Day to day we are striving to clearly understand how EHRs and other health Information technology affects the workflows of provider practices and healthcare systems. The implementation of the technology is a start but the adoption is the more difficult part. Each practice is its own healthcare system. Whether it is efficient or a poorly run operation, it’s still a system with workflows. How do we optimize the workflow within the practice system? Just what is the template?
Teamwork. Well I guess we can’t stop there so let’s say successful teamwork. Actually there is no template that fits all situations, systems, and workflows. However, good teamwork among stakeholders can be a foundation for success in any system. Health Information Technology does not come out of the box ready for prime time. It does not adapt to the user, the user must adapt to the technology in most cases. That is why we train and upgrade and work with vendors to develop a highly functional product which is understandable. This takes coordination and collaboration of all invested parties. It takes teamwork in small and large practices as well as teamwork in larger health systems.
A health system is almost like the economy. It creates a life of its own. Like money, patients and services change hands and are sometimes handled properly and sometimes not. Like the ATM machine the HIT makes things convenient but the patient is the focus of the system (or should be the focus of the system). Unlike money, patients all behave differently and are impacted by their health, behavior, and socioeconomic factors that make individual and population health unpredictable.
A solid cohesive team of Health stake holders can limit the unpredictability of the health care system as well as the patient’s health. Who is this team? This team is made up of the patient, provider, medical staff, leadership, small practices, hospitals, government, politicians, public health, community and on and on. The health of the system will not be determined by the technology but the teamwork of the stakeholders of the system.
There is good and bad technology just like there are good and bad teams. However, the better and best technology for health care is becoming more and more readily available and is able to perform unbelievable functions and can be highly integrated. It takes the team to work together to further develop and position this technology to be useful to all stake holders but most importantly the patient who is the chair of the board. The patient’s health is the original reason for Health Care. Sometimes we forget but the first doctor and hospital bed came about because of a need by a patient. Therefore the patient is the center of the health care system and similar to the economy the patient is money so treat them well.