Bill Woodson of Sg2 has a short piece in Health Care's Most Wired Magazine on technology planning and the growing impact both IT and clinical factors have on project costs and eventual success. Bill's example is a new 64 slice CT that the radiologists want – that would bring this fictional hospital's PACS and network to its knees (the exam size for 64 slice CTs is considerably larger than exams from earlier technologies).

Just about any technology purchase these days impacts both clinical practice and IT. Medical devices are clearly clinical, but also affect EMR data integration. Wireless VoIP is usually considered an IT/telecommunications decision, but with integration solutions from companies like Emergin, wireless VoIP has significant clinical implications. The point of care is probably the best example of this – you can't buy any one of the following without impacting all the others – nurse call, wireless phones, patient monitors, smart pumps, indoor positioning, and your clinical information system.

As clinical technology and IT begin to
converge, hospitals will have new opportunities to offer optimal
performance in their operating rooms, emergency departments and nearly
every other part of the clinical enterprise. Technology convergence
will depend on networks, data storage and retrieval strategies, and
“smart” devices, operating in a “context-aware” environment.

In my experience, the IT folks are just as likely to rush things ahead without a full appreciation for the broader implications. A while back I was at a major west coast university teaching hospital; they were evaluating wireless vital signs monitors in anticipation of their EMR. There were almost 10 hospital people in the room – none of them from nursing or biomedical engineering. I've heard variations of this scenario playing out in hospitals more than once.

Another example I wrote about yesterday is WLAN deployment – that's why it seems you're doing another site survey every time you turn around.

Bill closes out with some free advice on how best to proceed when IT and the clinical co-mingle. If you're facing a similar situation, drop me a line and let's see what we can do about it.