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Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Information Technology
Workflow is very important in any institution and in order to have workflow be smooth, it must be understood and respected by all coworkers throughout the organization. “Workflow is the sequence of physical and mental tasks performed by various people within and between work environments. It can occur at several levels (one person, between people, across organizations) and can occur sequentially or simultaneously” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (n.d.b., para. 1). In order for an organization to flow properly with optimal patient outcomes, an organization must understand and abide by the organizations protocols and policies while having a consistent work day ahead of them.
When analyzing a workflow process that is in need for improvement, it is necessary to conduct benchmarking. According to DHHS (n.d.b.), “Benchmarking is a process of evaluating metrics or best practices from other organizations (either related or unrelated to your own) and then applying them to your organization” (para. 1). By evaluating the effectiveness of other organizations workflows, I can better understand the appropriate systems needed in our organization. I use flowsheets on a daily basis in the ICU when admitting patients with DKA, Septic Shock or Stroke. These flowsheets outline the steps to take in managing the care of these illnesses. It is very concise and easy to follow which facilitates efficient, time managed patient care. To increase the workflow on other units I will meet with the managers of the floors and provide copies of these flowsheets to create a better workflow throughout the rest of the hospital. According to DHHS (n.d.b.), “flowcharts provide meaningful visualization of the workflows and convey the anticipated sequence of activities and tasks that will occur postimplementation, identify who will most perform what activities and tasks, and no longer include unnecessary or non-value-added activities and tasks” (para. 1). By using a health IT application, our institution can assess adherence to practice standards and assess which provider practices needs to be improved on (DHHS, n.d.b., para. 4). By having an electronic medical record, patient care becomes more effective and efficient.
“Introducing an EHR creates operational efficiencies by offering nontraditional, patient-centered ways of providing care” according to Chen, Garrido & Chock (2009, para. 1). The hospital in this study examined the efficiency of implementing a EHR system on ambulatory care from the initation of the system in 2004 to 2007. During this study, there was a 26.2% decrease in office visit rates, 25.3% decrease in primary care setting visits, and 21.5% decrease in specialty care areas (Chen, Garrido & Chock, 2009, para. 6). Scheduled telephone visits increased eight-fold and secure messaging increased to six-fold. This illustrates that incorporating a EHR system increased efficiency of care by decreasing patients need for hospital visits. Patients started to use the telephone system as a way of communicating with their doctors to manage their care better. This in return saves time and optimizes patient goal outcomes while improving workflow.
The information learned in the research article can be used at my current employment to increase workflow. In the ICU the healthcare team does not incorporate telephone updates with patients. Rather than telling patients to follow up in the office with their primary care provider, this article illustrated how phone interviews can improve patient self-care management. Also, I think it would be beneficial if our ICU team sent over a treatment review of care that took place in the hospital. If secured email was used to communicate patient care goals and treatment to primary care providers, more efficient and time critical care would be a result. It important to include competent workflow into the organization to provide the best care possible. According to DHHS (n.d.b.), “Research assessing health IT implementations demonstrates that delays in patient care, billing, and communication are likely to occur if workflow is not taken into account. This is generally due to the fact that clinical and practice management requirements are overlooked or oversimplified” (p. 1). Increased workflow creates more efficient patient care and time saved.
Chen C, Garrido T, Chock D, et al. (2009). The Kaiser Permanente electronic health record: transforming and
streamlining modalities of care.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (n.d.b.). Workflow assessment for health IT toolkit. Retrieved