From UCSFWatch: “Re: UCSF CIO’s e-mail. The GE Centricity Enterprise project is in full stop mode.” The attached and unverified e-mail from CIO Larry Lotenero says this: “The medical center’s Senior Management Group has engaged Kurt Salmon Associates (KSA) to assist us with a review of our IT clinical strategy. We are doing the review because we are dissatisfied with our progress to implement clinical applications to support the care of our patients. KSA will arrange interviews with many of you to capture your insights for the strategy planning. They will be on-site to begin their interviews on August 18. If KSA contacts you, I ask that you be as flexible as possible with your schedule to accommodate this process. We expect to receive a final report before November. For now, all activities associated with developing the GE clinical system should immediately be put on hold. Despite this action, we remain fully focused on our goal to complement our excellent clinical care providers with equally excellent clinical applications as soon as possible.”
If true (as it likely is), I find this remarkable.
I would have to refer to it as "UCSF Healthcare IT Failure, Act 2" for reasons just below.
I find it remarkable that this resource- and money-wasting scenario (with possible adverse patient care repercussions) can occur:
- In a state that's in a severe economic crisis,
- At an organization that failed severely in a HIT and administrative IT merger just ten years ago (in the failed, late 1990's attempted merger between UCSF and Stanford's medical centers, see the 2000 stories "UCSF/Stanford: Marriage was rough; divorce is expensive" here and "A thousand MIS personnel cannot merge two healthcare systems" here),
- With an EHR product, Centricity, that is the descendant of Logician that others have implemented successfully (including myself, speaking from experience),
- With GE, a major global high technology vendor, presiding over this new failure at a major academic medical center,
- With ample preventive material available in books, journals on the web about such failures (e.g., at the many pages and links here and here, as just a few examples).
This last point raises additional questions:
- Do IT managers at UCSF and GE actually read the HIT literature and the web, I wonder? Have they ever done a Google search on "healthcare IT difficulties" or "healthcare IT failure", or related concepts?
- Do they think the materials found via such searches frivolous, useless, or not credible?
Finally, it is quite remarkable that the best UCSF can do is hire yet another expensive management consulting firm to try to remediate this failure. What are UCSF IT personnel paid to do, exactly?
Perhaps AMIA, AHRQ, HHS and others in the administration need to focus less on new research on figuring why these situations occur, and devote resources to ensuring modern knowledge of HIT failure scenarios already extant is leveraged.
If not, we're likely (as I fear) to have a lot of UCSF Act 2's in the next few years, as organizations attempt to implement HIT by 2014 so as to not be penalized by HIT provisions in the ARRA act.
Perhaps (again, if the HISTalk note is true), we need to bring back the likes of "Neutron Jack" (Jack Welch, well known for laying off less than stellar divisions at GE), and perhaps the Governator needs to "terminate" the roles of the leadership of this project.