Improvement of workflow and processes to ease and enrich meaningful use of health information technology
Ranjit Singh,1 Ashok Singh,2 Devan R Singh,3 Gurdev Singh1
1Department of Family Medicine, UB Patient Safety Research Center, School of Medicine and Management, State University of NY at Buffalo, NY, USA; 2Niagara Family Medicine Associates, Niagara Falls, NY, USA; 3SaferPatients LLC, Lewiston, NY, USA
Abstract: The introduction of health information technology (HIT) can have unexpected and unintended patient safety and/or quality consequences. This highly desirable but complex intervention requires workflow changes in order to be effective. Workflow is often cited by providers as the number one 'pain point'. Its redesign needs to be tailored to the organizational context, current workflow, HIT system being introduced, and the resources available. Primary care practices lack the required expertise and need external assistance. Unfortunately, the current methods of using esoteric charts or software are alien to health care workers and are, therefore, perceived to be barriers. Most importantly and ironically, these do not readily educate or enable staff to inculcate a common vision, ownership, and empowerment among all stakeholders. These attributes are necessary for creating highly reliable organizations. We present a tool that addresses US Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical (ACGME) competency requirements. Of the six competencies called for by the ACGME, the two that this tool particularly addresses are 'system-based practice' and 'practice-based learning and continuing improvement'. This toolkit is founded on a systems engineering approach. It includes a motivational and orientation presentation, 128 magnetic pictorial and write-erase icons of 40 designs, dry-erase magnetic board, and five visual aids for reducing cognitive and emotive biases in staff. Pilot tests were carried out in practices in Western New York and Colorado, USA. In addition, the toolkit was presented at the 2011 North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG) meeting and an Agency for Health Research and Quality (AHRQ) meeting in 2013 to solicit responses from attendees. It was also presented to the officers of the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for HIT. All qualitative feedback was extremely positive and enthusiastic. The respondents recommended that the toolkit be disseminated widely to improve staff education and training, leading to practice improvements.
Keywords: education, health, practice, quality, reliability, safety
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