Jack and Suzy Welch suggest that most of us are confused about innovation. They state, “You’re getting innovation all wrong. Innovation is a series of little steps that cumulatively lead up to a big deal that changes the game.” When it comes to HIM and EHRs, I believe they are absolutely correct.
The EHR was “a big deal that changed the game” for healthcare providers. According to recent studies, over 93% of hospitals* and 78% of physician practices are now using EHR or EMR systems. And, it’s HIM’s job to help maximize their capabilities.
Little Steps Matter
As HIM professionals, we should apply our knowledge and skills every day to innovate processes, procedures and workflows within EHRs. Here are four small steps to consider within your own HIM department and team:
- Revisit and refine workflow engine rules and automatic routing capabilities within your EHR.
- Reduce steps in core HIM operational processes—send the right information to the right staff, at the right time.
- Eliminate redundancy and touch points for all processes that use electronic health information—within and among various departments.
- Begin understanding and using the data analytics capabilities of your EHR to support better decision making both within and outside HIM.
For example, data analytics has been proven to assist with quicker, more accurate clinical trials and research at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Data Analytics—A New Path for HIM
Mayo Clinic plans to use cognitive computing to match cancer patients with the right clinical trials. Starting in 2015, the organization will rely on data from IBM’s Watson technology, natural language processing (NLP), and clinical algorithms to better match patients with trials.
The first step is to feed massive amounts of data into Watson. Ensuring the data is correct and appropriate data points are uploaded is a perfect “small step” for Mayo’s HIM team.
A recent Journal of AHIMA article confirms the increase in data and IT-focused roles for HIM. HIM and health informatics both revolve around the use of health information and technology to improve patient health and delivery of care.
There are so many opportunities to “innovate” in the field of Health Information Management. As Jack Welch says, “Find a better way every day.”
Have you and your HIM team found a better way? Share it in the comments section below.
*Over nine in ten (93%) hospitals possessed a certified EHR technology in 2013. Source: Charles D, Gabriel M, Furukawa MF. “Adoption of Electronic Health Record Systems among U.S. Non-federal Acute Care Hospitals: 2008-2013,” ONC Data Brief, no. 16. Washington, DC: Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. May 2014.