Welcome to Sustaining Healthcare IT.
I write this having recently used my alleged charm, wits, and experience to help an IT Director stare down a CFO who thought that it would be a good idea to buy an almost obsolete SAN to run their MEDITECH upgrade and then depreciate it over 7 years. Customer and staff will remain nameless for obvious reasons, but in their defense, this scenario happens every day. Non-technical administrators who grew up in the lands of myth and magic think that IT should cost just north of 1% of net patient revenue, while doctors want advanced clinical software to run at subsecond response times and never take a downtime. In rough terms, much of healthcare IT has been historically implemented on “hobbyist-grade” compute architectures, but we are all now being held accountable for “professional-strength” results.
We launch our new Blog into the gale winds of change in Healthcare Information Technology. ARRA is driving our customers and partners to almost impossible, clock-defying acts of IT valor which have reasonably driven the role of IT in clinical transformation to the forefront of every conversation, while at the same time making the pragmatic among us think about the difference between effecting true change and achieving a statistical metric. Underneath this transformation is the “technical assumption” that somehow the IT engine providing the compute horsepower beneath the applications and workflows is stable, well-understood, and reliable. And therein lies the rub: every day we meet customers who are not only changing at the applications and workflow level, but who are trying to make matching changes “under the hood” in the datacenter level to insure that those tens, hundreds, or even thousands of online physician orders a day don’t disappear into the endless night of a digital void. Sustaining Healthcare IT is a short version of Park Place’s mission – to help our customers and partners achieve Operational Sustainability. For us, Operational Sustainability is that place where your technology infrastructure aids and abets your Healthcare IT Mission, but otherwise recedes happily into the background as a reliable utility, whether that utility lives in your datacenter, in the “cloud”, or as we increasingly see in the real world, in both places – the so-called “hybrid cloud.”
We could have done a lot of different things as we re-envisioned Park Place International to meet the changing needs of the MEDITECH community. A lot of good ideas were set aside to focus on one thing: helping our mutual customers with MEDITECH get “the technology part” right. We have assembled a team of engineers, IT operations experts, and consultants whose dominant gene is technology applied to the optimization of MEDITECH in every shape, flavor, color, and sizing. Twice a week we’ll post their thoughts – sometimes cynical, sometimes humorous, and sometimes serious – but always with the goal of moving towards sustainable Healthcare Information Technology. We look forward to your comments, guest posts, and feedback!
Jim Fitzgerald is Executive Vice-President and CTO of Park Place International where he is responsible for technology solutions strategy, development, and quality spanning the entire Park Place portfolio of Technology Integration, Technical Consulting, and Cloud Services. In his 28 year career, Jim has enjoyed the opportunity to observe and participate in the evolution of network computing platforms and their application to business and healthcare workflows. His current passion is helping hospitals developing the right mixture of local and cloud-delivered services in order to achieve operational sustainability.