Can IT Act as a Catalyst for Change in Hospitals?: Some New Evidence

Can IT Act as a Catalyst for Change in Hospitals?: Some New Evidence

Teemu Paavola (LifeIT Plc, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-002-9.ch007
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Abstract

This chapter presents a succesful reorganization of a patient care process that was carried out in a middle sized Finnish hospital. The reorganization of the patient care process for joint replacement surgery succeeded in achieving a 50 per cent increase in operations. This study proposes that IT may have an indirect influence on the achievement of goals, such as productivity, as soon as the IT investment has been decided upon; in other words, IT benefits start accruing before the IT component is even in place. This is a new feature to add to the previous definitions, because this particular benefit cannot be logically derived from any of the features of the actual IT system. Paying enough attention to this phenomen at the planning stage can be vital to the success of new IT system investment.
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Process Management Theories

The term ‘process thinking’ refers to a number of management theories that have been used by industry in its quest for better operating processes over the last few decades. In many of these, the use of IT also has a significant role. Indeed, IT has become more important in a number of areas, including health care; yet process thinking has not always been employed.

The populations of Europe and the Americas are ageing quickly. The healthcare system is struggling with the combination of rising demand and escalating costs in specialist medical care, while at the same time, there is strong support for reduced public-sector healthcare spending but firm rejection of any cuts in service levels. If the two targets are to become reality simultaneously, the methods enabling them to be achieved should be chosen on the basis of how deep the cuts should be.

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