Staff Prepare For Procedures Without Being Told, EHR Workflow System Coordinates

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What’s it like to actually use an EHR workflow system? In 2003, 2004 and 2005, the first three HIMSS Davies awards for excellence in ambulatory EHR use went to an EHR workflow system. I’m quoting from those 15 page applications. In the lower right, you can see ehr.bz/himssdavies2003. You can actually pull up the original application and I’m quoting from it. Dr. Cooper, a pediatrician is talking about, you might talking about an electronic health record, he’s talking about a workflow management system.

It allows him to “customize and streamline collaboration among providers and staff in ways that improve efficiency.” For example, while he’s in the exam room of the patient, in addition to documenting, he’s also directing and delegating. That’s a starburst of arrows in the workflow model that are going from the left side with smart sequences out to simultaneous actions. He says, “We pass each other, me on the way out, they on the way in. I go immediately to the next patient while they immediately perform their procedures. I don’t have to find them; I don’t have to tell them what to do.”

I visited a practice using the EHR workflow system and it was really strange. It’s one of those Stooges’ hallways, with the Three Stooges and they’re running out of the doors and they’re crossing into the other door and then, without saying anything to each other, what I couldn’t figure out is how do they know where to go next. As he says right here, it’s the EHR workflow management system that’s taking care of that task driven communication, which is what workflow systems and EHR workflow systems excel at.

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