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We would like to welcome Jon Morris, MD, former CIO of WellStar Health System, as a new guest blogger. With over 30 years of experience, we are looking forward to Jon’s insights on Healthcare and Healthcare IT.  In this post, Dr. Morris explores the need for more urgency in healthcare.

Sometimes I think healthcare leaders spend so much time studying options and possibilities they compromise their ability to make decisions and set direction in an effective and timely manner.

Perfect is the enemy of good

An unconscious motor vehicle accident victim was brought to the Emergency Department in shock with multiple injuries. She was stabilized on arrival and rapidly taken to the operating room where critical injuries were addressed and she was transferred to the ICU to begin her recovery. She experienced an unremarkable postoperative course and returned home nine days later. A few days later she began complaining of right knee pain and an x-ray revealed a previously overlooked fracture of her proximal fibula. She was referred to an orthopedist, treated with a splint and went on to have a complete recovery.

Her knee injury should have been caught at her initial admission hospitalization but due to her critical injuries, the decision was made to take her immediately to surgery and she survived. This inconsequential injury was initially overlooked and both the patient and care team agreed this was an acceptable outcome.

The evolution of healthcare in the United States today is playing out on a complex, constantly evolving, shifting and dynamic stage. Every dimension of the industry is expanding and changing continuously – evidence-based clinical practices, process improvements, technologies and regulatory and payer requirements seem to evolve on a minute-to-minute basis.

Delivering the quality health care our patients and communities require and deserve in this environment means successful health systems will need to make decisions and execute strategies with the same sense of urgency and level of agility previously confined to our trauma bays or operating rooms.

The core business of a health system is the delivery of healthcare. Our success in continuing to execute this mission rests on our ability to respond to our rapidly changing environment. Healthcare leaders must have or develop the capacity to make decisions and move forward rapidly at scale with technology solutions and care models without undue delay. Exhaustive and lengthy business analyses sometimes compromise our agility and challenge our ability to improve the health of our patients and community.

As my former CEO said, “you only have to get it right 80% of the time as long as you remember that within the 80% is 20% you need to get right 100% of the time.”

Many physicians and patients believe healthcare in the United States is in critical condition. There are times when our ability to successfully maintain and grow services our communities require will us to require act like a team in the Emergency Department and demonstrate an ability to rapidly prioritize competing priorities and use our insight, intuition, and experience to stabilize and rescue our collective mission to deliver effective care. ‘

We can achieve this through a heightened sense of urgency in healthcare.

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