Health IT managers could learn a lot from my car mechanic. Mike once explained the difference between “parts changers” and real mechanics–those who are skilled diagnosticians. Parts changers will look at your ailing engine, make a snap judgment about what’s wrong, replace the part he suspects is at fault, and hope for the best. A good mechanic, on the other hand, works through a diagnostic process, looking for subtle clues, and bringing his in-depth understanding of the internal combustion engine to bear to find the root cause of your problem.
As most healthcare providers know, the federal government is insisting that hospitals and practices improve their e-patient engagement strategy in order to meet Stage 2 Meaningful Use criteria. Private insurers are already going down this same path. When faced with such mandates, health IT executives and clinical leaders can take the parts changer’s approach to patient engagement, or do a deeper root-cause analysis to find the best technology to address the issue.
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