Electronic Health Records (EHRs), interoperability and workflow – these three topics are generating a lot of discussion at hospitals and health systems across the United States. TeleTracking’s President Michael Gallup recently shared his thoughts on the subject with John Oncea of Health IT Outcomes in a piece published on June 16, 2016.
- On providers that are having an EHR hangover after buying a solution that’s not exactly right for their needs … “The pressure was intense to quickly find an EHR vendor because of the money involved. The irony is the rush only really secured seed money and the bulk of the cost to implement an EHR was/is on the shoulders of the provider, including the burden of managing the interoperability of their technologies. In situations like that, it is understandable that health systems would want to extract as much functionality as possible out of their EHR. While combining the functionality of disparate systems often seems logical, it doesn’t come without tradeoffs — including domain expertise and role-based functionality that is exclusive to each vendor. The onus is on us as vendors to make the exchange and interfacing of data as seamless as possible.”
- Talking about who within a healthcare system is best tasked with improving workflow and why … “It comes from both front line caregivers as well as senior leadership. You need adoption of best practices from those closest to patient care; the ones who will ultimately work within the workflows and processes put in place. But you also can’t ignore the significance of a strong executive champion to rally the organization behind the vision.”
- Discussing why workflow is taking on such importance … “Two things are converging. One, the industry realizes process efficiency is vital to survival as it is to any high performing organization. Two, enabling and automating workflow can have a transformative impact on productivity and the broader patient experience.”
- On the measurable outcomes that can be achieved by improving workflow … “Access to timely quality care is what drives us. A recent example can be seen in a study conducted by the RAND Corporation, who profiled Health First, a health system based in Florida. In that study they found a 27 percent increase in total patient admissions in conjunction with a 19 percent decrease in average length of stay.”
- Defining interoperability … “There are a number of touchpoints where operational and clinical information cross paths. It’s clear to us and many hospital administrators that hospitals function much more efficiently when clinical and operational systems can talk to each other. Based on the current outcomes of our clients, we think operational automation, synchronized with clinical data, could free up nearly $150 billion for U.S. health systems in productivity and increased patient care. That’s why we remain strong advocates for interoperability.”
- On who will ultimately drive true interoperability and what will it take to get there … “As the ones who provide products and services to the industry, vendors will continue to truly drive interoperability. That said, providers and those who deliver patient care also play a role in championing these efforts. Looking ahead, for the sake of providers and the safety of their patients, we call on all healthcare IT vendors to seek true integrations, going beyond simple interfaces that can carry a cost for providers to maintain.”
- On the barriers that stand in the way of improved patient access … “Fragmented patient journey across the care continuum; lack of communication and information sharing between departments and units; poor patient flow into the system due to inefficient referral, transfer, admit, and placement processes; bed scarcity due to poor patient flow through the system; operating room backups; timely patient discharges (in order to get new patients admitted), and lack of real-time visibility into intake processes.”
[You may also be interested in a previous blog, “25 Years, 100 Transfer Centers & 4 Lessons,” that addresses the above.
To read the complete interview, click here to be redirected to Health IT Outcomes.
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