Sunday, February 29, 2004

Q.E.D, Cont. 

Last week I wrote about the inability of organizations to do the right thing. This is a constant problem in communications. CEOs can't bring themselves to do and say what it necessary to prevent bad press but they are upset when they get lousy stories, and they order the PR department to fix it.

Well, it's not just communications and not just CEOs either. Whole industries can refuse to do the right thing. This story from the San Francisco Chronicle is a perfect example. It is about a hospital in the San Francisco area that is pushing toward full computerization. This hospital has been a leader in computerizing its activities since 1971, and now, it is taking yet another major leap forward toward getting rid of paper and X-ray film. What the hospital found was that it makes less mistakes and saves money as well with an integrated computer system that extends from the patient through every department to billing.

But anybody who has worked in or around the hospital industry for the last decade and a half has known this. The industry just couldn't get around to doing it. Computerization costs money, but hospitals were losing money so they wouldn't computerize. The federal government, the states, the experts all told them that to control costs and to stop losing money, they have to move to technology integration. But, no, it didn't happen.

The story says that hospitals in California are beginning to move now in getting integrated technology into their wards, but one has to ask, "What took them so long?" It seems that the industry would rather cry about the steep costs that were holding it back than getting on with the solution. I'm sure a lot of PR practitioners were helping them weep too.


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