The Missing Link between the Promise and Reality

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Despite more than 30 years of enthusiastic promises that information technology will transform the health care system, that result has not yet been achieved. A major reason is that too much attention has been focused on the technology and not enough on non-technological factors that affect both the diffusion of the technology throughout the health care system and, once adopted, its actual accomplishments.

To move forward, the field needs a concentrated research effort focusing on non-technological dimensions of IT in healthcare and that concentrates not on success stories but on understanding the actual level of achievement. A framework for planning that research will be presented and some of the challenges researchers must overcome will be identified.

IT in healthcare must mesh with the work processes of the site, whether a doctor’s office, a community hospital, or an academic medical center. She will illustrate this challenge as a disincentive to adoption, the difficulties that a practice organization must overcome to integrate IT into their practice, and the obstacles that failing to do so creates to achieving maximum benefit of the investment in IT.

Will comment from the perspective of a physician in a large academic medical center.
Will comment from the perspective of the coordinator of a national program that encourages the adoption of IT applications by medical practices through the use of financial incentives.
Will comment from the perspective of the CEO of a $50 million program that is bringing interoperable IT applications to physician offices and hospitals in 3 Massachusetts communities.

Keywords: Information Technology in Health Care
Stream: Technology in Community
Presentation Type: Colloquium in English
Paper: Missing Link Between the Promise and Reality, The

Prof. Stephen Michael Davidson

Professor, Health Care Management Program, Boston University School of Management
Boston, MA, USA

Davidson, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, is an active researcher, concentrating on the organization and delivery of health care services, as well as related public policy issues. Prior to joining the faculty at Boston University, he was on the faculty at the University of Chicago (1971-1981) and the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University (1981-1985). Much of his recent research has focused on managed care, including relationships between managers and physicians in health care organizations, utilization and quality comparisons between managed care and indemnity insurance, the relationship between competition and quality in managed care organizations, the effects of managed care on physician practice, physician retention in community health centers, managed care in state Medicaid programs, and strategies of large employers in the purchase of health care benefits for their employees. He is co-author (with Janelle Heineke and Marion McCollom), of The Physician-Manager Alliance: Building the Healthy Health Care Organization (Jossey-Bass, 1996), as well as co-editor (with Stephen A. Somers) of Remaking Medicaid: Managed Care for the Public Good (Jossey-Bass, 1998), as well as the author or co-author of several other books and many journal articles and monographs. He has conducted a number of program evaluations, including a recently completed one of a program of subsidized health insurance for working people, and he designed and evaluated a prepaid managed care experiment operated by the Suffolk County (NY) Medicaid Program. Davidson is a political science graduate of Swarthmore College.

Ross Koppel

Ph.D., Sociology Department, University of Pennsylvania
Boston, MA, USA

Prof. Janelle Heineke

Boston University School of Management
Boston, MA, USA

Robert L Wears

University of Florida, Imperial College London
Boston, USA

Gordon Schiff

Associate Director, Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice at Brigham and Womens Hospital, Clinical Investigator Harvard Brigham and Womens Hospital Division of General  Medicine

Francois de Brantes

National Coordinator, Bridges To Excellence

Micky Tripathi

President and CEO, Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative

Ref: T08P0317