Web conferencing, instant messaging, blogs and wikis, messaging platforms, team collaboration, collaborative document management, email to fax, and barcoded documents can transform your health IT strategy. Unlike most knowledge management and other collaborative tools of yesteryear, most of the current tools are either free or very cheap. And, they don’t require much technical know-how to comprehend or install (because they don’t require any installation onto desktops in many cases).
End users are already experimenting with collaboration tools and if IT departments don’t get a hold of what’s going on, they will lose control. Records management requirements for HIPAA, FDA, and other regulatory concerns are some things that users don’t consider when “trying something out”. You can manage all your emails but do you have a strategy to manage instant messages retention? If Wikis are updated by anyone, is anyone doing editorial review? While many of these things can frighten an IT shop, you shouldn’t be afraid of the progress, just be sure to keep an eye on things and advise end users appropriately.
IT organizations need to regain control by implementing enterprise collaboration strategies but not hamper any of the efforts started by the end users. Be sure to stay in front of all these tools before they bite you from behind.