It’s Not About The Box Improving Care at Group Health with People, Process and Technology

August 27, 2008

Informatics blog archive

Filed under: About this Blog — Tags: — Matt Handley @ 3:52 pm

I am pleased to have posted (with Drew Campbell’s able assistance) the old informatics blog archive.  It should be searchable, but there are going to be a few broken links here and there – apologies in advance for any frustrations, but better access to the vast majority of the blog than none.  There are a lot of posts and we can’t troubleshoot all of them.

August 12, 2008

Getting the Most out of Epic

Filed under: Epic — Tags: — Matt Handley @ 2:33 pm

Epic is a really cool tool. But most all of us have found that our EMR is a mixed blessing – we have nearly unlimited options to improve care, sometimes at the cost of our time. Epic is used to varying degrees across our medical group. Why is that? Why do some clinicians use most of the functionality we have collectively built and some use just the most basic elements?

In shadowing different clinicians and talking with chiefs, it seems that we have evolved to a potentially difficult but understandable state. It seems that the more skilled clinicians are with Epic, the more they invest in continuing to learn more about how to use the tool. Those that struggle are least likely to take advantage of resources to learn ways to use Epic to greater effect. A real challenge for me is figuring out how to support members of our group that have not been able to use Epic to improve the care they provide their patients, and their own job satisfaction.

So what is the secret sauce? What helps you be successful and learn more ? And what would you recommend to your colleagues?

Getting back into the Delivery System

Filed under: Epic,Lean — Tags: , — Matt Handley @ 2:31 pm

In the past two years we learned an important lesson about how to build tools to improve the care we provide patients – do it best when we do it with front line clinical teams. As part of our learning about Lean we went to where the knowledge about care resides – with clinical teams and the patients that they serve (patient participated in many of the events). We learned as we went, and the clinical teams stepped up not just to help us address their favorite issues, but also to address big issues for the entire delivery system.

In 2008 we had to make some tough choices. As we invested in “Practice Management” (Epic products that do appointments, registration and billing – replacing our LastWord application) we did not have sufficient resources to continue to work in clinics to improve Epic. We have had just enough resource to maintain Epic (it does require care and feeding) and do a few small improvements.

But – GOOD NEWS – given the timeline for Practice Management (that isn’t good news – now stretching out into 2009), we recognized that we could not continue to delay our investments in improving Epic, and working in the clinics. So we have invested in one more cross functional team (a team that will go out into clinics to do work with clinical teams) that will start as soon as we have them hired and trained. It will be great to be back in clinics with our clinicians and patients.

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