STEPS to Value Podcast Episode #27: Honoring Humanity During Technological Change

STEPS to Value host, Rod Piechowski, recently spoke with Ferdinand Velasco, MD, Chief Health Information Officer at 2013 Davies Award-winning Texas Health Resources about the impact that the increasing speed of change is having on health care providers

Hear Ferdinand’s entire interview here.

Rod Piechowski: Ferdi, thanks for joining us today.

Ferdinand Velasco: Thanks for having me, Rod.

Rod: In your observations, are clinicians experiencing more change fatigue or alert fatigue? Is it all related? Our world is changing. How is that affecting not only the clinicians but maybe even the patient as well? Is it noticeable?

Ferdinand: Yeah, it's a good question. I do think it is becoming palpable. The burden of regulatory changes is beginning to weigh itself on our caregivers, on the care delivery model. Just keeping up with all of the changes has been very difficult for our physicians. I'm sure that that is impacting their ability to deliver good patient care. That is one of the unintended consequences of all of these changes. It's difficult for the physicians to keep up. Even when they try to, it's difficult for them to make sense of it all.

Rod: Speaking strictly for me, I know to some degree I embrace change and I welcome it. To another extent, I seek some kind of standard or process that I can depend on. Those processes just seem to be changing so much and we need to adapt. I imagine that takes a lot of attention away from being a physician. How can I keep up with everything that I need to know being a clinician when my workflow and everything around me is constantly changing? Is that part of it, do you think?

Ferdinand: It seems like just when we're beginning to get a sense of the direction that policy is going, it changes 180 degrees with the next cycle of rulemaking. It seems like the stress, the emphasis on certain things changes from one year to the next and it's difficult for our clinicians to keep up with it all. What's exacerbating that is that the rulemaking process itself is extremely complicated. Not only are the rules very long and lengthy and the process of trying to decipher it all difficult, unless you're an expert in reading what CMS and others put out, but increasingly the relevant rulemaking is now spread out across multiple proposed and then final rules. It's very difficult to keep up.