Thursday, February 27, 2014
Monday, November 26, 2012
noun, plural syn·er·gies.1.the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements,contributions, etc.; synergism.2.Physiology, Medicine/Medical . the cooperative action of two or more muscles, nerves, or the like.3.Biochemistry, Pharmacology . the cooperative action of two or more stimuli or drugs.
Synergy is often listed as one of the most hated words in the corporate world. However, achieving synergy between clinicians and health care technology is a crucial element in achieving return on investment.
I have rarely been in discussions, meetings, or presentations where people are discussing how clinicians and technology are going to work together to produce the best outcomes. Most commonly, the discussion is centered on how we are going to tweak the technology to suit the clinicians... or motivate the clinicians to use the existing technology. Sometimes, the impact on the patient is part of the discussion, but rarely- if ever- is the benefit to the institution included. The content of these discussions are exactly why most institutions have not seen the return on investment that they expected from their health care technology.
Achieving synergy between clinicians and technology is absolutely necessary. Here's why. Clinicians are good at being clinicians: ambiguity and the unknown are acceptable and expected parts of their decision making. Computers, on the other hand, are good at being computers: they excel at making consistent and accurate decisions when provided with a full set of data. Most health care delivery involves decision making on both ends of this spectrum. When computers provide consistent and accurate information to clinicians they are freed to make better decisions about the unknown. This facilitates optimal patient care, which of course benefits not only patients but creates value for institutions.
For anyone who has sat in a meeting like I described above, creating this needed synergy between clinicians technology may seem unlikely or even unattainable. The good news is that it is completely possible.
When I was involved in the project to decrease venous thromboembolism (VTE), it was clear to the team that interactions between clinicians and the EHR were synergistic. Recent research into the clinical decisions support tools we developed has actually quantified the effect of the synergy between providers and the EHR. While a computer-based algorithm could have been used to create reminders for clinicians about VTE prophylaxis, it would have only been 70% accurate in the population studied. However, without clinical decision support, providers were under-prophylaxing patients. By combining provider-based risk assessment with CDS to facilitate ordering prophylaxis, a greater than 50% reduction in nosocomial VTE was achieved. The synergy between clinicians and technology clearly improved care and outcomes for patients while also providing value to the institution by reducing never events.
Despite the sometimes negative connotations of the term "synergy," it needs to be on the agenda for any meeting discussing how clinicians and technology will work together to create the best outcomes.
Monday, August 20, 2012
Via tedytan on Flickr
In order to assist in decision making and set system-wide strategy, I utilize a three-tiered approach to ranking these needs. Growing up with a strong Star Trek influence, I've come to agree with the Vulcan notion that "the good of the many outweighs the good of the few."
With this belief in mind, patients, as a group, represent the top tier of importance. This means that with every decision that we make, we are asking "is this what is best for our patients?" If the answer is no, than another path must be chosen.
The second tier is the institution. The reasoning is two-fold.
|Via puuikibeach on Flickr|
First, the patients are best served through the success of high-quality institutions. The era of the individual physician providing comprehensive care is coming to a close in the US; it's simply too difficult for a single physician to organize and orchestrate the multiple facets of a patient's care. Although many are nostalgic for the days when a doctor made house calls with his stethoscope and bag, modern health care requires advanced diagnostics, multiple providers, nurse coordination, complex billing and an increasing technology.
Second, the institution exists as the governing body of the multiple individuals involved in delivering patient care. A successful institution will create an environment where conflicts are resolved and effective collaboration for the benefit of the patients is possible. The institution can arbitrate the wants and desires of individuals and groups of individuals to meet the ultimate goal of serving the patient.
|Via janwillemsen on Flickr|
The third tier are the individuals that are employed by or contracted by the institution. Many have tried to rank the importance of individuals and groups within this tier, suggesting that the desires of clinicians should receive greater weight in decision making than support and ancillary staff. However, in order to best meet the needs of the patients, the needs of these individuals must remain balanced. For instance, it does not serve the patient to purchase the fancy equipment requested by clinicians if it cannot be adequately disinfected by environmental services. Ultimately, the collective actions of every individual in the institution determine the quality of care that patients receive.
In order to realize the potential return on investment from integrated electronic health records, this tiered model must be embedded as a core value of healthcare institutions. By focusing efforts on benefiting patients, we will learn to use EHRs in ways that improve care and decrease cost, resulting in benefits for institutions and individuals.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Chief Medical Information Officer Invites Public Inside Go-Live Experience Via Social Media
Dr. John Showalter, Chief Medical Information Officer at the University of Mississippi Medical Center is preparing to implement a fully integrated electronic health record on June 1, 2012. Thought to be the largest single-day go-live to date, 20+ applications will be implemented at 5 hospitals and 95 clinics throughout central Mississippi. As June 1 approaches, Showalter is sharing his experiences and insights on popular social media sites in an effort to demystify the “big bang go live.”
May 14, 2012
JACKSON, Miss. – John Showalter, MD will be live Tweeting his experiences as CMIO during the upcoming big bang go-live. On June 1, 2012, Showalter will lead the implementation of 24 applications at 5 hospitals and 95 clinics with over 6,500 users in the University of Mississippi Health System.
Showalter will be Tweeting from @JohnShowalterMD and using #LiveTheGoLive to convey the experience of the CMIO before, during, and after a go-live. He will also be fielding questions submitted via Twitter and engaging in discussions on Facebook at www.facebook.com/johnshowaltermdblog.
‘While many healthcare leaders realize that a big bang go-live is technologically best for their institution, they remain apprehensive because of the operational challenges,’ Showalter said. ‘I am sure we will have our share of challenges, but I hope that by being open and honest about my experience, others will have less anxiety about large scale go-lives. Ultimately, it’s about doing what’s best for our patients and the community we serve.’
Showalter’s Twitter and Facebook communications will be separate from the official UMMC Twitter and Facebook updates.
Showalter has already begun Tweeting his take on the implementation process. He will continue to dialogue on both Twitter and Facebook leading up to and following go-live on June 1, 2012.
About John Showalter:
Showalter is a board certified Internal Medicine physician. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Information Systems and completed fellowship training in Medical Informatics. Showalter joined the University of Mississippi Medical Center last year to assist in leading the implementation of the electronic health record. He also practices Internal Medicine as a hospitalist.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
|Doctor, Patient, and EHR. Source|
Going live with 20+ applications at 5 hospitals and 95 clinics is a big deal. But a fully integrated electronic health record isn’t the end game.
#GoLiveGetCKM is about keeping the patient in the forefront of our minds during the intensity and mayhem of a big-bang go-live.
#GoLiveGetCKM is what happens when we leverage our EHR in every way possible to benefit our patients through research, practice-based evidence, improved efficiency, improved quality and decreased cost.
#GoLiveGetCKM is not about getting the system working, it’s about working the system.
Follow me on Twitter and follow #GoLiveGetCKM to see where we are headed!
There are go-lives. There are big go-lives. There are really big go-lives.
|Big Bang Source|
And then there are truly EPIC go-lives.
June 1, 2012 will be the dawn of an EPIC go-live at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. At 5am CST we are going live with 20+ applications in 5 hospitals and 95 clinics with over 6,500 end users.
As the CMIO, I will be on the front-lines as we revolutionize health care in Central Mississippi. I will be live tweeting my experiences with this EPIC go-live. I am sure there will be challenges, but I’m also sure our team is poised for victory. Follow me on Twitter and follow #LiveTheGoLive to get the latest scoop!
Friday, April 20, 2012
“Know the enemy and know yourself, and your victory will never be endangered; know the weather and know the ground, and your victory will then be complete.”Sun Tzu 500 B.C.
Twenty-five hundred years ago, Sun Tzu asserted that with sufficient knowledge about yourself, your opponent and the environment, your victory would be assured. In our battles against rising health care costs and medical errors, this wisdom has been lost...