I recently took the driver’s seat in my wife’s new SUV and went to perform a routine maneuver that I have mastered over the last 25 years. I simply wanted to back our vehicle out of the garage. One small problem – I was literally paralyzed by the amount information I was suddenly being provided.
Analysis paralysis transpired. Information from many new data points were presenting at the same time. Camera views from the front bumper, side mirrors, overhead rack (birds eye), and rear bumper simultaneously displayed in quadrants on the dashboard. On each door an interior light was lit to identify blind spot dangers, and the old standard rear-view mirror has been upgraded to a full rear-view camera image. Notification alarms were chiming from the front and back bumpers to remind me to confirm the surroundings. Oh, and I learned shortly thereafter that if the SUV assesses I may miss any of these data points, it interrupts and “breaks” on its own. At first I feel a sense of pride knowing that we made a great purchase on this technological masterpiece, but then it hits me. I don’t want to back this SUV up. I don’t even know how to back this thing up now. To make the moment more memorable, my wife was evaluating my performance and offering a few suggestions.
What happens next? A breakthrough. I simply roll down the driver’s side window and focus only on the side mirror. Yes, I return to the fundamentals of driving that I’ve known for years. I execute the back-up maneuver, and my family and I are quickly on our way down the road. As we drive along admiring our new SUV and its technological marvel, it strikes me that what I just experienced is happening in healthcare. Terms like data, analytics, metrics, and insights seem to be at the forefront of most medical discussions today. This is good as improved health outcomes can result from a commitment to unwavering performance measurements. However, such advancements can result in analysis paralysis. It is vital that we do not become so mesmerized by the data that we forget to “do something” with it.
We have worked hard in our organization to invest in technologies that enhance our actual patient care methods and processes. Our commitment to keeping the traditional care model intact is critical for the rare and chronic disease populations we serve. While continuing to offer essential face-to-face interactions with our patients, we have found ways to use new technology to further empower those connections. Providing a patient with a simple button to push that connects them with our staff isn’t a technological breakthrough – It’s using an established product in a new way to make service better. Providing patients the option to have a virtual telehealth visit with our staff on demand is not just for the patient… It’s also for provider-to-provider interactions when a patient finds themselves in a new care environment (ie. ER). We have learned that less can actually be more in healthcare.
If you cannot relate to my experience with data overload in my wife’s new SUV, I’m sure you can relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed in some aspect of life. In those moments of distraction, we are not at our best and that can be dangerous. Advancements in healthcare only work if we are able to quickly and effectively implement them into solutions that reach our desired performance outcomes. Sometimes going back to the basics might be the answer you need, regardless of the pressures from a recent technology investment or push for progress. The ability to process new and insightful information in a controllable manner is a critical piece of the process puzzle. If the data can’t be used to make something better, then it is okay to rely on the “old” proven standard