Medical software procurement can be a daunting task, and sometimes for unfortunately little result. Over 50% of health IT implementations fail, and most healthcare providers have first-hand experience with health IT solutions that actually created more problems than they solved. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. But to prevent implementation issues, many organizations will need to adjust their approach software procurement.
Implementing clinical software correctly is a necessarily thorough process. Medical administrators need to ensure they are allocating their team’s limited resources to implementing evidence-based best practices that will improve patient outcomes while supporting clinician workflows.
But the standard method—the request for proposals (RFP)—often fails to focus on workflow, and instead asks vendors to simply reiterate their ability to meet the technical requirements for capturing certain data sets and sharing this data with existing systems like ADT and LIS. Certainly, optimizing data capture and interoperability is crucial, but these functions are not particularly difficult for developers to customize, and the best EMRs equip you to configure many of these functions on your own.
EMR RFPs often err by focusing on the what of clinical data rather than the how and why. The result is that clinics end up with software that does the job, but does so inefficiently, leaving clinicians with extra work. The real key to finding the EMR that’s best for your team is to partner with health IT experts who work with your workflow.
EMR Workflow Diagram Example
The following image is one of a series of workflow diagrams that Softworks Group designed in consultation with one of our clinical partners as a part of implementing the Synoptec™ synoptic reporting EMR into their practice:
In the workflow diagram above, the clinic and developer have mapped out how the EMR will support the clinic’s workflow by understanding which EMR functions are necessary at different stages of patients’ care paths. Colour coding is used to indicate when the EMR will generate documentation (yellow), interoperate with different systems (grey), and order tests and tasks for follow-up care (orange).
These automated task orders are examples of an inductive rather than deductive software workflow. With a deductive EMR, clinicians need to navigate back and forth through documents to acquire relevant information, and then deduce for themselves the necessary next steps. With an inductive workflow EMR, the next steps are automatically presented, streamlining existing workflows.
Automating your medical record workflow helps improve care team communication, helping your clinic work more efficiently. Moreover, the process of creating workflow diagrams helps your team understand precisely which tasks an EMR can make more efficient. So when your team is seeking to implement clinical software, it’s important to ensure you partner with health IT experts who work with your workflow.