In a word, YES. We have talked to countless organizations who have purchased a reporting package with great anticipation – only to have disappointing results. Why? Here are some of the expectations that proved to be a little too high:
It is rare in a complex hospital setting to find a software package that is truly plug and play. There is real work involved in locating the data you want to use, extracting it from the source system, normalizing it and utilizing it in the reporting software – especially if you want to do it on a repeatable and reliable basis.
It sounds so easy to have reports that are already prepared and ready to go. You just add the data and you’re all set. Unfortunately, it doesn’t often work out so well in practice. There are too many variables that must be considered to have truly meaningful data – variables such as organization structure, definitions, algorithms, drill down capability and level of detail. Most people find they need more options than the starter set provides.
Nothing is more frustrating that trying to do-it-yourself and hitting a problem. Who can you call? Do they really know how to help you (or are they just reading a script)? Will they charge for the time? Unfortunately, we’ve all been there.
The bottom line: it’s not about the tools alone… but how we utilize the tools. So what’s missing? SKILL. Getting true value from your decision support effort requires a set of skills – the tools are secondary. We expect too much when we assume that the purchase of the software is the total answer. Tools alone will always fall short. To learn more about the skill required read Find Meaning in Your Hospital’s Data.