While attending this year’s NYMIIS conference in New York City—an annual radiology informatics gathering hosted by Dr. David Hirschorn that has easily become a must see event—I was awed by the refreshing insight displayed by the distinguished lineup of presenters.
Each of the speakers discussed realistic and achievable opportunities to harness the power of healthcare IT systems to increase access to care, lower costs, shorten wait times and improve the delivery of care—all while highlighting that it cannot be done alone. Dr. Kathy Andriole of Brigham and Women’s Hospital summed it up in near perfect form in her presentation on improving decision support through innovative use of information technologies by saying that partnering with a vendor is more “than just doing business, it is about how to make optimal use of resources.”
Upon hearing that simple yet exacting description of what it really means for technology companies and care providers to truly work together, I was reminded of the phrase “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate” from the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, spoken by Paul Newman in the role of Luke Jackson. Far too often we have all heard the words “partner” and “partnership” tossed about like rice at a young couple’s wedding. These terms are often taken to mean: “We’ll sell you something at a discounted price and you guys send us our check on time and let’s keep in touch…” A true partnership formed around a common cause and committed to the success of both parties is much deeper and significantly more valuable than such a simplistic treatment implies.
Having a reliable and trusted technology partner that will guide your organization on what is often a complex, multi-year journey to improve the management of medical imaging and information is a critically important relationship. A true technology partner will invest the time necessary to understand the unique needs and challenges faced by IT staffs, radiology managers, physicians and other decision-makers and can be counted on to make the right decisions. This enables the partner to put their knowledge and expertise to work to develop the right healthcare IT systems for your organization, using a well-structured implementation plan that optimizes precious resources while making things better for both the medical staff and their patients.
Healthcare IT innovations have made dramatic improvements in the practice of radiology and have heightened the value that radiology professionals provide to referring physicians and specialists that lead to a better experience for patients. But there is still much more to be done. Do you have the right partner for the journey?
What is your organization doing to harness the benefits that new information technologies can provide? How have you benefited from a successful supplier partnership?
Robert Salmon is director of corporate communications for Carestream, and attended the NYMIIS 2014 event in New York City on September 18, 2014.