Health Information Management

Don't let work flow become 'worry flow'

HIM-HIPAA Insider, March 30, 2010

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To avoid having work flow become “worry” flow, start planning out work flow needs well in advance of selecting an EHR, according to Darice M. Grzybowski, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, president of HIMentors, LLC.

Grzybowski writes the following:
A common mistake in EHR implementation is to wait until after you select an EHR to start determining work flow impact. When you determine the effect at too late a stage in the implementation, you usually end up putting work-around or band-aid procedures into place. These in turn create higher than expected staffing ratios. 
Many facilities engage consultants to walk them through this process because mapping out work flow can be time- and labor-consuming. Mapping the current work flow processes must occur before you can determine what the right work flow and system integration is. The mapping process must include observation or interaction with frontline staff members to understand the details of the current processes and the building of process flow maps.
Once this is completed, you can then determine a “future” vision work flow mapping based on desired or best practice outcomes. Involve experienced subject matter experts in this exercise, because individuals who have not experienced a best practice state will have limited ability to define an effective future state going forward.
Begin to define current and future processes or progress that will be limited when moving forward with a successful EHR implementation. In addition, address critical functions in HIM such as assembly and analysis, census/master patient index reconciliation, coding and abstracting, medical transcription, file and retrieval, registries, release of information, and other functions before any EHR implementation. Each function should have its own work flow map and a vision for the future that reflects any process changes critical to system success and efficiency gains.
Editor’s note: For additional tips, click here. Subscribers to Medical Records Briefing have access to this article in the April issue.

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