Why healthcare IT projects fail

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Six major reasons that do not apply only to healthcare.

It is not uncommon to read commentaries from healthcare thought leaders about healthcare IT projects that fail, either failing to meet objectives, failing to come in on time/on budget, or failing entirely. Within the provider community there seems to be an abundance of anecdotal stories of EHR and other technology failures. Some of these stories are perpetuated by the EHR software vendors themselves. Right after a practice has had a very promising demo from software vendor A, software vendor B comes in and says, righteously, “Oh, we just deinstalled system A in a practice. It was a disaster but now they are very happy.”

These stories, some no doubt real and some perhaps not, tend to stir up angst about healthcare IT projects in general and EHRs in particular.

Why do IT projects fail? Here are the major reasons, and they affect not only healthcare but other industries as well:

It is critical that all the appropriate skills, planning, and management go into an HIT project before, during, and after implementation. Failure to understand and avoid the problems that plague all IT projects will almost guarantee certain failure.