Jeff Rowe, Editor, Future Care

Jeff Rowe is the editor of Future Care and a veteran healthcare journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on initiatives to improve the healthcare system at the local, regional and national level.

Kaiser CEO describes challenges in digital transition

March 10, 2017 AT 2:07 PM

The implementation of digital health tools simply won’t succeed if physicians and nurses don’t buy into the opportunities.

That’s according to Bernard Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente, who recently told the Wall Street Journal that part of the resistance to digital tools is due to provider concerns about the impact on their relationships with their patients.

“There was a lot of concern about breaking that trusted relationship, a lot of questions as to whether or not it would really work in the healthcare industry,” he said when describing his organization’s efforts to integrate new technology into its system. “It took a lot of buy-in, and conversations and engaging the physicians in particular but the other healthcare workers, too.”

Tyson said one thing healthcare organizations can’t do is implement a new system and then force it on clinicians.

In the same article, Jeanne Ross, a principal research scientist at the MIT Sloan Center for Information Systems Research, said getting over that initial hump is difficult, but once organizations successfully integrate digital solutions, it will open up new opportunities for physicians to improve patient care.

That hump, however, is key. “We call it the operational backbone,” she explained. “Getting a backbone in place that gets your transactions smoothly through the system without you worrying about them and that gives you some transparency to some data you want. That is a really, really big thing.”