The hospital where I work (as an anaesthetist, or anesthesiologist, if you prefer), has recently implemented a new Theatre Management System (TMS); not a CSC solution. What’s interesting is to be on the receiving end of an IT installation and grapple with the implications. A rudimentary understanding of Change Management tells you that ‘people issues’ are nearly always the most important aspect when implementing an IT system, yet it is also the most difficult (perhaps the technical guys will disagree!), and rarely done well. Here’s some of the frustrations that I encountered (and remember, I’m sympathetic to IT!):
- Desktops ‘nailed’ to the walls of the theatre and the anaesthetic room. It’s cramped enough in operating theatres without desktops on large wall-brackets that impede movement and have sharp, metal edges at shoulder or head height (if you’re small). Some have been installed so high that smaller members of staff have to utilise steps to reach the keyboards!
- Data entry done with keyboards/mouses. This means entering timing points at a desktop when you should be looking after the patient!
- No business or process change considered beforehand.
- Little, or no, apparent engagement with the clinical staff who have to use the system.
- No ‘benefits realisation’
Some improvements for next time would be:
- Early clinical engagement with the people who will actually have to use the system
- Explanation of the purpose, benefits and ‘what’s in it for me?’
- User-friendly hardware – how about touch-sensitive screens (or even voice recognition), use of cloud computing/virtual desktops?
- Business change done before implementation
- Regular user updates (focus groups, etc) to solicit feedback