In response to Jean DerGurahian's PHRs could save $21 billion annually, study says":
To save $21 billion annually, where will the savings come from? How many layoffs? It's these30 minutes per person, per day saving calculationsthat scare me.
For anyone who has been in healthcare for 35 to 40 years, the introduction of electronic thermometers is something they may recall. These devices were supposed to save hundreds upon hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Did they? No! Expenditures actually increased. The same scenario occurred with the introduction of disposable surgical packs and gowns. The examples are too numerous to mention.
Does anyone know about Cyril Northcote Parkinson's law? Simply, it is work expands to fill available time.
In the mid-1990s, the Efficient Healthcare Consumer Response process announced by the supply industry was supposed to save billions annually by electronic-data interface. Did it save money? Zero, zippo, zilch in real dollars were saved!
Show me the line-item projections. It's such data that lulls politicians into thinking that automation will save the U.S. healthcare industry. What happens when reality sets in? The words, "Gee, we were wrong," will not be enough!
I have spent decades in the study of healthcare expense and change management. I've seen too many gimmicks, games and illusions. This nation cannot afford illusions.
When the study is published that takes into account software design, ongoing updating, processes to fix data errors including additional staff, additional equipments, etc., is compared to real staff and fringe offsets, supply expense reductions, etc., without "soft dollar" calculations of the saving of "X" square feet of storage space per year at "Y" dollars per square foot (unless expenses can be reduced for rented storage space), I'll apologize for being an alarmist.
William McFaulFormer expense and change management consultantJackson, N.J.To submit a letter to YOUR VIEWS, click here. Please include your name, title, company and hometown.
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