecessary that really is.

The worst? That is up to you. To me the killer is settling for something that is not nearly as good, going backwards in technology just because someone knows that it will seem easier to you.  Integration? It is done every day. That is the big fear lie that is told to protect the sales of lesser products. There is no need. A safe decision?  The IOS advice would be look before you leap. IOS also wants you to have a decent stereo in your darn car.