Health Information Management

Tip of the week: Consider these helpful hints for organizational redesign

HIM-HIPAA Insider, December 11, 2007

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To better address EHR-related work flow changes, you must document your current processes on paper using flow charts or lists. Anticipate how the EHR will change your current workflow in five main areas, says Charles Parker, vice president and chief technology officer at Masspro in Waltham, MA.

1. Patient flow. Think about how you move a patient through the office during a visit, starting with the appointment setup, and then moving from check-in to the exam room to check-out.

2. Point-of-care documentation. Focus on documentation related to delivery of care. For example, how will the process for entering orders change once you implement the EHR?

3. Office communication. How are you going to handle in-office communication among staff members after EHR implementation? For example, now that the paper chart is no longer on the exam room door, how will anyone know that a patient is in the room?

4. Document management. How will you deal with the paper that will continue to receive after EHR implementation? For example, you will still receive referral and lab information. How will you incorporate this information into the EHR?

5. Chart abstraction and migration. This is only a temporary problem; however, it is one that many organizations struggle with, Parker says. How will you handle the migration from paper to electronic? What information that is currently in paper form will you abstract, and what will you scan? Simply scanning in the entire chart is not an option for everyone because of the associated cost. Once you've decided what you want to include in the record, determine how best to enter that data into the record. For example, who will enter or scan the data? When will the data entry or scanning take place?

Editor's note: This tip is adapted from an December, 2007 article in Electronic Health Records Briefing. For more information, click here.

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