From conception to design to implementation, faulty systems can endanger patients.
Further, one astute author of an article entitled "Faulty Construction" in the journal ForTheRecord.com (link) observes that:
Critics wonder what good it is to invest in EHR technology if it fails to engender itself to users who feel betrayed by its lack of intuitiveness.
Inexperience is a critical factor in creating and implementing HIT that "betrays" users in many ways (see, for example, here on mission hostile HIT).
With these issues in mind, here is how the major HIT vendor, EPIC, recommends hospitals staff their clinical IT projects. It also follows that they staff their own development teams in the same manner.
The recommendations are largely outrageous, especially in the context of medical environments where uninformed, unconsenting patients are subjected to IT experimentation in clinical matters.
From this link at the "Histalk" site on staffing of health IT projects, Aug. 16, 2010. Emphases mine:
Epic Staffing Guide
A reader sent over a copy of the staffing guide that Epic provides to its customers. I thought it was interesting, first and foremost in that Epic is so specific in its implementation plan that it sends customers an 18-page document on how staff their part of the project.
Epic emphasizes that many hospitals can staff their projects internally, choosing people who know the organization. However, they emphasize choosing the best and brightest, not those with time to spare. Epic advocates the same approach it takes in its own hiring: don’t worry about relevant experience, choose people with the right traits, qualities, and skills, they say.
The guide suggests hiring recent college graduates for analyst roles. Ability is more important than experience, it says. That includes reviewing a candidate’s college GPA and standardized test scores.
I bet many readers were taught by their HR departments to do behavioral interviewing, i.e. “Tell me about a time when you …” Epic says that’s crap, suggesting instead that candidates be given scenarios and asked how they would respond. They also say that interviews are not predictive of work quality since some people just interview well.
Don’t just hire the agreeable candidate, the guide says, since it may take someone annoying to push a project along or to ask the hard but important questions that all the suck-ups will avoid.
Epic likes giving candidates tests, particularly those of the logic variety.
While there's some good here, the part about "not worrying about relevant experience" and about "hiring recent college graduates as HIT project analysts" is downright frightening.
Medical environments and clinical affairs are not playgrounds for novices, no matter how "smart" their grades and test scores show them to be. These practices as described, in my view, represent faulty and dangerous advice on first principles.
The advice also is at odds with the taxonomy of skills published by the Office of the National Coordinator I outlined at the post "ONC Defines a Taxonomy of Robust Healthcare IT Leadership."
One wonders if these recommendations are simply the idiosyncratic opinions of EPIC's leadership. They certainly deviate wildly from medicine's culture (e.g., of rigorous domain-specific training, and certification where the test cannot even be taken without prerequisite, very specific experience).
One could also look at these recommendations from an economic perspective. The word "cheap" and a corollary concept, "age discrimination" come to mind regarding a stated preference for recent graduates over experienced personnel.
Finally, from a personal perspective, my grades and test results out of high school and college were very high, e.g., a perfect 800 in math on the SAT, high grades in advanced courses in the 'hard sciences' - not to mention, advanced computer courses such as in IBM mainframe assembly language programming.
Yet the ‘modern me’ (after medical, further IT and informatics education and hard earned applied experience) knows that I would not have wanted the ‘young me’ to have been involved in critical clinical IT functions on that basis.