Go LIVE or Go-Live – It all depends on your perspective

Posted on behalf of Christel Fowkes, Regional Sales Manager.
A few years ago, I spent numerous days with my father walking the halls of a various healthcare organizations.  My mother had many health complications, and during her extended stays I accompanied him as often as possible.
During one of our visits my dad asked a question that to this day still makes me laugh. As we sat drinking our coffee in the cafeteria he had a puzzled look on his face and asked, “Why are there so many signs that say GoLive – Of course, patients want to go live not die”.
I looked at him with a smile and said “Dad, the signs are not suggesting people live or die, the hospital is getting ready for their new computer system called an electronic health record.”
Having worked in healthcare technology for over 25 years, it never occurred to me that somebody would ever question the term Go-Live.
Meaningful Use (MU) Fatigue
To take our minds off of mom’s situation, I did my best to provide a high level overview of MU including the staggering figure of the over $30 billion spent to install these electronic health records in hospitals and physician offices.
As my dad had neither healthcare nor information technology experience he simply shook his head and commented, “Well, with all of that money somebody should’ve come up with a better phrase than Go-Live”.
I recently attended the Delaware Valley and NJ Chapters HIMSS conference and had the pleasure of listening to keynote speaker Dr. Don Rucker, The National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.  I was reminded of the cafeteria conversation.  Dr. Rucker discussed  two issues that were not well addressed during the MU “Go-Lives”.


Usability and Interoperability
Usability – The first issue is overall use. Do clinicians love it or hate it?  Most likely the answers vary within each organization based on criteria such as:

  • Communication among leadership; IT; clinical and financial end users and other stakeholders during the planning phase.
  • Commitment to re-visit current workflow prior to the install.
  • Coordination of people, process and technology.

Interoperability – The second relates to how effectively these systems are sharing and exchanging data. There is work left to be done regarding data exchange. The future of FHIR and open APIs will play important roles with disparate systems across the health care continuum including urgent care centers, stand alone imaging systems, state agencies; mobile devices and more. Use of predicative analytics; business intelligence and the potential of blockchain-based interoperability will hopefully address this evolving landscape.
The Go-Lives of the electronic health records have resulted in a tremendous amount of data.  How we use this data to assist with determining better patient treatments, disease prevention and much more is exciting.
My mother passed away in April of 2016.  My father and I interacted with many wonderful nurses, physicians, discharge planners, hospice staff and others.  Regardless of which electronic health record they were “live” with to document my mother’s care we will always be thankful for the excellent clinical care and compassion they provided.