Ouuch: Making Excellent Health Responses

Prior to Launching Technology Initiatives

Over the past seven years, many healthcare organizations, like OUUCH, have begun to transition from the traditional paper-based systems to EHR systems. Research has shown that over a period of time. EHR systems can improve quality of care for patients, provide more accurate information, and overall improve safety issues relating to reducing mistakes with patients. In the exploratory study, “Change factors affecting the transition to an [EHR] system in a private physicians practice: An exploratory study,” Aaron D. Spratt, Social Security Administration and Kevin E. Dickson (2008), Southeast Missouri State University, report that the U.S. health care industry reportedly ranks among the worlds leading inefficient information enterprises. Although the system needs major changes, the transition process however, creates a high change in the business aspect of an organization. Spratt and Dickson (2008) explain that for an EHR system to be successful, doctors must be involved from the very beginning of the process. Mary Ellen Schneider (2006), Senior Writer, also asserts in the journal article, “Customization, involvement key to & #8230;[EHR] success,” that doctors need to be involved in the process in order to customize their system to fit their specific needs. Prior to OUUCH launching it technology initiatives, it implemented the business model that replicated the model most walk-in clinics without HER capabilities use. OUUCH secretarial/accounting staff routinely completed the following duties. In the book, Implementing an Electronic Health Record System, James M. Walker, Eric J. Bieber, and Frank Richards (2006) note the following typical workflow in a medical facility.

1. Pull charts, enter information into the computer and re-file charts.

2. Complete service sheets

3. Prepare paper medical records

4. Prepare test results for signature of physician or other medical personnel

5. Filing of test results in the paper medical record

6. Billing charge entry

7. Documentation of office visits and resulting on-site testing (Walker, Bieber, & Richards, 2006, p. 26).

Prior to implementing the use of EHR at OUUCH, Dr. Stringent met with the technical team to discuss which of the above workflows EHR could support. Dr. Henry Plummer, who began his medical career at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester New York, and worked there from 1900 until his death in 1936, created and developed one of the first medical records, which he called the “unit record.” The unit record later evolved into the company business the researcher examines in the case study, the influence of EHR or technology in a healthcare organization. Kateri Clemons (2007), project manager at Nelson Publishing Company, asserts in the article, “Capturing medical data in the & #8230; that [EHR],” that “[Plummers] theory was that all of a patients records should reside in a single file that travels with the patient and is stored in a central repository. Plummers record-keeping system replaced an inefficient ledger system” (¶ 1). On a patients first visit, one of the Mayo clinics medical personnel would enter the patients demographics into a ledger book. Later, when the patient returned for another visit, doctors would have to locate and update the original record, which proved to be an inconvenient, time-consuming practice.

By 1907, Plummer and an assistant created and implemented Mayos medical record system. Clemons (2007) explains that Plummers single-unit record brought together a patients clinical visits, hospital stays, laboratory tests, and doctors notes, quickly becoming the standard for around the world” (¶ 2). After further research observing factories and how they managed information, the Mayo Clinic built a series of conveyers and tubes to transport patients medical records throughout the clinic.

In 2005, more than 6.2 million patient records, dating back to 1907, became electronic at the Mayo Clinic. Clemons (2007) asserts that the Mayo Clinic staff may instantly access all information relating to a patients care, “from physician notes, lab reports, and surgical dictations, to copies of correspondence and appointment schedules, to X-rays, ultrasounds, CT and MRI scans, and echocardiograms,” (¶ 3) by more than 16,000 computers on all three of the Mayo Clinic campuses, including Jacksonville, Rochester and Scottsdale. As more than 3,000 doctors and 47,000 other healthcare professionals practice/work at the Mayo clinic, its electronic medical record (EHR) may comprise one of the largest medical systems in the world.

During the study the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Ambulatory Care Survey conducted, researchers collected data from 2,500 physician offices between 2003 and 2004 and found that physicians who used paper-based systems outperformed physicians using EHR systems.

Bill Gillette (2007), Staff Correspondent argues in the article, “EMR users may not have an edge, study suggests,” that physicians using paper-based systems are reportedly 14% points more likely to properly prescribe statins (drugs that can lower individuals cholesterol) for patients experiencing problems with high cholesterol. On the other hand, the study found that doctors who used EHR systems were not as likely to order unnecessary urinalyses or inappropriately prescribe depression medications.

Dr. Stringent disagrees with Gilette (2007) and notes that Gillette also reports, that Dr. Christopher Zachary, with the University of California, argues that the 2003-2004 Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Ambulatory Care Survey study proved to be flawed. Zachary expressed that the study generically examined older EMR systems and did not ask appropriate questions like those regarding the billing efficiency, the collection of the demographics, direct pharmacy interface, and whether or not interactive drug alerts transpired.

Prior to implementing EHR, staff at OUUCH completed a Site Characteristic Questionnaire. A data analyst later completed a workflow study to customize the EHR system for OUUCH. Figure 1 depicts the four phases of the iterative

1. Development

2. Assessment

3. Implementation

4. Modification (Walker, Bieber, & Richards, 2006, p. 37).

Figure 1: Workflow Redesign Process Phases (Walker, Bieber, & Richards, 2006, p. 37).

OUUCH staff attended16 hours of a training curriculum to become familiar with the software configuration of EHR as well as with its workflow and analysis, redesign factors and user training and support. Staff training also included “three weeks of self-directed learning, an online medical terminology class, and a comprehensive test” (Walker, Bieber, & Richards, 2006, p. 42). To reinforce the staffs application training and expose them to typical questions regarding the use of the EHR, staff also had to work as teaching assistants in the HR training classes.

Implementing an EHS

Table 1 portrays a number of benefits of EHR for particular process types Dr. Stringent stressed to the OUUCH staff.

Table 1: Benefits of Particular Process Types (Walker, Bieber, & Richards, 2006, p. 174).

Process Type


Patient Safety

Automatic, real-time drug-drug and drug-allergy checking

Care Quality

Automatic, patient-specific reminders in real time; Documentation standardized, searchable, readable

Patient Access

Standardize scheduling system integrated with the EHR

Patient Information Access

Any time secure access to the E. HR and practices

Clinic Workflows

Simple, standardize workflows

Information Reporting

Automated reports on aggregated clinical data

Remote Access

The clinical and administrative information

Digital Radiology

Remote, real-time access to most images

Outpatient Quality Management

Automated tracking of pharmacy and ER use of patient access

Clinician linkage of orders with diagnoses


Automatic medical necessity checking

With the clinics operation implementation completed, the inpatient implementation began. OUUCH was well on its way to transform the way it provides healthcare. Some of the steps taken included:

1. Explicit Goals and Measures: As individuals in the clinic started to become more familiar with assessing needs and defining goals, a trait needed to ensure congruence between the EHR projects and organizational strategies. Medical personnel regularly checks progress toward the goals and as the clinic reaches its goals, defines new goals to initiate the next improvement phase. When the clinic misses a goal, medical personnel analyze the reason for the “failure” as well as the missed goal. Medical personnel then implements changes needed to be made to meet the original or revised goal. Even reportedly simple changes, like decreasing a chart requires management to actively participate.

2. Operational Leadership: The clinics clinical leaders along with the administrative leaders increase their protests oppression in transitioning to EHR. Those with roles on oversight and feedback committees assume responsibility to identify new business initiatives the EHR can maintain. Streamlined document distribution, for instance, depicts one specific, affective example. When OUUCHs task force identified the need for one of the clinics physicians to more rapidly communicate with referring physician, the EHR team customized the EHR to meet this particular need.

3. Integrated Workflows: EHR possesses the potential to support seamless care across the patients spectrum of care from his/her home to outpatient as well as inpatient and long-term care. Achieving this potential, albeit, requires that the EHR team thoroughly analyses and processes redesigned by all CDOs and that the EHR vendors invest concentrated efforts to fill even basic needs like thoroughly accounting for changes in the patients medicines during.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *