10/8/08

What Health Care Needs is More Cowbell! And Some KM!

I'm interrupting the "Tech Annoyances" to make a comment on the Presidential debates.
Listening to the 2nd installment of Obama vs. McCain last night, I heard both of the candidates say that one of the best ways to make health care in America more affordable is to improve the technology and make patient records available electronically.  [skip ahead to about the 51st minute of the debate.]
Now, I know that many viewers saw that answer as an Information Technology issue, but for those of us in the "business", I'd say that it is really a Knowledge Management issue.   It will be a KM issue to pull data from multiple databases, and set up the network of risk analysis programs against that data to prevent those preventable health care errors that injure or kill thousands each year.  It will be KM that will be working with Doctors, Nurses, and Pharmacists to construct the work flow of health care technology, all the way from proper data entry to verifying that there are no dangerous drug interactions.
Many of us have heard of the nearly tragic story of Dennis Quaid's twin newborn's accidental over dosage of Heperin.  Situations like that can be reduced not solely by improving the technology in health care, but, by increasing the ability to leverage the information against existing data, and producing a process that improves the ability for health care professionals to make informed decisions, and be given the overall risks associated with a procedure (ranging from administering drugs to operations.)  That, my friends and fellow Americans, is what Knowledge Management is all about.
Yes, technology is a great resource, but it cannot by itself make health care more efficient.  Knowledge Management is the key to making health care and IT  more efficient. 
In the words of Bruce Dickinson,  "Health care has a fever, and the only prescription... is more KM!"
 

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