Decision Making: The Constant Struggle (part 3b of 3)

If you’re just joining us, we started a Q&A with Steve Sisko of @shimcode last week. We’ll be digging in to see where Steve thinks the rubber meets the road on tough decisions and a bigger view of the health IT landscape.

Intro to Steve Sisko & why we like him:

With 20+ years of experience serving multiple roles in the healthcare, information technology and advisory services trades: Steve brings a unique perspective and deep subject matter expertise unfettered by allegiance to any specific commercial entity or particular product set. Intense curiosity, extensive research skills, and over three decades of evolving healthcare business and technical skills afford Steve with the unique healthcare data, technology and services competences needed to thrive in today’s digitally focused healthcare environment. Learn more about Steve’s knowledge, skills and experience at his website: 

Q & A

Lucro (L): Steve! Welcome back. Following up on last week, why is it so tough to make decisions quickly?

Steve (S): Too many committees having too many meetings. 😊

Of course, there are many reasons why getting to the point of making a formal decision can take longer than expected. And these reasons will vary based on a number of factors; factors which will often change over the duration of the buying cycle.

To give you an idea of how multiple factors can impact decision making - positively or negatively, it helps to start by defining your applicable personas involved and user journeys. Decision makers can come in all shapes and sizes, and understanding exactly who you’re working with helps alignment on both sides of the table.

Personas vs. User Journeys

So, you can see there’s not a simple or single answer to the question: Why is it so tough to make decisions quickly?

L: It’s true that it’s all very complex. Are there any easy wins?

S: This is a difficult question for me because each health constituent – whether patient, provider, health system or health plan - is different. One thing I’ve learned is that when you’ve seen one healthcare constituent, you’ve seen one healthcare constituent. What might be an easy win for one organization could be a huge undertaking for a different organization.

L: I can’t help feeling as though the entire Vendor-Healthcare-Payor-Patient cycle feels more complex and broken with each passing year. If you could wave a magic wand and fix something, what is the most pressing issue you would address first?

S: Interoperability. 

In healthcare, we typically operate in silos, with the right-hand blind to what the left hand is doing. For all the ‘standards’ that have been developed, money that’s been spent and time that’s passed, healthcare organizations still struggle with interoperability on a site-specific and system-wide basis. And interoperability is not always a technical issue that needs to be addressed, but often policy, environmental and cultural obstacles existing between two or more organizations.

If I could wave a magic wand it would make everything interoperable.

L: Some would say you’re a dreamer, Steve! This is my magic wand wish as well. A lot of vendors aim to solve their piece of the puzzle; what should new companies be doing to challenge the status quo? 

S: I’m a firm believer in transparency and the value of sharing in a collaborative, mutually-beneficial manner. But it seems we can’t get away from the status quo: companies holding everything close to their chest and only sharing when they’re forced to do so.

In addition to the thoughts on how vendors can accelerate decision making mentioned earlier, there are a few other basic things vendors can do to differentiate themselves from the status quo vendors:

  • Share an honest and realistic product roadmap – including past roadmap & milestone status.
  • Stop selling a solution looking for a problem and bring problem solving ideas to customers.
  • Challenge and collaborate in ways that make customers and their company stronger.
  • Provide API’s that utilize the most appropriate standards for the service contracted.
  • Provide customers with access to all your documentation, practices, templates. tools, and workbooks.

I understand some concerns about intellectual property and competitive intelligence gathering, but vendors need to give careful consideration to the reward vs. risk of holding back information from customers.

L: Those are all great suggestions. Since we are all consumers of healthcare and healthcare services; what should consumers be doing to drive innovation forward?

S: I believe every person, no matter their role, status or ability, can drive healthcare innovation forward in some way. That sounds sort of corny, but innovation happens when people share their desires, needs and ideas. There are a lot of ways to advance innovation:

  • Give consideration to your healthcare needs, wants, and what those needs and wants cost.
  • Increase your health literacy so you can be a more educated, effective consumer of needs and wants.
  • Use a mobile app to capture data that can be used to provide insight and incent change.
  • Be active on social media, participating in online communities and discussions.
  • Participate in surveys and share your opinion on ways to improve outcomes and decrease costs.

The importance of obtaining the best possible outcomes at the most affordable cost should be a concern for all able-minded individuals.

L: That is such a great wrap up sentiment! It’s also very timely. Next week, we’ll be looking at Lucro brainpower that is innovating daily to see what projects they’re actively working on. 


What do you think about Steve’s ideas? What’s been your own experience? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you!



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Denise Hicks
Client Happiness Extraordinaire, Lucro

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