New technologies fall short if they don't complement care teams, patients

At HIMSS19, University of Chicago Medicine's chief experience officer will describe an ongoing coaching program that aims to restore the connection between humans and the healthcare technologies serving them.
By Dave Muoio

While gadgets, features and use cases are often at the forefront of any pitch for new healthcare technologies, an increasing number of advocates are working to remind health systems that humans are also a key part of the equation — especially if that new, flashy tech is to make a measurable impact.

“Innovation should support and strengthen connections, not define them, so it’s really about the collaboration of the care team with the buy-in, the use of technology at its highest level to meet this individualized need for patients,” Susan Murphy, the chief experience officer at University of Chicago Medicine, told MobiHealthNews. “When you put something in and you don’t have the frontline user as part of the engagement from the beginning, what happens is it becomes more of a test than a part of the plan of care.”

Murphy heads Chicago’s “hArt of Medicine” program, an ongoing program that coaches senior and frontline leaders on how best to nurture communication skills, build relationships between care teams and patients and ensure that new technologies complement their users.

Instead of assigning specific tasks or responsibilities, Chicago’s program targets a desired culture and encourages a commitment from group leaders to help their teams achieve it.

“It’s a very strength-based approach,” she said. “We connect and equip people with the tools, we bring it into the operations of the team and the units, and we build it into the culture [so that] those behaviors, actions and attitudes become a part of that culture of the individual experience.”

By focusing on people first, healthcare technologies becomes “a catalyst for the formation of events and outcomes” that help patients meet their needs, Murphy continued. With this in mind, organizations need to understand that simply purchasing and installing their new equipment isn’t enough to substantially improve their patients' and caregivers’ experiences. “When we’re looking at technology for healthcare, be it patient-centered, patient-driven, patient-facing or employee-facing, we bring these attributes to the launch of it, to the integration of it, to the standard work around it,” she said. “We know it’s not just about putting the new shiny technology in. We understand our role as caregivers … and how it affects the patients. [It’s] very different than saying ‘Hey, this is a new product and it looks great.’ It’s really the whole, clear understanding of this as part of the work plan when we’re reviewing technology.”

Murphy and co-presenter Diane M. Rogers, president of Contagious Change, will be sharing more about Chicago’s human-centered program at HIMSS19 in a session titled “Restore Human Connections with Collaboration and Technology.” It’s scheduled for Wednesday, February 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in room W204A.

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