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  • Samuel Mayer

Navigating complexity

Updated: Jan 19

In my time at elmeas, I have spent over two months in multiple hospitals in my home country, Germany. Even though I conceptually understood the business case for our product, it surprised me how stark the need for our solutions is in practice.

I was aware that processes in many hospitals are still paper based. I had also read the absurd statistic that German doctors use 44% of their time for documentation. Despite these facts, seeing how much room for improvement there is, even in hospitals with market leading efficiency, was shocking.

I spoke to doctors who stay long after their shifts to complete necessary documentation. They largely rewrite data that has already been recorded elsewhere. Nurses, doctors, and administrative staff copy information by hand from paper files or one software system and input it into another system. On top of all this, there are often communication gaps, leading to - for example - a receptionist having to call a doctor to clarify follow up appointments.

All this demonstrated to me that hospital IT-solutions are siloed, and data recorded in one place is hard to find at a later point in time. The introduction of new solutions is often imposed by management with insufficient input from the staff on the ground, further compounding the problem.

Despite all this, the most surprising thing to me was how well people in hospitals do their jobs despite these hurdles. Hospital staff build their processes and communications to work around the tools that they are given. An efficient hospital has clearly defined responsibilities to manually keep different IT-solutions in sync. People learn to work with this hugely suboptimal situation and very successfully paper over the cracks.

This leads to a central challenge for anyone trying to overhaul the healthcare software ecosystem: day to day processes inside healthcare institutions have evolved to hold together a broken tech stack. The truth of what clinicians really need is hidden behind layers of process stitching together impractical technology. This means it is crucial to understand the actual goal of all stakeholders, and to keep asking why. This is hard!

One of our core principles at elmeas is "dive deep and never assume". Seeing the current state of healthcare-IT made me truly understand why this principle is so necessary in our field. Healthcare-IT doesn't live in a silo, it is an embedded part of daily work in a complex cross-functional environment. Great features don’t help if they don’t get to the heart of the problem, or account for everyone involved and their individual needs.

At elmeas, we have collected valuable insights through close collaboration with experienced staff at all levels of seniority and - importantly - from quality time spent in hospitals. From my time there, I gained a profound respect for the dedicated staff on the ground working tirelessly to provide essential patient care. It truly motivates me to care about our users - the people running these incredible institutions - and to make their daily lives easier.

As a result, our product team is extremely focused on delivering new modern systems for hospitals. We test, observe, dive deep and never assume. We announced two days ago that we are beta testing now. For us, this is the final step to achieve a product that supports the true needs of our users.

We are on the lookout for more beta partners - let us know if you are interested!

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