Balancing System Changes with Organization Changes

Dateline: May 20, 2016

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

Partners Healthcare System rolled out EPIC, the medical records system used by many healthcare providers.  The Boston Globe published a story recently about the status of that roll out.  Apparently many clinicians feel that it’s slowing them down, some to the point of retiring from their work, rather than learn how to use the system.  Others find that it has made them more effective.  But the bottom line is that the implementation, which is massive even by Partners Healthcare dimensions, is causing a change in the way work is done, and for a significant number of workers, is disruptive to their work.

What could Partners have done differently?  Perhaps they did not anticipate  all the organizational impacts of implementing a new information system?  Perhaps they did not go far enough in their plans for training and process redesign?  Perhaps, while the new system meets their business goal of automating medical records in a timely manner, they forgot to consider the impacts it will have on the organization design.  Technologies cannot be thrust into an organization without upsetting the balance between business strategy, IT and organization design.  This is the key framework in my textbook, Managing and Using Information: A Strategic Approach.  But it’s an often forgotten relationship in practice, when large, complex information systems (or even small, simple information systems) are implemented without deep consideration to how the new technology impacts the way work is done in organizations.

In your next information system implementation, what are the certain and potential impacts to your people, your processes, and your communication patterns?  Is your organization ready for such a change?

That’s a WRAP!  Have a great weekend.

Speak Your Mind