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The latest tools and gadgets can prove to be a distraction: Four tips to prevent 'Bright Shiny Object Syndrome'

June 20, 2017
Health IT Revenue Management
Jay Erickson
By Jay Erickson

Bright shiny object syndrome (BSOS) can be dangerous.

The temptation for industries to adopt every latest technological tool and digital trend is often too great to resist. The result is often a spray of gadgets and gizmos that result in lost time and money — and distract decision-makers from strategically investing in durable, valuable, ROI-driven innovations down the road.

In the health care industry, BSOS couldn’t be more relevant. Walking the showroom floor at HIMSS in February, I saw booth after booth touting offerings that have the allure of panaceas for the common ills facing healthcare with razzmatazz technology. Big data! Turnkey population health system! Unified messaging! Fully integrated telemedicine (now with more tele and more medicine)!

Provider-side executives — burdened with supporting legacy systems and mired in difficult integration projects — are highly aware of the need for change and hungry for game-changing solutions. These executives may be more at risk for BSOS than most. So how do we pursue innovation and digital transformation without contracting this debilitating disease?

Start with the basics
One of the simplest ways to avoid BSOS without losing impact is to approach existing system hygiene strategically by accelerating upgrade paths and leveraging technology advancements invested in by existing vendors. Integrating systems and data in smart, new ways, or adjusting outdated workflows and configurations to match the current needs, will go a long way and build on the current investment.

Innovation can also come from cultural and operational transformation. This doesn’t necessarily involve technology directly, but instead focuses on how your staff is organized, how they work and how internal customers are treated by adopting agile methodologies and user-centric design thinking. Not only can these approaches help you avoid BSOS and yield results quickly, but they can lay a better foundation for adopting new technology in appropriate ways.

Use evidence-based approaches
Rigorous research, testing and analysis can seem to an innovation-hungry executive more like a dreaded annual physical than an effective method of catalyzing change. But the truth is that it works. If you don’t believe me, you need only look to the leaps and bounds made by the medical device and pharmacological sectors, which are outpacing health IT in terms of impact and adoption.

Though the FDA approval process might seem onerous, it enforces important practices like scientific study, peer review and rigorous monitoring.

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