Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Busy HIT & Innovation Summer - Book, Upgrades, Usability and ExpectED Highlight

Well... it's been a busy summer, and I have a lot of blogs in me, but have been diverted by two major issues going on which will eventually lead to some good blogs in the future:
  • The Book: I'm writing/editing a book on the intersection of HIT and Innovation.  It's been a great experience as we are putting together a series of essays from a variety of innovative physicians and healthcare experts on how they have used HIT in an innovative fashion.  These will range from using their EMRs in new and different ways, to a wide range of telehealth activities, to creating an online survey system which allows patients to become increasingly involved with an organizations strategic direction. 
  • The Upgrade: Our Cerner EMR was finally due for an upgrade... and after months of many people working together to make it happen, we had a very successful go live last week.  There are still a lot of busy days and late nights as we are in the fine-tuning stage, but it sets us up for MU and more abilities to start managing quality and providing even higher quality care... so yeah, I'm sort of excited about it!  Of course, now that I've delved into the world of EMR Usability, my eyes have been opened to usability heuristics issues like Consistency, Recognition rather than Recall, and the importance of expert Accelerators to promote more efficient use.  And so whenever I look at the new screens, I start thinking "how could this be better" and in talking to other "usability junkies" - it turns out this is a curse we now carry as we look at anything on the web or in the "real world" - why can't things be more usable!?
I've also gotten more involved with the government in the past year as the push to promote EMRs spreads, and they are looking for input from folks who have been involved in getting EMR systems up and running.  I had a particularly good time attending and presenting at the NIST EMR Usability Workshop in June.  I plan to dedicate a whole blog to my thoughts on this - but in the meantime you can read some of my ideas at the Healthfinch blog

Finally, I wanted to make sure everyone knows about the AHRQ Healthcare Care Innovations Exchange
The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created the Health Care Innovations Exchange to speed the implementation of new and better ways of delivering health care.  The Innovations Exchange supports the Agency's mission to improve the quality of health care and reduce disparities.  The AHRQ Health Care Innovations Exchange offers busy health professionals and researchers a variety of opportunities to share, learn about, and ultimately adopt evidence-based innovations and tools suitable for a range of health care settings and populations.  More info at:

In July of 2011, the AHRQ Innovation Exchange published a profile of ExpectED, one of the first projects from the innovation program I run - the Szollosi Healthcare Innovation Program (SHIP).  The profile was entitled "Referring Physicians Send Electronic Handoff Note with Pertinent Patient Information to Emergency Department, Improving Physician Efficiency and Quality of Care" and the summary was:
Community-based physicians referring patients to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for emergency care send an electronic handoff note to emergency department personnel to notify them that a patient will be arriving and to provide clinical details pertinent to his or her condition.  The note, which includes the patient's name, date of birth, the referring physician's name, a clinical summary, and other information, is entered into the system's electronic medical record, where emergency department clinicians can easily access and review it at the point of care.  Anecdotal feedback from physicians suggests that the program has improved physician efficiency and satisfaction, care coordination, and the quality and timeliness of care.
Direct link to the write-up is at:

They did a great job in this write-up, I love how they break each innovation down into: 
  • What They Did 
  • Did It Work?  (we can learn from failures too!)
  • How They Did It
  • Adoption Considerations

Take a minute to peruse the Innovations Exchange - it will expand your mind and make you feel good about the potential for innovations in healthcare care!