Should our Salami Slices be thick or thin?

Yesterday the commons health select committee reported that UK NHS trusts may be resorting to traditional ‘salami slicing’ to deliver the much talked about health service cuts.

It set me thinking whether ‘salami slicing’ applies to Epro and if it is always a bad thing. Of course, it means different things in different contexts, and the use by the commons committee was different to that here.

So which is the better approach to savings – a few large changes or a series of small amounts, which combine incrementally to something significant. As ever the answer is almost certainly something along the lines of ‘it depends’ or ‘both are useful’.

Healthcare IT (which is our core business) is often touted as a means of achieving savings. Whilst obviously we like to hear that, and indeed sometimes our sales people peddle that message, personally I think a more palatable wording would be along the lines of ‘business change projects, supported by IT systems, can deliver significant savings.’ Without associated business change, it’s unlikely an IT system will deliver significant savings on its own.

This is one reason why we partner with other companies, to deliver whole solutions rather than technology installations. One example of a single big saving comes from a large trust who purchased a solution combining Epro clinical correspondence, Winscribe Digital Dictation and Dragon Speech recognition with the aim of a 1.5 million spend to achieve a 9 million saving. There is certainly much technology involved, but the key to realizing the savings is the associated re-organization of people.