Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Tale of Two Learning Organizations # 2

My last post presented a vignette highlighting contrast between use of data by typical education organizations and by a high performing private sector retail organization. There is a stark contrast in the way in which high performing organizations use individualized 'customer' data to improve delivery of core services. This vignette looks at a similar case from the health care industry.

Don Goodwin just arrived at work. It has been a busy morning already. He had an earlier than usual start in order to bring his three children to get their annual flu shot and then to school. He breathed a sigh of relief after getting to his desk, the pre-vaccination drama was over for another year. He started up the computer on his desk and logged into email. Scanning his inbox Don noticed an email from the family’s health care provider, but that would have to wait.

…Don was in meetings until after lunch and it was almost 3 p.m. before he could take a break for lunch, which he took at his desk getting caught up on email while he ate. He opened the email from his health care provider and read “Your child’s medical record has been updated, click here to view.” Don clicked on the link, logged in and saw that the update was for the immunizations received earlier that morning. Based on the email sent time the online medical chart was updated at 7:39 a.m., within minutes of when the child received the shot.

Just then his cell phone rang. It was his wife. “Don… report cards were sent home today and Brian got a D in math.” Don was surprised, “Where did that come from? Brian usually gets 'A's and 'B's!” “I don’t know,” said his wife, “There is a parent night next Tuesday and I think we should go to find out what is going on.”

As he hung up the phone Don glanced back at the online medical chart. “If we had the kind of real time alerts from the school as we do from the clinic we may have been able to see this coming, and maybe even helped to prevent it,” he thought.

Health care providers recognize the value that good communication has in the delivery of service and that health outcomes improve through better collaboration between the service provider and the patient. The industry has applied information technology to its core business, caring for the health of patients. Few education organizations are applying similar technology to its core business, caring for the learning of students.

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