The DIY Trap

April 21, 2014 By InTouch Health

Thanks to Turbo Tax and Home Depot, there are now millions of Americans who think they can do a better job than their local accountant and carpenter. Sometimes a healthcare system gets caught up in this do-it-yourself spirit, only to discover that implementing an acute care telemedicine (ACT) network is far more difficult than it first appears.

Our own Rob Fisher and Greg Brallier have an excellent article on “The Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Telemedicine” in the current issue of Executive Insight magazine. Step by step, they examine why acute care telemedicine is not for well-meaning novices. Here are some typical problems that DIYers run into:

Getting sidetracked by tech features – It’s easy to fixate on things like a camera’s zoom capabilities and ignore important success factors like clinical program development and physician engagement.

Difficulty getting fast answers – If a PACS imaging server goes down in the middle of the night, who do you call to get it back online fast? Who has the expertise to determine whether a problem involves the WiFi in a doctor’s home or the firewall at the spoke hospital?

Building a team from scratch – Prior to ACT, an IT team at a hub hospital seldom if ever contacted their counterparts at a spoke facility. Now they have to become part of one cohesive team.

Why do healthcare systems even contemplate cobbling together their own ACT network? It’s often an attempt to save money (which backfires), combined with technical overconfidence. In their article, Rob and Greg examine the comprehensive strategy needed to successfully operationalize an ACT system. Before your hospital goes down the do-it-yourself path, read what they have to say