I’m heading off to the HIMSS11 conference in a couple days to mingle with some of the nearly 30,000 healthcare IT professionals descending on the Orlando Convention Center. While some might get sidetracked by Mickey and his friends, you’ll find me every day of the show with my Softek colleagues in booth 3221. If you’re going to be there, I’d love for you to stop by and meet with us.
I think our message at this year’s show is worth hearing: Every hospital would profit from an independent audit of their EMR system. Just as their care delivery must meet certain objective standards set by the Joint Commission and their financial operations undergo regular auditing, hospitals can use EMR auditing to see if their system is efficiently handling transactions and properly interfacing with its myriad subsystems. Where EMR performance is lagging, adjustments can be made — and patient care and safety improved.
I found an educational session that will make the same case. Dr. Dean Sittig, a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center is speaking Tuesday morning on “Inspecting EHRs to Ensure Safe Use” in which he will “describe how to implement an annual EHR inspection program … to ensure that their clinical systems are functioning as designed and are being used safely and effectively.”
Since joining Softek last fall as Director of Millennium Consulting Services, I’ve been involved with a number of such evaluations. Many clients have been surprised at our findings. We commonly find lost charges, queuing backlogs, bottlenecks throughout the system and even clinical information that fails to make it to the patient record. Following our report and recommendations, one client reduced wait times across the organization by hundreds of hours a month. That makes for a lot of happy clinicians and support staff.
Prognosis: A peak-performing EMR system is vital for reaching your goal of optimal healthcare delivery.