Diane Beattie discusses key aspects of
By H. Dominic Covvey and Shirley Fenton
Beattie (pictured at left) delivered the
second of this year’s Smarter Health Seminar Series lectures at the
University of Waterloo. Diane is Vice President of Integrated Health
Information for both London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s
Healthcare, London. She emphasized that it’s possible to achieve
significant technological innovation across many hospitals in a region,
but your approach to the human and organizational issues will determine
a major portion of your success.
Video is available at http://hi.uwaterloo.ca, see the Presentation
Diane’s talk, “Getting to Filmless”, outlined the success of the Thames
Valley Hospital Planning Partnership in Southwestern Ontario in
implementing a Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) across
Diane made it clear that, in a project like this, excellent
technological decisions are essential, but stressed that other factors
will be equally important for the technology to be accepted
utilized to the benefit of patients and care providers. These factors
include team building, engagement, common ambition and motivation – all
of which must be addressed throughout the initiative.
The team members must have a common purpose and the work they do must be
driven by the business needs of the enterprise, not the information
Whatever the plateaus reached by the team members as they work to
achieve their goals, they cannot just rest on their laurels. They need
to circle back again and again to deal with all the issues. There is a
process of setting directions, doing things, going back and refining,
doing more things, and repeating the cycle.
Throughout this process, communication is essential at all levels, and
the focus of communication is on effecting and managing change. Time to
celebrate milestones and successes along the way, no matter how small,
is important. Finally, all of this is built on strong partnerships with
implementers and vendors, and between the implementers and senior
In looking at the Thames Valley PACS project we actually see a business.
It seems to us that the success of Diane and her colleagues stems
directly from running the PACS project like an innovative business.
They have moved step-by-step from establishing a vision and setting
valued goals, to developing plans, to delivering systems, to weaving
them into a new workflow fabric. As with a business, they won’t even
start to be satisfied until they deliver value to their customers and
achieve the impacts that they seek.
As in a forward-thinking business, Diane and her colleagues aim at
continuous innovation – in technology, usage, workflow and in the
effects they achieve.
As Diane emphasized, people are the secret ingredients in a successful
ICT program. Without the team, the vision, the goals, the motivation,
the stroking, the communication, and the change processes, the
technology is powerless. Without due regard for the people involved in
technology projects, failures, so common in this field, are often the