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Do We Sometimes Make Things Too Complicated?

Posted on July 11, 2018 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I know it’s not Friday yet (when I usually share fun cartoons), but I saw this cartoon shared by Pete Friesen and I couldn’t help but share it.

This parallels really well with this tweet I saw from ePatientDave as well:

Drugs have done amazing things. Look no further than all the lives saved by penicillin. However, sometimes we need to slow things down and consider all of our options (including drugs).

The problem right now is that there’s nothing really slowing things down for doctors and are care providers. Everything seems to just be speeding up.

I had a doctor today proudly share “I’m an internist can see 40 patients with rapid work on EMR side and also complete my MIPs clicks.”

He was trying to compliment his EHR software for working so effectively. However, you have to wonder what kind of care those 40 patients received and what kind of care they could have received if he only had to see 20. I’m not suggesting he gave them bad care, but I’m suggesting that the care would have been better if he only had to see 20 and not 40 patients. The problem is that doing so will cut his pay in half (literally).

This isn’t doctors fault specifically. They want to get paid for the work they do like anyone else. It’s why so many are excited by things like DPC (Direct Primary Care) and value based care. However, in terms of the later many are still skeptical and for good reason. Value based care could mean creating more of a relationship with a patient, but it could also mean more hoop jumping.

Maybe many of our stressed-out care providers could use some canine stress therapy as well.

Physician Burnout, a Healthcare Issue Unique to Our Healthcare Providers

Posted on May 25, 2018 I Written By

The following is a guest blog post by Justin Campbell, Vice President, Strategy, at Galen Healthcare Solutions.

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction…but I try, and I try, and I try, and I try – Rolling Stones

Justin CampbellIn a 2018 Medscape survey exploring the professional satisfaction of providers, 42 percent of 15,000 survey respondents reported feeling burnt out with their jobs, up from an overall rate of 40 percent in 2017. In recent years, physician burnout has become a serious industry issue, with national policy discussions ensuing on how to best combat the problem. Researchers have drawn correlations between physician burnout and higher medical error rates, lower overall quality of care, and increased clinical staff turnover. Year after year, the underlying drivers of dissatisfaction have remained consistent: overwhelming charting requirement, long work hours, and cumbersome EHRs.

As health IT leaders, one question we should be asking ourselves is how we can best apply our EHR expertise to help reduce physician burnout. To answer this question, let us look to the doctors we aim to help. When physicians are at the bedside, they analyze a patient’s condition and formulate a care plan accordingly. They look to diagnostic test results, review trended vitals, pain scores, and nursing assessments, and consult with specialists in a massive data gathering exercise all aimed at quantifying the problem and crafting a treatment plan.

Providers are telling us there is a problem, and they are consistently identifying the primary underlying causes. IT department leaders have a direct influence over many of the drivers of physician burnout, so it is time for us to dig into the details, measure the problem, and craft a treatment plan. How do we measure and manage physician burnout?

There’s Gold In Those EHR Audit Logs

The Office of the National Coordinator’s EHR Certification Requirements mandate that all certified EHRs be capable of generating an audit log detailing all user activity, stored in a database alongside user credentials and a date and time stamp. At first glance, these unassuming audit logs appear to provide little actionable insight, but buried in the data there is value. When audit logs are compiled across several months, data analysts will quickly see that they have a rich dataset that can be sliced and diced to expose the EHR navigation and module utilization trends of key physician populations.

Analyzing patterns within EHR audit logs will allow savvy data analysts to determine the average length of time providers spend working in the EHR. This information can be calculated at the individual level or aggregated across all providers.

Source: Galen Healthcare Solutions

Knowing how long providers are spending on administrative tasks in the EHR is valuable information for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this information can be used as a benchmark to measure the impact of future software updates or optimization projects. Any significant changes to provider workflow should be retrospectively reviewed to understand how it impacts the average time providers spend in the EHR. First, do no harm.

Analyzing user activity logs at the individual level also helps identify highly efficient EHR users within each specialty. The EHR workflow patterns of these EHR champions can be modeled. Peers can be educated on how to adjust their own workflows to mirror specialty-specific champions, reducing their own daily EHR burden. These “quick win” workflow adjustments are changes that can be adopted by clinical staff immediately, before extensive EHR optimization efforts are undertaken.

Audit log analysis can also highlight which EHR modules providers spend the most time in. In most cases, updating user preferences and optimizing the information displayed on EHR screens can expedite chart navigation. Simplified documentation templates and macros training can expedite the documentation process. A library of evidence-based order sets and targeted clinical decision support algorithms can minimize time spent entering orders.

Analyzing utilization trends at the EHR module level exposes the workflow tasks that are consuming a disproportionate amount of provider time.

Don’t. Stop. There.

EHR audit log analysis can reveal how much time providers are spending in the EHR, and where specifically they are spending that time. It can identify physician champions, and highlight those that are struggling. Audit log analysis can be used to measure EHR-induced physician burnout and support system-wide optimization efforts aimed at improving satisfaction.

Beyond this, EHRs offer a wealth of additional datasets that can help highlight inefficiencies in clinical workflows. Traditional health IT data analytics typically aims to uncover problems in care quality or revenue cycle management, but analysis focused on EHR workflow improvement is just as noble an effort, and one providers have long been seeking.

Gain perspectives from HDO leaders who have successfully navigated EMR clinical optimization and refine your EMR strategy to transform it from a short-term clinical documentation data repository to a long-term asset by downloading our EMR Optimization Whitepaper.

About Justin Campbell
Justin is Vice President, Strategy, at Galen Healthcare Solutions. He is responsible for market intelligence, segmentation, business and market development and competitive strategy. Justin has been consulting in Health IT for over 10 years, guiding clients in the implementation, integration and optimization of clinical systems. He has been on the front lines of system replacement & data migration and is passionate about advancing interoperability in healthcare and harnessing analytical insights to realize improvements in patient care. Justin can be found on Twitter at @TJustinCampbell and LinkedIn.

About Galen Healthcare Solutions
Galen Healthcare Solutions is an award-winning, #1 in KLAS healthcare IT technical & professional services and solutions company providing high-skilled, cross-platform expertise and Gold sponsor of Health IT Expo. For over a decade, Galen has partnered with more than 300 specialty practices, hospitals, health information exchanges, health systems and integrated delivery networks to provide high-quality, expert level IT consulting services including strategy, optimization, data migration, project management, and interoperability. Galen also delivers a suite of fully integrated products that enhance, automate, and simplify the access and use of clinical patient data within those systems to improve cost-efficiency and quality outcomes. For more information, visit www.galenhealthcare.com. Connect with us on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

 

EHR Physician Use by Time of Day

Posted on December 27, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As we continue our holiday week of sharing interesting healthcare IT and EHR images, today’s image comes from the NEJM Catalyst. This image charts the Percent of total EHR work time against the hour of the day. Plus, it also splits it out into weekday work and weekend work.

The thing I hate about this chart is that it doesn’t show when doctors use to spend time doing paper charts. I still wonder how similar those charts would be. I’m just not sure we have that data anywhere.

Using Technology to Fight EHR Burnout – #HITsm Chat Topic

Posted on November 28, 2017 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 12/1 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Gabe Charbonneau, MD (@gabrieldane) on the topic of “Using Technology to Fight EHR Burnout.”

We live in confusing times. The marriage of technology and medicine is on the cusp of game changing breakthroughs. There is so much promise with deep learning/AI, big data, and the exponential growth in processing speed and storage, just to name a few. So, how is it that we are yet to get out of the dark ages when it comes to the EHR?

Physician burnout is a real problem. It seems like there is a new article put out weekly on the topic. Study after study points fingers of blame at the EHR. The pain from data entry and systems that don’t flow for clinicians is at an all time high. “Too many clicks”, and too many docs spending “pajama time” charting at home.

It has to get better.

While tech has been identified as a top contributor to the problem, it also has the potential to be a huge part of the solution.

Join us as we dive into this topic during this week’s #HITsm chat using the following questions.

Topics for This Week’s #HITsm Chat:

T1: Why is the EHR such a major driver of burnout in medicine? We’ve heard the common answers of “too many clicks” and increased clerical burden, but what else? Let’s dig deeper. #hitsm

T2: Who is happiest with their EHR and why? What can we learn from them? #hitsm

T3: What current technologies are the best for reducing EHR burnout? #hitsm

T4: What is the most exciting emerging technology for decreasing EHR burnout? #hitsm

T5: When should we expect to see the first wave of major improvements in EHR user experience for clinicians? What will it look like? #hitsm

Bonus: How can we take steps today to start moving the burnout needle in the right direction? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
12/8 – EHR, Patient Portals and OpenNotes: Making OpenNotes Work Well
Hosted by Homer Chin (@chinhom) and Amy Fellows (@afellowsamy) from @MyOpenNotes)

12/15 – What’s holding HealthIT from soaring to the Cloud?
Hosted by David Fuller (@genkidave)

12/22 – Holiday Break

12/29 – Holiday Break

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

Doc Vader Goes Rogue – Fun Friday

Posted on December 16, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

As you know, we often like to share a little bit of healthcare humor on Fridays as part of our series of Fun Friday blog posts. This week we share the funniest doctor on the planet (since that’s such a high bar), ZDoggMD and his alter ego Doc Vader. In his latest video, Doc Vader goes Rogue and illustrates the challenge of physician burnout.

If you’re not familiar with Doc Vader, there are a lot more Doc Vader videos on ZDoggMD’s channel. It seemed appropriate to share this video with Star Wars Rogue One hitting theaters. Happy Friday everyone!