August 24, 2005
I haven't had much time to think about the research paper in a few days. I'm leaning towards trying to do something with the RHIO. I have to get in touch with them, and see about any research opportunities. That's it for now.
August 15, 2005
I just came across this book:
The site says it includes "hospital budgets as well as financial, technology and departmental environments." This may have some data I can use, but it says the book is an executive study with the full report available in July. I'll see what it has. I wonder if UMN has access to HIMSS analytics books.
Today, I was talking about possible ideas for my thesis with a very wise man. He told me, "You know what they call a MHA student that does a simple thesis?... MHA."
Due to this conversation, other ideas I had for my course 3 project have gained some steam. The ideas now in the running are listed:
1) The impact of IT idea.
2) The effect of the Kronos timekeeping system on time management/time savings over paper timesheet/etc.
3) The effect of clinical documentation system on patient care/deductions in receivables/days in AR/clinician productivity/etc./ or an index of them all.
4) The effect of robots in pharmacy on medication errors/pharmacy productivity/etc.
5) The effect of RFID on hospital supply chain management.
6) The effect of IP Telephony on MIS Department Structure/Time Spent Managing Telephone problems/mobile worker effectiveness.
7) The effect of contact centers and centralized scheduling on customer service/employee satisfaction/clinician productivity by ensuring no idle clinicians regardless of location.
8) The effect of house-wide document imagining on patient safety/clinician satisfaction/medical records effectiveness and efficiency.
9) The effect of Regional Health Information Organizations on community health - whoa, whoa, whoa. getting away from doable again. However, there might be something good and cutting edge I could do with a RHIO.
10) The effect of patient portals on patient satisfaction/patient education/patient access/billing (more valid registration data).
11) The effect of ___[any IT system supposedly important in the future of healthcare that I can get data on]___ on ___[the thing that is supposed to be effected]___.
Suggestions for filling in the blanks in #11 are welcome in the comments section.
So, I apparently have some ideas. I'm going to now make a call since I have to have my research proposal ready by September 30th. I am going to say that if I don't have a good bead on getting the data I need to do my "impact on IT idea" by 8.27, then I'm going to bag that idea and look closely at a specific system for my research project.
I got a paper from HIMSS Analytics today entitled "Measuring the Impact of IT." Great title, right? It was very interesting, but a little discouraging as far as the Course 3 project goes. Eight pages of the eight page article are essentially spent talking about how hard it is to measure the impact of IT. Ugh.
I have put a lot of "ughs" in this blog so far.
Everybody be cool.
August 13, 2005
We got through the first day of research class yesterday. 8 1/2 hours. It wasn't as bad as it could have been, especially considering how much we celebrated the night before.
We celebrated the completion of the Course 3 on-campus portion of ISP by chartering a boat to take us around Lake Minnetonka. The trip on the Lake is a little step up from the boat trip in Course 1 and 2. It was very quaint, there was good service, and Lake Minnetonka is beautiful. It was nice to sit around and cruise the lake.
I got a chance to talk to Vern about my project idea on the boat. I'm interested in looking at the impact Information Technology (IT) use on the success[failure] of healthcare organizations. Many of us are chronicly under-investing in IT. Most would say its hard to come up with the money because of the generally accepted necessity of large capital investment in physical plants and medical technology and large investment in the highly skilled personnel it takes to do our good work.
Resource allocation is all about priorities. Chronic under-investment can indicate a lot of things. One thing it can indicate is that its not under-investment, its right-size investment... Ugh.
Okay, I'll leave the research paper for the research paper. Generally speaking, my idea, like I mentioned, is to look at the impact of IT on healthcare organizations. In my advisor group, we talked about limiting the sample to negate some of the variability that could create noise in my results. I work at a stand-alone rehab facility and there aren't that many of those around the country. We decided my type of organization might be a good candidate.
I talked with Vern about it, and he suggested I look at Children's hospital instead of stand alone rehab facilities. Its the same idea of sticking with a subset of types of healthcare organizations for better control, but there aren't really enough of my type of information to do a good study. There are enough Children's hospitals for a good sample, and, more importantly, they apparently have a strong association that collects and keeps good data.
I think looking at Children's hospitals is a good idea. My organization has a good relationship with the Children's hospital down the street, so I might be able to talk with someone over there. I hope I'm on to something.
I'm on a plane heading home in 8 hours. ISP on-campus is a great experience every time, but I can't wait to get home.
August 11, 2005
Course 3 On-Campus Complete
Well everyone and no one... the on-campus portion of Course 3 is complete. Stick-to-it-iveness is tested while on campus, but the hell starts with the independent part of the model. The independent part starts in a couple of days.
Once again, my time here at the U with ISP has proven illuminating and engergizing, all the while, peppered with moments of panic in the face of the remaining journey. The mountain of work and lightbulb-moments ahead make my mouth water and my knees shake at the same time. Anything worth having...
The biggest thing on my mind is the Course 3 Project. Oddly enough, the approximately 600 pages we have to read and 4 papers we have to write over the next 16 weeks don't seem like a big deal. And hell, I'm just choosing to be in denial about my outstanding Course 2 paper and the impending research classtime and assignments. ISP has skewed me a little, no doubt.
What does seem like a big deal is this project. In the midst of all the work of the first 16 weeks, we need to create a project proposal. For the project proposal, I need to have the hypotheses, research questions, data, etc. defined and nearly ready to rock. Doable, but Ugh. The good new is, I will finally get to see how lovely Minnesota is in the winter.
I hope to chronicle some of my journey on this blog. I'm sure my fingers won't feel like typing any more than I will be typing on my papers, but who knows. Dr. Williams, Kelly, and I had a great conversation about our projects today, so I'm going to do some surfing and see if I can't follow up on some of the ideas.
So, to wrap up, Course 3 is going to be a trip. Who knows what's next, but the road to here has been well worth it. Sleep is overrated anyway.