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Health Care Is Ready For Lean Integration

In my last post I wrote about how 2010 will be The Year of the ICC. For the health care industry, 2010 could be the Year of Lean Health Information Integration. Integration Competency Centers have been in existence in health care for over a decade – they are called Health Information Exchanges or HIEs. One of the first (if not the first) was the Indiana HIE which began in 1994.  There are now over 150 HIEs across the U.S. as per the eHealth Initiative website.

This is not just a U.S. phenomenon since there are Health Information Exchanges in Canada, Australia, U.K. and Europe. In the past few years, I have come across more and more people talking about how to apply Lean principles to health care. For example, in my home town of Minneapolis, Park Nicollet Health Services has been applying Lean practices for over 10 years to everything from outpatient services to operating rooms to emergency services. For further evidence, the first annual Lean Healthcare Transformation Summit is coming up in a few months. And now with my and David Lyle’s book on Lean Integration about to hit the bookstores, the stage is set for the health care industry to combine established HIEs with the impetus for lean practices to start the Lean Health Information Integration wave.

In fact, any company planning to implement an ICC could take a lesson from HIEs.  The eHealth Initiative describes 7 stages of HIE maturity as follows:

  1. Stage 1 Recognition of the need for information exchange among multiple stakeholders in a state, region or community. (Public declaration by a coalition or influential leader)
  2. Stage 2 Getting organized; defining shared vision, goals, and objectives; identifying funding sources, setting up legal and governance structures.
  3. Stage 3 Transferring vision, goals and objectives to tactics and business plan; defining needs and requirements; securing funding.
  4. Stage 4 Well under way with implementation – technical, financial and legal. Pilot project or implementation with multiyear budget identified and tagged for a specific need.
  5. Stage 5 Fully operational information organization; transmitting data that is being used by stakeholders.
  6. Stage 6 Fully operational information organization; transmitting data that is being used by stakeholders and have a sustainable business model.
  7. Stage 7 Demonstration of expansion of organization to encompass a broader coalition of stakeholders than present in the initial operational model.

These steps lay out a sound foundation for a multi-year implementation roadmap for any large enterprise. What stage are you at?

By the way, the Lean Integration book is available for pre-order on Amazon. Check it out!

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